Facebook is marrying up its data with retail insights specialist dunnhumby, allowing large-scale FMCG advertisers on the social network to gain crucial insight into the effect of campaigns on both offline and online sales.

With audience data specialist Acxiom serving as middle-man and analyst, Facebook is tying its 37-million-strong dataset with information from dunnhumby’s 17 million UK consumers, deriving from owner Tesco’s Clubcard user-base.

Both parties stress the data will be anonymous and that no users will be targeted – so the move is a strictly academic one – providing insight into the path to purchase from seeing an ad on Facebook to purchasing in-store or online at Tesco.  

Dunnhumby will then ‘model’ findings to account for the total UK grocery market, all of which will be available as a new ‘Sales Impact tool’ to Facebook’s FMCG advertisers – the cost of which has yet to be disclosed.

Evidence of ROI

According to Facebook, the partnership comes as a result of a high demand among its advertisers for greater evidence of ROI from campaigns running on the networks.

While the data is not available for targeting, large-scale brands now have an advanced facility to conduct controlled trials in which to benchmark the offline performance of successful online campaigns.

Dunnhumby has so far tested the tool with eight FMCG companies, including those positioned within the soft drinks, detergent and confectionary markets.

Talking to publisher ‘Marketing’, Facebook’s EMEA head of marketing science R&D, Alex North, reported one ‘premium’ FMCG brand testing six variables to its ad creative within a mobile-based campaign, resulting in a 10% sales uplift from the winner.

This partnership may be the shot in the arm that Tesco’s data division needed, after its attempted sale in August last year saw its profitability under scrutiny, with certain valuations in excess of £1 billion below Tesco’s asking price.