Even before its initial public offering, there were some people who were sceptical about the value of advertising on Facebook. A recent survey by Ad Age has looked at this issue in depth. Its findings are open to interpretation and do need to be supplemented by further research. However, they are relevant to social media marketing and are worth looking at in some detail. Facebook remains at the front of the social pack and using this social network effectively is essential for any social media strategy.
Brief notes on the sample
Unfortunately, the size of the sample was on the small side. Only 658 individuals took part. However, they all worked in the marketing industry. To be precise, a mixture of marketers, executives and media workers participated. It could be argued that their opinions on this subject are more informed than those of ordinary users and possibly more insightful.
Mixed results for Facebook
The question of whether or not people believe that advertising on Facebook works efficiently in terms of generating sales leads was answered definitively. Few respondents were confident that it did, as yet. However, a large number of those who took the survey believed that Facebook advertising was positive for a brand. This good news for Facebook was balanced by the finding that many people found it hard to measure the success of advertising on the network. Facebook does allow a lot of data collection, but it is not always easy to process the varied information.
The details in focus
Among other questions, the survey asked about the major intention of businesses using Facebook. It found that the most common aim was to promote brand knowledge. The second most popular answer was that Facebook was good at persuading users to go to the firm’s site. The third most popular answer was Facebook-specific and stressed that it was positive to receive ‘likes’. The fourth most common answer was that keeping in touch with customers was made easier by Facebook. Actually getting sales leads directly was ranked fifth. Social commerce was mentioned by just a few respondents.
Analysis of further details
The survey revealed that it was likely that spending on Facebook by these individuals would increase. It seemed that there is a common willingness to experiment among businesses, however. There may be some degree of confusion and a certain lack of confidence, but there is a feeling that there are several reasons why using Facebook is worthwhile. Disappointingly for Facebook, the survey found a certain level of dissatisfaction with the customer support provided for advertising. Fortunately for the social giant, many people could appreciate the value in linking content and advertising.
Facebook has work to do
The people surveyed by Ad Age have basically delivered a wide range of opinions about advertising on Facebook. While they do not contradict each other all that much, the result of bundling them all together is that Facebook is doing some things right and some things poorly. It cannot just rely on its massive audiences to attract advertising. It will eventually have to make its advertising more attractive and effective.
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