Research says some advertisers are not convinced by advertising on Facebook Marketers love Facebook and know that they have to be there, but unfortunately for Facebook some also seem to have concluded that advertising on the social network isn’t anywhere near as necessary, according to a new survey.
This sounds like bad news for Facebook and echoes what General Motors said back in May when it said it would invest in content, but was cutting its ad budget.
At the root of that row between General Motors Global CMO Joel Ewanick, as well as other marketers, and Facebook was that the automotive firm wanted bigger and more impact ad units than the current offering. Facebook, however, was not prepared to go down that route.
It wasn’t only GM. Forrester put out a report at the same time, prior to the IPO, that took a look at Facebook and how it works for marketing…except its take was that it didn’t work.
The latest is according to an Advertising Age survey conducted in conjunction with Citigroup to find out how marketers view Facebook and what their spending plans are.
The big take away other than concerns of comparable metrics and transparency are that while a vast majority use Facebook for marketing, almost 90%, only 55% currently advertise on Facebook.
And more to the point, echoing General Motors, nearly 88% said their Facebook strategies were content led and would do without advertising at all. One went as far as to say they didn’t “believe that Facebook is an advertising platform. We need to explore other possibilities”.
So what is happening to social-media advertising budgets? Ad Age found that while 72% said they expected their budgets rise “only 56.6% said they thought their Facebook advertising budget would increase” and less than 40% said it would stay the same.
Eric Johnson, CEO of Los Angeles-based agency Ignited, said clients are experimenting with Facebook and in some cases upping their investment on it; they’re certainly not dumping their TV budgets into it. Or even their budgets for other digital-media platforms, where the value of clicks and video views is more proven. “The metrics [on Facebook] are not screaming that you have to go and change your budget,” told Ad Age.
The other big issue for marketers is Facebook’s attitude again echoing what others have said about the social network when it comes to advertising.
Respondents also said doing business with Facebook isn’t always easy. About 24% of respondents said Facebook’s advertising-customer support was inferior to other digital platforms; only 7% said it was superior.
Asked what it would take to make Facebook a more useful ad platform, one said, “It’s incredibly time consuming and requires a lot of manual entry. Our agency has tried to optimize by working directly with Facebook but found they were unhelpful and lacked the knowledge to move our projects forward.”
And another: “Better analytics and better customer support, like Google’s AdWords.”
The research comes as analysts for the three biggest banks that helped underwrite Facebook’s IPO said they expected the stock over the next 12 months after it fell as low as £26 and is now trading at around $32 or $6 off of its flotation price.
The three, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, yesterday began coverage of Facebook following the end of a 40-day “quiet period”, the FT reports.
“A Bloomberg survey of 17 brokerages that began coverage on Wednesday showed an average 12-month price target of $37.95, just 5 cents below the offer price.
JPMorgan issued the most bullish forecasts of the main underwriters of the deal and set a price target of $45 for the end of 2013 and a “buy” rating,” the FT reported.