How Facebook Makes Paid Search Stronger

How Facebook Makes Paid Search Stronger

Before people are ready to begin searching online to buy something, they discover the products and services they’ll end up buying through many different channels. Those channels include Facebook, where nearly 1.28 billion people around the world log on every month. Because of Facebook’s place in the consumer journey, businesses can significantly increase paid-search performance and decrease cost per acquisition by running Facebook ads with their paid-search campaigns, concludes a new study commissioned by Facebook.

For the study, multi-channel digital marketing technology firm Kenshoo analyzed the effect of adding Facebook advertising to Experian’s paid-search campaigns. These campaigns were designed to generate online applications for the leading global information services provider’s credit reports. To determine what level of Facebook ads would lead to the strongest performance, Experian exposed different groups of people in the United States to different spending levels of Facebook ads in News Feed and the right hand column. The campaigns took place over a two-week test period in the first quarter of 2014.



Kenshoo’s study reinforces previous research showing that Facebook advertising makes search campaigns work harder. Key findings of the new Kenshoo study include the following:

  • There was a 19% average increase in total conversions among the people who saw Facebook advertising compared with those who saw just paid search advertising (no Facebook ads)
  • Among people who saw the Facebook ads in addition to the paid search ads, there was a 10% average decrease in cost per acquisition due to the increase in conversions
  • Conversions increased as spending on Facebook ads rose, but there was a “sweet spot,” or minimum and maximum spend level on Facebook, to get the strongest performance at the least cost

“At the end of the day, search inventory is finite,” says Chris Costello, Kenshoo’s director of marketing research. “There are only so many people searching for things. Running Facebook ads can not only get more people to search but they can make the search ads work better by instilling brand preference in searchers and driving them to convert at higher rates. It means that marketers can get more bang for their search buck.”


Kenshoo’s report makes three key strategic recommendations for marketers:

  • Find the “sweet spot” yielding the highest conversion for the lowest cost by testing how different levels of Facebook spend affect paid-search performance
  • Try varying Facebook targeting, bidding, ad formats and campaign creative to achieve small lifts in performance, as even small increases can lead to big gains over time
  • Use cross-channel measurement to determine which mix of advertising platforms generates the highest performance

“This is more great research that shows how Facebook and search work better together,” says Blake Chandlee, VP Global Partnerships at Facebook. “It’s our hope that marketers who manage paid search see the potential to improve performance by adding Facebook to the mix. Search is a powerful medium for capturing intent and Facebook is a proven platform for driving more people to search and buy.”

To learn more, download The Facebook Added Value Series: Volume 2: Finding the Sweet Spot for Search and Social Investment or Kenshoo’s first paper on the topic, Added Value: Facebook Advertising Boosts Paid Search Performance.