Cross-posted from my Forbes.com blog The New Persuaders:
You may have read last week about this new research from comScore about the effectiveness of Facebook ads and brand posts. But the details of the study, which is being presented this morning at the Advertising Research Foundation’s Audience Measurement 7.0 conference in New York, are much more interesting than comScore’s teaser blog post.
The white paper, The Power of Like 2: How Social Marketing Works, follows up an initial study last year, this time with control tests on Facebook that isolated the actual impact of Facebook ads on sales, both online and in physical stores. “We found Facebook fans had significantly higher percentages of purchasing,” says Andrew Lipsman, comScore’s VP of industry analysis. “It proves Facebook earned media and advertising are driving purchase behavior.”
Mind the caveats: Facebook is a comScore client and even arranged my phone interview with Lipsman–which I appreciate, but just saying. Also, the white paper looks mostly at so-called earned media, the posts, “likes,” and shares that users and brands create, more than ads. However, some Facebook ads such as Sponsored Stories are in fact actual posts that a brand simply pays to distribute more widely, while others are brand ads with a notice that a friend likes the brand.
ComScore’s research provides the numbers behind its claim that Facebook activity, including advertising, has an impact over time–regardless of whether people click on an ad–all the way through to products leaving store shelves. …