Facebook may have made it into the black this month, but proving to the press and marketers that its ads work is another story. To hasten that process, the social netowrk has teamed up with Nielsen to to poll users on the ads they are served and package that data for advertisers.

Nielsen's polls provide skewed samples across platforms — because viewers that opt-in to respond to them are not emblematic of all viewers — but it should still provide a good proving ground for Facebook ads.

Nielsen BrandLift is intended to help Facebook measure the ROI for marketing on the social net. Similar to Facebook Engagement Ads, the Nielsen surveys will ask users about specific campaigns they have seen on the site. Facebook plans to expand the program to all of the advertisers on the site in the coming months and

The number of advertisers using Facebook has tripled over the past year and the company hopes to increase ad buys by showing how their ads increase purchases and intent. According to comScore, Facebook had a 9.1% share of display-ad views in the U.S. in July, up from January's 6.8%.

According to the WSJ:

While Sony usually gets such data for its television and offline campaigns, it hasn't been able to gather the information online, [Michael Lynton, CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment] added. "It makes a difference for calibrating how much money you're going to spend and how to spend it," he said.

As Facebook pushes to make $500 million in revenue this year, proving the efficacy of its advertising becomes more important for the bottom line.

While the data will not be perfect — many users will never complete a survey — it will help to provide Facebook with much needed legitimacy for its display advertising.

And as Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg says, for that to happen "it can’t just be you who proves it. It has to be a third party."

Meghan Keane

Published 22 September, 2009 by Meghan Keane

Based in New York, Meghan Keane is US Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter: @keanesian.

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Facebook's revenue is created almost soley from advertising revenue. But how do you defend your ad rates without trusted metrics? Add Nielsen Ratings as your partner, of course. This will add the credibility that Facebook needs to drive ad revenue in the coming years from advertisers wary of social media options that usually lack traditional advertising metrics.

almost 9 years ago

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