New Study Finds That Sequencing Ads Taking Individual Consumers Down the Marketing Funnel Achieves Better Outcomes

Jul 15, 2014

A new study by Adaptly, Facebook, and lifestyle website Refinery29 has found that in digital advertising, sequencing ads that take individual consumers down the marketing funnel achieves better outcomes than a sustained call to action (CTA) message delivered over the same period of time. According to the report, sequencing ads on a personalized level increases overall view-throughs by 87% and conversions by 56%. Conducted in May 2014, the research was designed to help inform advertisers about how to improve their creative diagnostics, optimal frequency, and sequencing within Facebook.

Adaptly deployed a campaign in Facebook's News Feed to encourage people to sign up for Refinery29. Refinery29 and Adaptly created a Facebook Custom Audience using Refinery29's best email subscribers. From the Custom Audience, Adaptly built a Facebook lookalike audience of over 2 million people who were also likely to become high-value customers. Facebook assisted with splitting the audience into three treatment groups.

Refinery29 designed three creatives for each treatment group and Adaptly tailored the campaigns. The sequenced group was delivered across 12 days, split evenly across each stage to walk people down the brand funnel: 1) top of the funnel ad for brand message 2) middle of the funnel ad for consideration 3) bottom of the funnel ad for call to action.  

A similar-sized audience was targeted with 3 CTA-focused ads each delivered for four days and with similar bidding strategies to the sequenced for CTA campaign.

When Adaptly compared all six creative executions individually, the "consideration" creative, which provided a piece of sample content a person would expect from Refinery29, generated the most view-through and engagement with the landing page. The first call-to-action ad in the sustained CTA group was the runner-up and the call-to-action ad in the sequenced for CTA group tied with the second call-to-action ad in the sustained CTA group.

However, people who saw all three of the ads in the sequence converted at higher rates than those who had seen just one or two of the ads. People who saw even just one of the ads converted at higher rates than people in the control group who saw no ads.