Commissioned by Facebook, this study looks at how Facebook’s reach compare to that of TV networks, how does this reach differ for different demographics and across different dayparts, and how to
Commissioned by Facebook, this study looks at how Facebook’s reach compare to that of TV networks, how does this reach differ for different demographics and across different dayparts, and how to allocate ad expenditures accordingly.
2 A CUSTOM ANALYSIS COMMISSIONED BY FACEBOOK
We are still in the early days of multi-platform advertising.
But preconceptions have already developed about the “best way” to leverage certain media to achieve your marketing
objectives. Specifically, industry consensus is that TV remains the “reach medium,” with its ability to attract large
assemblages of viewers across demos, particularly for the largest networks and during the prime time daypart.
Meanwhile, online is viewed as a medium by which marketers can reach more specific audiences and drive incremental
reach (e.g., light TV viewers).
Continued rapid Internet penetration globally and an explosion in the popularity of social networks and apps
challenges this view. Facebook, with more than 1 billion users globally, is a good example of this evolution.
Facebook’s user base results in a potential to drive massive reach, either duplicative or incremental to reach achieved
on TV. Have we reached a new paradigm in terms of the role of online in driving reach for advertising campaigns?
While marketers should also consider additional metrics, such as frequency and time spent, and measure their
advertising across the 3R framework—Reach, Resonance, and Reaction—to truly understand advertising performance
and optimization opportunities, this paper focuses on marketers’ reach objectives. Specifically, this Facebook-
commissioned study investigates this phenomenon by comparing Facebook’s total site reach to that of large TV
networks, and establishes heuristics for optimizing reach delivery on a large CPG company’s multi-platform campaign.
Through this approach, we address a number of fundamental questions:
1. How does Facebook’s site reach compare to that of TV networks? To what degree do their respective
2. How does this reach differ for different demographics and across different dayparts?
3. What is the optimal way to allocate campaign spend between TV and online (Facebook) to drive better reach
We find that Facebook is capable of delivering site reach at levels comparable to major TV networks, particularly for
certain dayparts and demos. By examining a model optimizing a campaign for maximum on-target audience reach
across media channels, we observe that Facebook continues to provide incremental reach with a large portion of
Overall, this paper shows that digital publishers with large, robust sets of high quality user data (like Facebook) can in
fact serve as an effective foundation for reach delivery. By investing in the online media channel, brand marketers can
increase their audience reach while at the same time creating an opportunity for dual screen media exposure. This is
all possible within the original campaign budget.
4 A CUSTOM ANALYSIS COMMISSIONED BY FACEBOOK
The reality is the pie is growing in terms of media consumption. TV still leads
in terms of time spent, with the average US TV viewer watching 156 hours of TV
per month, the average PC owner spending 29 hours online, and the average
smartphone user spending 24 hours on apps and web each month2
number of computer Internet users has grown from 156 million in 2007 to 212
million in 2012 and smartphone penetration has increased from 7 percent in
2007 to 59 percent in 20123
. Additionally, the number of households that do
not receive TV programming via a traditional platform has more than doubled
in the last six years, growing from 2 million in 2007 to 5 million 20134
The first step for marketers who are heavily invested in TV advertising in
determining how to allocate spend more effectively across media channels
is the ability to measure campaigns in a comparable way across all these
channels. This is more difficult than it may otherwise seem because digital
advertising has widely adopted a set of divergent campaign measurement
metrics from that of TV as the media channel norms – namely impression
counts and click-through-rate. Nielsen has developed two products, Nielsen
Online Campaign Ratings™
and Nielsen Cross-Platform Campaign Ratings™
which aim to fill this demand for cross-media channel campaign measurement.
Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings measures digital campaigns using GRPs in a
way that is directly comparable to that of TV. Nielsen Cross-Platform Campaign
Ratings measures campaigns that are running on TV and online within one,
In short, though the tools are now available, many marketers are still left trying
to create integrated campaigns without proper vision into performance within
and across platforms. A major underlying issue preventing the advertising
industry from keeping pace with this audience migration to digital consumption
had been the lack of uniform measurement.
Sources: 2.Q4 2012 Nielsen Cross-Platform Report, December 2012 Nielsen Smartphone Analytics. 3.Q4 2007 and Q4 2012 Nielsen Cross-Platform
Report, Q4 2007 and Q4 2012 Nielsen Mobile Insights. 4.Q4 2012 Nielsen Cross-Platform Report.
8 A CUSTOM ANALYSIS COMMISSIONED BY FACEBOOK
In this section of the paper we attempt to explicitly measure incremental and
cross-media reach within particular demographic groups and dayparts. We do
this at a macro level by comparing the audience reach estimates of both the
TV and Facebook (PC only) platforms as a whole using the Nielsen TV/Internet
Data Fusion panel. We then perform a similar analysis at the micro level by
taking an actual television ad campaign and executing a simulated exercise
of reallocating portions of TV media spend into online spend to measure the
resulting impact on reach that could be achieved by the campaign.
We start our analysis of incremental and cross-media reach at the macro level
by measuring the incremental and cross-media reach within demographic
and dayparts. We look at top TV networks as well as the PC-only
Facebook platform. The data is analyzed in an “only-only-both” method (TV-
only, digital-only and duplicated reach across platforms) to demonstrate the
incremental reach digital offers, as well as the ability of digital to drive deeper
engagement with audiences via cross-media reach.
MACRO ANALYSIS: UNDERSTANDING
REACH ACROSS FACEBOOK AND TV
Network 1 Network 2 Network 3 Network 4
15% 15% 15%
4% 4% 4%
13% 11% 11% 11%
Network 1 Network 2 Network 3 Network 4
Source: 9.Data not shown for all demos. Figures 2.A-2.D: Nielsen TV/Internet Data Fusion, October 2012.
10 A CUSTOM ANALYSIS COMMISSIONED BY FACEBOOK
Generally speaking, we observe higher levels of Facebook-only reach
(incremental) during the daytime and higher levels of cross-media reach
between Facebook and TV in the primetime hours, which are results
consistent with our earlier analysis of daypart reach for each of the platforms.
This is most evident when looking at the younger age cohorts.
Some of the more striking results are within the 18-24 and 25-34 age groups.
Facebook adds significant incremental reach when looking at individual
networks for the daytime daypart and significant cross-media reach during
primetime for these age groups. During the day, the Facebook-only reach
addition to network audiences ranges from 37 percent to 41 percent. When
looking at these same demographic groups during primetime, the Facebook-
only reach ranges from 15 percent to 28 percent, while the cross-media reach
is much higher, ranging from 22 percent to 36 percent. This type of analysis
offers an exciting opportunity for brands to better achieve their campaign
reach goals. For brands aiming to extend reach, publishers should be
evaluated based on demographics and dayparts where they are able to offer
the highest unduplicated reach. Brands that are aiming to reinforce the
messaging through duplication can focus on publishers that offer significant
While these findings on reach are insightful in aggregate, marketers are still
faced with challenges, asking, “What is the optimal media mix between TV
and digital, and how do I measure the impact of this mix on reach?”
MICRO ANALYSIS: PLANNING FOR THE
OPTIMAL ALLOCATION - A CPG CASE STUDY
This next section of the paper takes an actual television advertising media
plan through a simulated exercise of reallocating TV media spend into online
spend to measure the resulting impact on reach achieved by the campaign.
It is important to note that this analysis focuses only on reach and does not
measure other metrics, such as time spent, or the other pillars of the 3R
framework, resonance and reaction, which are all relevant for evaluating a
campaign’s success. To perform this exercise, we use the television-viewing
and Internet-browsing behavior from Nielsen TV/Internet Data Fusion.
‘Online’ in this analysis is defined by a set of 10 of the top publishers based
on historical campaign performance within the females 18-34 demo. Using
Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings data, the top publishers were determined
by how well they were able to reach the intended audience, in this case
females 18-34. As a second breakout, we have included Facebook in addition
to these 10 publishers.
12 A CUSTOM ANALYSIS COMMISSIONED BY FACEBOOK
The proliferation of connected, digital media devices and options has
propelled an evolving media consumption landscape. The reality is advertising
budgets have not followed at the same rate. A large barrier preventing
higher growth of digital advertising spend has been the lack of a consistent
measurement framework between TV and other digital media channels with
which to judge the success or failure of allocation decisions. Consistent
metrics are crucial to compare performance, gauge success and justify spend
across multiple platforms.
Throughout this paper we looked at comparable reach metrics across
Facebook and TV networks to create a consistent measurement framework
that lends itself to multi-platform capability. Two overarching conclusions can
be made from this analysis:
1. Digital publishers with vast reach and high-quality demographic data,
such as Facebook, should be considered a viable option alongside
television when a marketer is pursuing an audience reach objective,
particularly for younger age cohorts.
2. Planning with particular attention to dayparts for both TV and online
presents exciting, synergistic opportunities for brands to increase in-
target reach and create an advantageous audience for dual screen
exposure, all while maintaining the same campaign budget.
and the duplicated reach, excluding Facebook, and remains at 66 percent
when combining the TV only reach and the duplicated reach, including
Facebook. Not only is the advertiser benefiting from extending reach, but
they are also adding a good amount of duplication across TV and online. This
overlapping audience can unlock a wealth of opportunity for an advertiser
to engage their key consumers multiple times, across media channels, to
reinforce their messaging.
This analysis shows in an applied example how a brand advertising on
TV can maintain the same overall budget, reallocate a portion of spend
into digital media, increase their reach among the intended audience, and
create an opportunity to reinforce the messaging with cross-media reach
across channels. In this CPG case study, with Facebook included, the brand
increased their in-target reach from 66 percent to 80 percent with roughly 44
percent of the audience having an opportunity to be exposed to messaging
on multiple channels.