Facebook Is a Must for Marketers, but Not Necessarily through Ads

All marketers agree that you need to be present on popular social network Facebook, but not necessarily to promote yourself using their ad system, as a new Ad Age study conducted in conjunction with Citigroup indicates. 658 subscribers responded to Ad Age’s survey, all positioning themselves as decision-makers in social marketing strategy. In fact, there respondents were 34% marketers, 34% agency execs, 13% media execs, and the rest consisted of other professionals in the marketing field.

Other important facts revealed by this survey are that there is quite a lot of confusion when it comes to how to calculate ROI on Facebook and how to compare it with that of other social and traditional media channels.

“I think it comes down to measurement,” said Michael Scissons, CEO of Syncapse. “If you are a direct-response marketer it’s easy to measure. If you’re a brand marketer, it becomes much more intangible to track the point of sale.”

Although almost 86% of respondents said they used Facebook as a marketing tactic, only 55% mentioned advertising on Facebook. Moreover, nearly 88% said they would be present in the network with content and without any advertising.

From the budgeting perspective, things aren’t going great either. Almost 50% of the respondents stated their budgets for social media marketing are of less than 10% of overall marketing budgets. Yet everyone predicts things will change in the future, as 77% expect to have increased digital marketing budgets in the next year, and 73% said they expect to have a bigger social media advertising budget for the same period.

Even if so many marketers expect increased social media advertising budgets, only 56.6% said they thought their Facebook advertising budget would increase as well. In fact, 40% of them think the budgets for this particular network will remain the same.

The conclusion is simple: while Facebook is a must for most marketers, they also believe their efforts should be content-focused and not necessarily advertising driven. Yet calculating ROI and comparing it against result analyses for competing social networks is still quite a blur. Of course, all of these conclusions are relevant for marketers that answered Ad Age’s survey only, but an educated guess makes me believe the conclusions can be expanded to a larger section of marketing professionals.

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