Rethinking Facebook Advertising – New Survey Results Raise a Challenge for Facebook

Facebook is a unique global phenomenon.  Other than our email and mobile phones there are few other places in our digital life that we engage with as frequently as Facebook. 58% of Facebook users are updating several times per day. Facebook fills a basic human need for connecting and communicating. Those of us in New Media need to rethink how we leverage the uniqueness of Facebook and not just treat it as yet another outlet for banner ads.

In a recent survey of New Media Professionals conducted by DigiCareers (  some interesting findings emerged. One in particular was the trend towards media professionals trying Facebook advertising and not  finding the medium effective and deciding not to return to Facebook for current campaigns. I believe Facebook will work on improving their ad targeting capabilities and over time will work through these issues but for the short term with all of the negative IPO backlash in the press they need to make this a priority. If they can regain the confidence of the New Media buyers than they will quiet the storm of bad press.

New Media Professionals – Rethink the Banner

I believe the burden does not fall entirely on Facebook. As those of us in online advertising know, Banner ads are not a particularly effective media with less than 1% click the rates. So my challenge is to those of us in the industry to look at Facebook as a unique global Social Community and find new ways to engage consumers. Facebook should not just be seen as another media outlet for banner ads. Facebook is different and should be treated approached in new ways that leverage the unique elements of Facebook.  I also believe that the Banner ads themselves should be more engaging and be viewed as a content distribution and transaction zone on a site rather than as simply a click-thru traffic mechanism. With todays advances it is possible to deliver content in and through a banner ad and even conduct full eCommerce transactions right from within the banner. So instead of a being just an ad. The banner should become a welcome extension of the  site or outlet that it is a part of.

Facebook Survey Results

With the recent attention by the media and Industry participants on Facebook, DigiCareers wanted to understand the behaviors, attitudes, and opinions regarding this popular website and business. Below is a summary based upon the opinions of more than 300 of your New Media colleagues.

The survey was conducted between May 17 and 21, 2012. The collected data possess an aggregate data tolerance of +/- 5.6%.

More than 92% of all New Media Professionals currently use Facebook. Among users, more than one-half (58%) access Facebook multiple times per day with nearly three-quarters (71%) accessing Facebook daily and 95% accessing it at least weekly.

Facebook Usage

Attitudes Toward Facebook
More than three-quarters (77%) of participants believe Facebook meets a consumer or fundamental human need—ability for individuals to communicate with each other. Nearly a similar percentage of New Media Professionals believe Facebook’s advertising is targeted (71%), and the company provides innovative services (70%).

However, the effectiveness of advertising on Facebook remains a major question in the minds of New Media Professionals. Less than one-half (49%) believe Facebook will be a major force in online advertising and less than one-quarter (23%) believe advertising on Facebook is currently effective. Conversely, however, only one in four (25%) New Media Professionals believe Facebook is a fad.

Facebook Attitudes

Advertising on Facebook
Currently, 38% of New Media Professionals have or are currently conducting an advertising campaign on Facebook for their business or their customers’ business. Of those, 90% of the campaigns are consumer oriented (B2C), with the balance focusing upon business-to-business (B2B) activity.

Surprisingly, one-half (50%) of all advertisers stated they either concluded a campaign or decided not to advertise on Facebook based upon the results of a prior campaign on Facebook. This raises some issues for Facebook’s future economic success.

Facebook Advertising Usage

Among those advertising on Facebook, nearly one-half (47%) stated they are likely to recommend advertising on Facebook to a business or colleague.

Facebook Referral Intent

Barriers to Advertising on Facebook
Among the 62% of New Media Professionals who have never conducted a campaign on Facebook, the perception regarding the limited efficacy is the largest barrier (20%). Surprisingly despite Facebook’s self-service offerings, 17% stated they have not yet had the opportunity to initiate a campaign.

Facebook Advertising Barriers

Key Differentiators
Among all survey participants, the sheer size of Facebook’s audience is identified as a key differentiator from other online advertising venues (55%) followed by the ability to target specific audiences (51%).

While audience engagement levels were cited by more than one-third (34%) of all New Media Professionals, it is likely this engagement level is oriented toward friends, family, and colleagues rather than advertisers.

Facebook Differentiators

Based upon advertising performance (or the perception thereof), Facebook clearly has a challenge and corresponding opportunity.

Initial Public Offering
Nearly an equal number of New Media Professionals stated they would purchase shares in Facebook’s Initial Public Offering if they were presented the opportunity. More importantly, an equal number believe Facebook’s stock price will increase (38%) or decrease (37%) from the IPO price within six months.

Facebook IPO

Participant Demographics
As New Media Professionals have a unique perspective regarding Facebook, below are characteristics of those who participated in the survey.

Facebook Survey Demographics

Facebook Survey Participant Industry

Additional Survey Results
Thanks again to all who took the time to share their thoughts and opinions in this survey. Don’t forget to review our prior survey results, including:

Posted by Warren Raisch | June 2, 2012

Categories: Uncategorized

5 thoughts on “Rethinking Facebook Advertising – New Survey Results Raise a Challenge for Facebook

  1. Great conversation starter Warren! I agree with your points about integrating banner ads on FB; for me it’s like putting a square peg in a round hole. FB had and still does have the opportunity to persuade the ad industry, especially ad agencies to come up with new, revolutionary ad formats.

    It’s a head-scratcher for me to think that half way through 2012, as advertisers we are confined on Facebook to a tiny thumbnail image, a short headline and a very short description – that’s all folks.

    Even an industry dinosaur like AOL as stepped up recently in collaboration with industry leaders to develop richer ad formats.

    As an advertising practitioner, it’s also puzzling to me that with Facebook’s access to endless dollars and resources, that their advertising platform, tools and reporting features are sub par compared to most other ad platforms. Any one who has used Facebook’s native ad management tools understands the difficulty in managing large campaigns at scale. While there are plenty of emerging 3rd party management platforms available, which I also use, my point is addressing the lack of innovation desired by advertisers.

    Again, if Facebook wants to revolutionize the ad industry and become a viable and effective vehicle for advertisers it needs to come out swinging and deliver real innovation. Currently, the approach seems to be focused on piecing together features in an ad-hoc fashion that should have been launched as part of a more holistic strategy.

    If Facebook can deliver innovative new ad formats and a truly robust ad delivery and management platform to advertisers in the very new future it just may have an opportunity to change the perceptions of Advertising and Marketing Professionals.

    1. Thanks Joe – Great points. I agree that the opportunity for Facebook to redefine the Social advertising space is prime. My feeling is that the future of advertising is to make the advertising relevant and engaging content.

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