Facebook ads with the correct mix of imagery and message can boost ad recall by 65%, and ads that offer a reward can double purchase consideration, research conducted by Facebook and Nielsen found.

The study looked at the impact of Facebook’s ‘premium and social ads’ on brand metrics such as recall and purchase intent, using Nielsen’s advertising effectiveness approaches. While sponsored stories was included in the study, Facebook would not reveal results for the new ad unit in isolation.

What has been revealed however is how to tailor elements of the ads, which appear in the right hand side bar, to achieve maximum effectiveness. The study rated six elements on a scale of one to five to ascertain how the strength of each impacted on ad effectiveness, those being:

  1. Focal point: Does the image have an obvious focal point?
  2. Brand link: How easy was it to identify who the advertiser is?
  3. Tone: How well does the tone of the ad fit with the brand’s personality?
  4. Reward: Does this ad reward you for reading it? (Did you smile, learn interesting information, or have a positive feeling?)
  5. Noticeability: How noticeable was the ad on the page?
  6. Point: How effectively did the ad get its point across?

Broadly, an increase in one rating point for any of the elements resulted in an average 22% uplift in ad recall, and an increase of just a single point across any three of the elements resulted in a 65% uplift.

The reward element, which was not limited to discounts or offers but included any informational or emotional pay off, was found to the strongest element for impacting purchase behaviour, with a high score for this element doubling average purchase consideration.

The release of the findings, which also includes a separate study on engagement with Pages, is part of Facebook’s effort to help advertisers make more effective use its network.

Head of measurement platforms and standards at Facebook, Sean Bruich, told Marketing his team is working with advertisers to build measurement and metrics that describe the value that advertisers are trying to capture. They’re seeking to move the analysis of ad effectiveness from click through rates to measures of business outcomes.

“Our goal is to make sure Facebook is helping the industry innovate and move from the traffic focussed metrics of today to ones that more accurately capture the objectives of advertisers,” Bruich said.

The key takeaways from the study were using focused, easily recognisable images, linking the image, copy and concept of the ad strongly to the brand, and communicating in a tone that fits with the brand personality to increase ad memorability. And advertisers can increase their ads’ persuasive power by making sure that their viewers feel rewarded when reading their ads, through the use of emotion, humour, appealing images, and interesting information.

“The six creative concepts aren’t that different from traditional marketing,” Bruich said, adding that the research proves that they do work for Facebook’s advertising products, with the creative scores found to be predictive of in-market performance.