Facebook’s recent focus on direct-response advertising is leaving fewer options for marketers with branding goals, according to a new eMarketer report, “Facebook Advertising: Next Steps for Brand Advertisers.”
Not so long ago, the common belief was that Facebook—and social media in general—would be best suited for building awareness and engagement, not for influencing conversion or sales. However, the majority of Facebook’s most recent ad initiatives are aimed at marketers with performance goals, while the company has de-emphasized ads aimed at driving social interaction and engagement, a concept that brought many brand advertisers onto the platform.
“Companies still see Facebook as a platform for social brand interactions, but that’s no longer the way Facebook is presenting itself,” said Debra Aho Williamson, principal analyst of social media at eMarketer. “Facebook has moved on, but many brands are still marketing there the same way they did two years ago.”
Facebook accounts for a growing share of digital ad spending, and eMarketer expects the company’s worldwide advertising revenues to increase 56.4% in 2014 to reach $10.93 billion. That figure represents a 7.8% market share of global digital ad spending, increasing from a 5.8% share in 2013 and 4.1% in 2012. eMarketer estimates that digital ad spending worldwide will reach $140.15 billion this year, growing 16.74% over 2013.
Facebook does not publicly break down its ad revenues along branding/direct-response lines. But based on how the company’s business has evolved, and comments company executives have made, it is likely that direct response represents a majority of ad revenues.