Hall and Oates. Abbott and Costello. Outdated cultural references and blog posts. All of these things work great together, and the agile marketer knows that in today’s world, Paid Search and Paid Social ads work together just as well, if not better. Facebook recently released a meta-analysis of 23 studies that investigated the synergies between the two channels in a paper called Cross-channel Planning: Making search work harder.

This paper includes data from three previously released studies conducted by Kenshoo and Facebook, other, unpublished work with Kenshoo, and studies that Facebook developed with other partners.

The main conclusions from this analysis are:

  • Facebook campaigns (particularly on mobile) can help super-charge your search programs, in terms of both volume and efficiency
  • The influence of Facebook advertising can be seen for many customer activities as they approach the conversion
  • By planning more holistically across channels, marketers can better harness these benefits

Across 17 of the 23 studies, Facebook found an increase in unique search traffic to advertisers’ websites of +6.3% from mobile, and +0.9% from desktop for groups that were exposed to Facebook ads, compared to control groups. Not only did the exposed groups see more search volume, but an analysis of keyword types in the studies where Facebook partnered with Kenshoo indicated that the large majority of incremental paid search clicks came from branded search terms. Additional analysis also showed a higher propensity to convert on a number of key activities throughout the conversion process.

All of this reinforces what we have long suspected about the impact of what has been viewed as a more “ambient” medium (Facebook) on a more performance-focused medium (search). While the conventional wisdom says customers may not go to Facebook to explicitly look for a product or service, customer who are looking for a product or service do still go to Facebook, and the opportunities are there to help them along their journey.

So we see: more searches; more clicks; more clicks specifically on brand keywords that are cheaper per click and generally closer to the conversion; more pre-conversion activity; and more conversions when Facebook is involved – and when marketers look at the two channels together.

The possibilities this opens up are almost endless. We have looked at variations in spending levels on Facebook to identify a “sweet spot” that maximizes the interactions, but that only scratches the surface. What is the impact of consistent messaging across Facebook ads and search ad copy? What is the difference in lift for a general audience versus a more targeted audience? By understanding the interplay between your different marketing channels, and understanding how to leverage those interactions, marketers become more agile and more responsive to their customers, wherever those customers happen to be.