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Study: Facebook Advertising Positively Impacts Paid Search Performance

A recent study released by Kenshoo reveals that Facebook advertising has a direct effect on paid search performance and that the cross-channel impact increases as the investment ratio of Facebook to paid search spending rises. Kenshoo analyzed recent paid search performance for the leading global information services company, Experian, in which certain segments of the target audience were exposed to both paid search and various levels of Facebook advertising while others were exposed to paid search alone.

Key findings include:

Facebook advertising directly and positively impacts paid search performance. Conversion volume increased significantly, driven by improvement in other key performance metrics. For the three groups exposed to Facebook advertising, on average:

  • Total conversions increased 19%
  • Conversion rate increased 11%
  • Cost per acquisition decreased 10%

The level of spend on Facebook advertising correlates to the effect on paid search performance. There is clear evidence that the cross-channel effects of Facebook advertising on paid search strengthen when the ratio of Facebook spend between the two channels rises:

  • Paid search total conversions rise along with the level of investment in Facebook advertising
  • Paid search clicks increased as more consumers were exposed to Facebook advertising


There exists a “sweet spot” for leveraging the most effective cross-channel impact. An “activation effect” emerged from this test between low and mid-level groups in Facebook advertising spend, but the smaller gains between mid and high-levels indicate additional spending may not yield proportionate levels of improvement.

“Consumers interact with brands as part of a fluid conversation, regardless of where, when, and how they engage with paid, owned and earned media. In their eyes, there’s no distinction between channels, devices, and promotions,” said Aaron Goldman, CMO of Kenshoo. “This study proves that brands willing to adopt a similar thought process and forego the traditional siloed approach to digital marketing can reap significant cross-channel benefits between Facebook and paid search. While the actual sweet spot in terms of investment will vary for each advertiser, it’s clear that one exists and it’s imperative for marketers to find it.”

“This is more great research that shows how Facebook and search work better together,” says Blake Chandlee, VP Global Partnerships at Facebook. “One more time we see that Facebook makes search work harder. So it’s our hope that marketers who manage paid search see the potential to improve performance by adding Facebook to the mix. Search is a powerful medium for capturing intent and Facebook is a proven platform for driving more people to search and buy.”

You can find the whole report here.

Image via Kenshoo

Mary Shaw