US Social Media Network ad revenues are expected to surpass $3.90 billion in 2012 and a large portion of that money is going straight to Facebook.
New numbers from eMarketer show that Facebook will likely earn 72% of social media specific ad spending next year. That’s equal to 7.9% of total online ad spending.
Sounds good to me, but the Wall Street Journal says Facebook is still struggling. They point to a recent Ford Focus campaign that pulled in 43,000 “likes.” Ford spent more than $95 million to advertise their new car, but very little of it went to Facebook.
To add insult to injury, Ford turned down a suggested sponsored stories buy on Facebook, then paid Yahoo and Microsoft to send traffic to the Facebook page. According to WSJ, Ford did eventually spring for an ad but stopped it long before it stopped those on competing sites.
Ford’s biggest Facebook related expense? Probably paying the agency who created the campaign page and the videos that went viral.
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Right now, Facebook’s ad buyers are mostly small companies and websites. In order to lure in the big brands, they may have to start offering bigger spaces – like home page takeovers and ads that make a statement.
Then there’s the whole “free fan page” thing. Facebook says that free is just the start. That it’s a combination of free page with paid display ads that spell success. But what is success on Facebook?
Says Scott Kelly of Ford marketing,
“You can give them money, and they can give you Likes, but the question is, what is the value of those Likes?”
It’s a question we’re all still asking and one that is keeping big companies like Ford from dropping too many dollars on Facebook.
So which is it? Is Facebook’s ad revenue a win or a lose? Like all things Facebook, it’s kind of hard to say for sure.