October 28, 2013, 8:43 AM

Why it pays for online brands to be social

Facebook earned 93 cents per consumer click in Q3, Adobe says.

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It pays for retailers to get shoppers clicking from social networks to their web sites, according to the new Adobe Digital Index.

Adobe Systems Inc. examined the revenue its retail, media, entertainment and travel clients generated from shoppers clicking from social networks. It then divided that by the number of unique visitors from those social sites to develop a metric it calls “average revenue per visit.” Adobe found that the average revenue per visit for shoppers who click from Facebook was 93 cents in the third quarter, up about 39% from 67 cents in the same period a year earlier. The average revenue per visit for consumers clicking from Twitter was 44 cents, up 300% from 11 cents in 2012. The average revenue per visit for shoppers clicking from Pinterest was 55 cents, up 150% from 22 cents a year earlier.

The report also found that not only are shoppers seeing more ads on Facebook, they’re also increasingly clicking on those ads. Facebook ad impressions jumped 85% in the third quarter for Adobe’s clients and Facebook ads’ click-through rates soared 275%.

The reason for the growth in impressions is largely due to Facebook’s user base continuing to increase—it reached 1.15 billion in June—and its users spend a lot of time on the site. For instance, its U.S. users in July spent, on average, more than 6 hours and 24 minutes on the site during the month, according to the Nielsen Co. That's the more than four hours more than any site in the top 10 most-visited U.S. sites for all categories. That large, active user base provided ample opportunities for Facebook to serve up ads.

And those ads were increasingly effective thanks to better targeting thanks to tools like Custom Audience, which lets advertisers use information shoppers share with them off of Facebook to target ads on the social network, says Joe Martin, Adobe Digital Index analyst.

The cost-per-thousand (CPM) impressions for the ads increased 120% in the third quarter thanks to increased demand. But while CPM costs jumped, the higher click-through rate means the cost per click dipped 40%. Adobe didn’t provide specific figures in the report. 

The results show that Facebook’s efforts to help marketers better target consumers are working, says Martin. Better targeting helped retailers boost their return on investment 58% from Facebook ads in the third quarter compared to their returns in the same period a year earlier, he says. “More precise targeting is letting advertisers target who they want at a much cheaper cost,” he says.

Adobe based its report on 131 billion Facebook ad impressions and 400 million unique visitors from social network sites. Adobe did not say how many clients were involved in the measurement.

 

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