Mobile social media advertising success is possible – but desktop ads are just as effective for brand awareness

It turns out that social media advertising may be rather effective in driving brand impact by boosting brand awareness and association, according to new research by Saїd Business School (University of Oxford) and Kantar Millward Brown.

The researchers looked at 235 global campaigns from across 110 different brands using campaign effectiveness polls by Kantar Millward Brown.

More specifically, Andrew Stephen, the Professor of Marketing for L’Oréal and Felipe Thomaz, Associate Professor of Marketing at Saïd Business School, assessed the Kantar Millward Brown data from Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns over the past two years to measure their long-term impact.

The ads consisted of 80% video campaigns and 20% display ads, all of which were mobile campaigns.

The research highlights that the correlation between campaign success and factors such as industry, region or creative formats were weak.

However, brands that communicate using human language, those which channel emotions and avoid functional phrases tend to perform better in terms of ad effectiveness, brand awareness and product awareness.

One of the main surprises from the study: desktop ads are just as effective as mobile ads when it comes to brand impact. Mobile display ad effectiveness was found to lift brand metrics by 3.8%, just a little below that of desktop display campaigns.

For advertisers the research highlights that long-term success is possible. Indeed, social media campaigns can drive long-term brand impact when it comes to awareness. However, context (as always) matters. Brands need to effectively communicate their message without becoming too technical.

Stephen explained:

“These findings are hugely important for businesses in understanding how they communicate on social media, with those who interact in a human and emotive manner able to capture greater awareness of their brands and products. The research also delivers useful insight on where advertisers should focus their efforts. With brand impact now delivered equally through desktop and mobile, advertisers must consider more carefully their media mix in order to reach consumers across these channels.”

Although the mobile industry is becoming more and more cluttered, new formats are surfacing all the time and marketers need to take the time and familiarize themselves with them to ensure their brands can truly benefit from the latest approach.