TBG study reports low engagement for Facebook UK ads

Facebook: engagement with its ads is lower in the UK than in other markets
Facebook: engagement with its ads is lower in the UK than in other markets

UK advertisers are not seeing as high an engagement with ads on Facebook compared to other markets, as they use paid-for media on the social network for direct response rather than brand building, according to a new study by TBG Digital.

The quarterly 'Global Facebook Advertising' report by the social media agency, examines trends and changes in the performance of its Facebook advertising campaigns. The study is based on 520 billion impressions in more than 190 countries, for 282 of TBG's clients.

According to the study, click-through-rates (CTR) on Facebook ads, which are an indicator of how much an ad is being engaged with, rose by 81% quarter on quarter in the major markets of the US, Canada, UK, France and Germany, for the three months ended 30 September.

TBG Digital attributed this overall rise to better ad creative and improvements in ad targeting.

While the US saw a surge in CTR to 99% for Q3, compared to the previous quarter, the rate in the UK dipped 4%.

Speaking to Media Week, Simon Mansell, chief executive of TBG Digital said that in the UK, advertisers used Facebook ads as a direct response mechanism, whereas in the US they are used more for brand building, meaning UK advertisers send traffic offsite, rather than on Facebook.

Mansell said: "The US leads the way in social media marketing and recognises that it is the most powerful building tool since TV, but I don’t think UK advertisers are on board with this yet."

The report showed that quarter on quarter, the cost-per-click (CPC) rate was flat, dropping 2%, while it decreased in the US by 40%. It did not break out what the cost was however.

Mansell said this drop in the US was because more advertisers were using news feed ads more than in the UK, meaning the demand drove down the cost. He said that advertisers in the UK were favouring the ads on the right-hand side of the page, which tend to drive traffic off the Facebook site, meaning the CPC remained the same.

The report provides data on mobile ads for the first time, after Facebook started selling them in March. TBG Digital did not break out UK specific mobile data. However, it showed that in the US, mobile news feed ads were receiving CTRs of 1.29%, which was almost 23 times that of desktop news feed and right hand-side ads.

Mansell said: "The CTR on mobile is performing well, but the CPC is higher than on desktop, which is probably because Facebook is being careful about how many they are serving on mobile, meaning supply is lower."

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