Social media is showing itself to be one of the best options for advertisers who are looking to get the most bang for buck.

In terms of its ability to drive impressions, clicks and conversions at a low cost, social is proving to be unrivalled in new findings from real-time information and analytics firm Neustar.

The channel indexed 70% cheaper than the industry average across CPM, CPC and CPA, according to Neustar’s Q2 2014 Media Intelligence Report, and displayed a 32% quarter-over-quarter drop in cost.

DSP efficiency

Neustar reasoned that this trend could be down to the growing use of efficient demand-side platforms (DSP) to access social impressions on exchanges.

Networks did not compare as favourably, reporting a 28% rise in cost since the first quarter of the 2014. The World Cup is said to be responsible because of marketers investing in contextual buying on networks to serve football-related content.

The emergence of video advertising to drive brand awareness has contributed to the networks’ cost rises too, with premium video placements often carrying a value of several times more than display ads.

Social wins for reach

Reach was another measurement where social outperformed the competition. When factoring in cost per unique user, the channel improved 65% quarter over quarter. Although this could be skewed because of multi-platform use and private browsing.

The latter issue is one that Neustar believes could have caused the general erosion of trust in cookies as a reliable method of tracking.

Cookies are not the only technical aspect of online advertising that is falling out of favour, though, as Rob Gatto, senior vice president of Neustar Media and Advertising, says clicks are also taking a back seat.

“While many marketers still place emphasis on clicks for conversions, depending on their target audience they may find much greater growth opportunity in view-based conversions,” he said.