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Four Levers You Need to Pull Right Now or Waste Millions on Facebook

The study looked at three years of Media Mix Modeling (MMM) across a range of consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands, analyzing the incremental effect Facebook ads had on total business revenue. Interestingly, the study found that 57% of media impact is driven by factors “outside a brand’s control.” But, the remaining 43% was largely driven by the four levers (creative, frequency, duration, and reach).

In marketing planning, we often talk about creative, frequency and reach (in that order) as being the most important drivers of incrementality. This study essentially corroborated what planners have known since the 50s: prospects have to see a compelling message multiple times (over a long period of time) in order to become customers. It makes perfect intuitive sense, but this kind of humanistic approach to marketing is often overlooked in today’s preferred method of deterministic attribution and “cast as wide of a net as possible to inform the algorithm.”

Many brands run campaigns in very short sprints (sometimes less than a week) with a huge variety of creatives in order to “test and quickly optimize.” This study proves otherwise by backing it up with the raw math: brands need quality creative (not quantity), and that repeat frequency over the course of nearly a year is crucial. Brand recognition, affinity and positive value association all take time to create a clear value for the end user. Even if in-platform data says that some fresh ad is “performing best,” don’t be led astray from the human-first approach of product > audience > message.

Most importantly: test and scientifically measure. Additionally, become familiar with terms like “incrementality,” “matched market testing,” “media mix modeling” and “marketing science.”

Sam Peters

A quick caveat: this multi-year study is specific to a variety of CPG brands, which are likely more “mature” and therefore more well-known and easier to purchase at various venues (in-store, online, through a retailer, etc). These findings might not be as pertinent for startups, niche products, or e-commerce-only shops that focus on demand capture for a narrow audience. That being said: at their core, these principles should work across most businesses.

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