What Social Media Ad Type Works the Best?

Check out the reports findings after the jump.


The study (embedded below) tested seven different types of ads on two different publisher websites, Facebook and Allrecipes. The ad types evaluated were: banner ads, newsletter subscription ads, corporate profiles with fans and logos, corporate profiles without fans or logos, get widgets, give widgets and sponsored content.

  • While sponsored content provided the most user interaction (and was the least likely to be perceived as advertising), it also triggered the lowest level of purchase intent and the fewest viral recommendations.
  • Corporate profiles are effective but they work better when users can become a fan of the profile and add a logo to their own page.
  • More people engage with give/get widgets than with banner ads, however widgets do not increase purchase intent or viral recommendations.
  • Regardless of format, the most effective advertisements were those that were related to the content on the publisher’s website (i.e. a soup advertisement on a cooking website).
  • Of the seven advertising types, banner ads and newsletter links were the most successful at encouraging purchase intent.

Surprisingly, the study suggests that banner ads may be the best choice for advertisers that want to push a product. However, for campaigns that want to build engagement, corporate profiles or sponsored content is the better option.

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