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Understanding Online’s Reach Potential: A Facebook Case Study
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Understanding Online’s Reach Potential: A Facebook Case Study

Established as a bastion of direct response advertising and long considered the home for niche audiences, online has lagged behind other media, namely TV, as a channel for broadly messaged, brand advertising. The emergence of far-reaching publishers like Facebook, however, means that marketers now have another option for reaching consumers en masse. Likewise, the availability of true cross-screen metrics enables them to understand how digital can reinforce and complement their TV investment.

In fact, according to a recent Nielsen study commissioned by Facebook—which has more than 1 billion users globally—for certain age groups, Facebook can contribute significant incremental or duplicated reach to that of major TV networks. This was particularly true for younger demographics.

In particular, the study found that:

  • During the daytime, Facebook has a reach comparable to or exceeding the four TV networks measured. For consumers ages 25-34, for instance, Facebook added up to an incremental 41 percent reach to the TV networks during the day.
  • During primetime, when TV networks reached more consumers than Facebook, Facebook was a strong driver of duplicated reach—meaning that a marketer could reach the same consumers online and on TV. For consumers ages 25-34 during primetime, for example, Facebook contributed up to 36 percent duplicated reach to the four measured TV networks.
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While marketers should take into account other metrics when evaluating the effectiveness of their online ads, such as time spent, engagement and frequency, this recent study demonstrates that Facebook can be a very effective vehicle to extend brand reach.

As brand advertisers increasingly look to integrated campaigns that reach consumers wherever they’re engaging with media, understanding how to accomplish campaign objectives—such as reach—is essential. Likewise, the power of ad campaign measurement tools that span multiple media channels—and allow marketers to make real-world, holistic decisions about where to invest their budgets—is clear.

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For additional thought leadership about brand advertising, be sure to read Nielsen’s 2013 Online Advertising Performance Outlook.