Facebook advertising case study: But what did it do for sales ?

facebook advertising casestudy

Facebook Executive Summary-Cheerios

Objective: Growing the number of people who have connected to Cheerios’ Facebook Page

Solution: Running a series of ads targeted at young mothers, emphasizing Cheerios’ heritage, nutritional benefits, and commitment to philanthropy


  • The Cheerios Facebook Page had 8,854 people connected to it on November 4, 2009, the day before the campaign began. By the end of November 5, the day the reach block ran, it had 133,129 – an increase of nearly 1,500 percent.
  • Reality Check: the number of people who follow you on social media means little.
  • The engagement rate was 0.19 percent – the highest recorded by General Mills at that time.
  • Reality Check:  The engagement rate equals what in sales ?
  • There were approximately 84.5 million total delivered impressions.
  • Reality Check: Impression don’t mean a damn thing today.  Anyone who tells you that impressions are all that they can measure and all that matter should be thrown out of your office.
  • Since the reach block, over 200,000 people have connected to Cheerios’ Facebook Page.
  • Reality Check: And this did what for sales ?

This is a classic case of poor brand objectives.  The objective for ANY social media program has to tie back to business objectives which is increase sales or lower costs.More is not always better. In this case, more is just more. Quality, not quantity, should be the key metric in a social strategy.  And that remains a challenge in the marketing industry because it is much easier to measure fans than sentiment.

If I were an executive at Cheerios I would look at the sales trend and if ask “what did this social media program do for sales?”   Engagement and impressions don’t mean a damn thing today.

A couple of good thing did come out of this program: people donated books and the marketing manager got to add another accomplishment to his resume.

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