Do Facebook campaigns work?

Tue 5 June 2012 14:20, Tamara Yadvichuk

Do Facebook campaigns work?

A recent poll by Reuters revealed some alarming data about Facebook advertising, claiming that “four out of five Facebook users have never bought a product or service as a result of advertising or comments on the social network site”.

To make it even more disturbing, here are a few more findings: 

  • 34% of the Facebook users surveyed spend less time using the social network than they did half a year ago
  • Growing number of people who access Facebook on their smartphone means that possibilities to advertise to those people are becoming less diverse because of the limitations of Facebook’s mobile version

Issues like these have raised concerns about the effectiveness of advertising on the world’s #1 social network. Analyst from eMarketer research firm Debra Williamson was quoted by Reuters to say: ”Facebook has work to do in terms of making its advertising more effective and more relevant to people”. Some companies have already made changes in their maketing: General Motors, for example, last month chose to cut their Facebook ad budget and switch to other means of marketing.

Facebook successes

There’re plenty of examples of successful Facebook campaigns which brought profits to advertisers and satisfaction to customers: just consider the campaign by Nutella which caused a 15% increase in sales, or Applebee's restaurants’ campaign with ROI of 300%. What didn’t work for General Motors worked for these brands very well – with the right strategy and execution, of course. And after all, Facebook has an audience of 900 million users which is hard to ignore for any brand that would like to engage more customers.


Measuring results

The effect of any online advertising, including ads on Facebook, is easier to measure than the influence of “offline” ads, because on the web it’s relatively simple track how many people saw the ad, clicked on it, were brought to the website and bought the advertised product. But what happens if after seeing the ad the person goes to a brick store and buys the product there?

With research which uses polls and surveys things are even more difficult: when people are asked whether they have recently made a decision to buy something based on an ad or a comment on Facebook, they may say “no” simply because they don’t remember the comment itself – yet they’ve got a certain impression about the brand which may eventually lead them to trying its product. So, as for the alarming statements in the beginning of this article, in my opinion concluding that 4 out of 5 users aren’t influenced by ads or comments on Facebook poses more questions than answers.

For more about the way our perception works, watch this controversial, – and IMHO slightly creepy, – experiment (or trick?) conducted by Derren Brown who attempted to show the potential of subliminal advertising. Enjoy – and share your thoughts with us in the comments! 

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