Facebook Rolls Out New Ads; Partners With Nielsen To Measure Their Effectiveness

Facebook may have just pulled the plug on its controversial Beacon ad program, but it keeps devising new ways to generate revenue and profits. The latest attempts include a new direct response-style ad, which lets users sign up for product samples, and a multi-year partnership with Nielsen that’s aimed at shedding light on how campaigns running across the network impact metrics like purchase intent and brand affinity.

At an Advertising Week presentation today, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said marketers had been pushing for better ways to quantify the value of their Facebook campaigns. P&G for example, attracted over 220,000 new fans to its Secret deodorant page within five days — but how many of those fans actually planned to buy the new fragrance?

Through a trial of Nielsen BrandLift, the first product of the Nielsen and Facebook partnership, P&G was able to learn that its social media campaign had driven an 11 percent lift in purchase intent overall, and a 33 percent lift in purchase intent for the deodorant’s target demo of women aged 13 to 18. Select advertisers in the U.S. will get to test out BrandLift this week; the short, opt-in surveys will show up on the homepage, much like Facebook’s Engagement Ads, and ask users questions about specific campaigns they may have been exposed to on the site. Facebook will expand the product to all advertisers in the coming months.

Sandberg made sure to point out that the Nielsen partnership isn’t about behavioral targeting; marketers will be able to target their BrandLift surveys demographically, but the product doesn’t collect members’ personal info or track their activities. Facebook is using this as a way to turn its network of over 300 million users into a genuine market research platform — one that hopefully delivers more organic insights than focus groups, in a way that’s less out-of-context than some of the pop-up surveys that get served to users on other sites. Release.