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Sequencing Ads More Effective Than Call-to-Action Messages [Study]

  |  July 15, 2014   |  Comments

A joint study by Facebook, Adaptly, and Refinery29 shows that sequencing ads result in more conversions than call-to-action (CTA) messages. So how can marketers improve their sequencing ad strategy?

As marketers strive to find the best way to engage consumers, a new study from Facebook, lifestyle website Refinery29, and social media advertising technology company Adaptly suggests that sequencing ads could be a viable solution.

The study reveals that sequencing ads engage consumers more effectively than sustained call-to-action (CTA) messages. When personalized, sequencing ads, which were delivered during the research period of May 2014, increased overall view-throughs by 87 percent, and conversions by 56 percent.

The research is based on a controlled experiment where Adaptly conducted a campaign in Facebook's News Feed to encourage users to sign up for Refinery29. Facebook and Adaptly worked together to build an audience consisting of more than 2 million Facebook users, and then separated the audience into three treatment groups: a sequenced group, a sustained CTA group, and a control group. Refinery29 then designed three different creatives for each treatment group.

The sequenced group was delivered ads across 12 days, and split evenly down the marketing funnel: top of the funnel ad for brand message, middle for consideration, and bottom for CTA, as shown below:

sequencingads1

In the sustained CTA group, each of the three CTAs was delivered for four days, to a similar sized audience, with similar bidding strategies to the sequenced group.

sequencingads2

The findings show that compared to the others, the "consideration" creative, the mid-funnel in the sequenced group, saw the most view-through and engagement with the landing page, followed by the first ad in the sustained CTA group.

Additionally, results show consumers are more likely to be converted if they are exposed to the full marketing funnel - for example, Facebook users who saw all three ads in the sequenced group were converted at higher rates than those who saw just one or two of the ads. And consumers who saw just one of the ads were more likely to be converted than those who saw no ads at all.

sequencingads3

"Multiple ad exposures always outperformed a single ad exposure," says Sean O'Neal, president at Adaptly. "And in all scenarios, the sequencing ads which walked consumers down the brand funnel outperformed the sustained CTA ads."

So how can marketers keep consumers' attention throughout the sequencing ad journey, from awareness to consideration to conversion? The best practice, according to O'Neal, is to deliver a very specific message for each stage of the marketing funnel.

"Upper-funnel messages should focus on generating awareness of who the brand is and what it stands for; mid-funnel messages should focus on generating consideration by delivering more information about the brand; and lower-funnel messages should focus on driving an action, like signing up for or purchasing a product," he tells ClickZ.

Homepage image via Shutterstock.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Yuyu Chen

Yuyu Chen is a junior reporter at ClickZ. Her work has appeared in Local East Village, New York Daily News and Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce website. Yuyu received her M.A. in Business and Economic Reporting from New York University in May, 2013.

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