Facebook advertising revenue is strong and getting stronger, but it has still failed to garner the interest of advertisiers looking to spend the big bucks. In fact, Facebook itself seems to be focused more on small business advertising, targeting ads toward existing Fans. This type of targeted marketing has always been the big promise of Facebook, but so far not much acclaim has been attributed to it. In fact, for a small business looking to attract more customers via Facebook they might be better off creating a jazzy Fan page and promoting it via the social media giant than actually paying for an ad.
Here’s the problem: A Facebook advertisement might be able to garner you a few ‘Likes’, or hundreds of ‘Likes’ or even thousands of ‘Likes’ but what is that worth to you?
Lori Taylor likes to say “Popularity is vanity, sales are sanity” and I tend to agree. It’s great to be popular, either online or in the real world, but if that popularity doesn’t translate into revenue you’re not in business. Well, you’re not in a successful business. You can have all the fans you’d like, but you better have a plan for how they can help you; how you can motivate them into becoming paying customers, or you’re going no where fast.
Facebook has a good thing going for it. With nearly one BILLION users it is the largest social media network ever, meaning it has the potential to become a force of nature for advertisers. So far, however, it has lacked the direct response impact needed to attract large advertisers. It’s not enough to say you’ll get people to like a product, advertisers want to know you can help convert fans into buyers. After all, that’s what they’re trying to do.
Facebook is hardly out-of-the-running when it comes to online revenue producers. In fact, they probably farther ahead than anyone. But getting people to switch from traditional, proven advertising platforms to something not yet proven effective is a difficult task for anyone.
US Social Media Network ad revenues are expected to surpass $3.90 billion in 2012 and a large portion of that money is going straight to Facebook.
New numbers from eMarketer show that Facebook will likely earn 72% of social media specific ad spending next year. That’s equal to 7.9% of total online ad spending.
Sounds good to me, but the Wall Street Journal says Facebook is still struggling. They point to a recent Ford Focus campaign that pulled in 43,000 “likes.” Ford spent more than $95 million to advertise their new car, but very little of it went to Facebook.
To add insult to injury, Ford turned down a suggested sponsored stories buy on Facebook, then paid Yahoo and Microsoft to send traffic to the Facebook page. According to WSJ, Ford did eventually spring for an ad but stopped it long before it stopped those on competing sites.
Ford’s biggest Facebook related expense? Probably paying the agency who created the campaign page and the videos that went viral.
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