IRVINE, CA – Put a famous face or name in your social media ad and it will significantly boost its performance, says a new study of social media campaigns by Brand Affinity Technologies. Admittedly, Brand Affinity, which says it is reinventing endorsement and celebrity marketing, has a dog in this race.

But the study findings are strong – if not surprising in our celebrity obsessed culture. The study analyzed over 200 Facebook and Twitter endorsements as well as similar Facebook ads that did not feature celebrities, and found that – for the same spend – endorsed messages delivered monumental performance lifts – over 50% greater on the low end.

“If regular Facebook ads were the automobiles along an interstate highway, celebrity social media messages would be like throwing Formula One cars into the mix,” said Ryan Steelberg, CEO of BAT.  ”They’re all going to move brand marketers from point A to point B, but celebrity endorsements will do it with drastically greater effect. This data reveals that with social media endorsements, brands will reap greater rewards from their spend.”

BAT analyzed the performance of national campaigns for advertisers in the auto, entertainment, technology, and retail categories, all executed using its new social media offering, @BAT (pronounced “at bat”). The campaigns encompassed endorsements from a wide range of celebrities and professional athletes such as Drew Brees, Snoop Dogg, Matt Hasselbeck, Enrique Iglesias, Khloe Kardashian, Nick Swisher, and Kendra Wilkinson.

BAT’s comparison of celebrity social media messages to non-endorsed Facebook ads revealed that, for equal dollars:

  • Endorsed Facebook messages resulted in a 50% improvement in cost-per-action (CPA) over non-endorsed Facebook advertising.
  • Click-through rates are 21x higher with endorsed Facebook messages over their non-endorsed counterparts.
  • Click-through rates for endorsed Twitter messages were 17x higher than non-endorsed Facebook messages.
  • Endorsed Twitter messages resulted in a 72% CPA improvement over non-endorsed Facebook messages.

“These findings provide further confirmation that celebrity endorsements within social media activations, when done right, significantly outperform non-endorsed campaigns,” said Taylor Valentine, vice president of social media and relationship marketing for Horizon Media. “Think of this as word-of-mouth fire-starters, driven by the extreme levels of consumer interest that celebrities bring to the table.”

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