Facebook marketing? Don't bother, says new report
Facebook is doing more to disconnect than connect brands to their customers, according to a damning new report on the social media site, with professionals ranking it last in a list of successful marketing tactics.
Facebook has failed to revolutionize marketing with social advertising on its site, according to Nate Elliott, the vice president and principal analyst at research firm Forrester.
"Facebook hasn't delivered on its promise and in fact has quietly become reliant on the traditional advertising models it once lampooned," he said in a report released on Monday.
With 1.16 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the most popular social networking site in the world, followed by Twitter and MySpace. Facebook reported $1.60 billion in total advertising revenue for the second quarter of 2013.
The site has enabled businesses to set up their own branded pages in an attempt to promote their services, but Elliott says that it has done little in the past 18 months to improve its branded page format or the tools marketers use to manage and measure those pages. He added that it no longer supports social marketing and he doesn't believe Facebook will make the changes needed to win back marketers' hearts. In fact, it does not even see the need for change, he argued.
"Its enormous revenues have blinded it to marketers' growing dissatisfaction. But if it doesn't change, the results will be dire," Elliott said.
Survey results from Forrester make for dismal reading for Facebook when 395 marketers from the U.S., the U.K. and Canada were asked how satisfied they were with the business value they get from 13 different online marketing sites and tactics. Facebook came last behind the likes of Twitter, Google Plus, and YouTube. Out of the six largest online and social properties as marketing partners, Facebook once again fared poorly with just 51 percent of respondents saying they were satisfied - behind Google, LinkedIn, and Yahoo.
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"Everyone who clicks the 'like' button on a brand's Facebook page volunteers to receive that brand's messages — but on average, (Facebook) only shows each brand's posts to 16 percent of its fans," Elliott said in an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg, founder and chief executive officer of Facebook.
The social media site hit back at the claims saying that some of the conclusions in the report were "illogical" and "irresponsible".
"The reality is that Facebook advertising works," a spokesperson told CNBC. "That's why we have more than a million active advertisers...and, countless studies have demonstrated the significant return on investment marketers see from Facebook. Our promise is to continue to deliver positive results for marketers."
Christian Ward, a media and marketing editor at research and advisory firm Stylus, told CNBC that while Twitter and Google may offer more immediate impact for marketers, no other social platform has the potential to offer the kind of "razor sharp" targeted reach that Facebook does.
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"At Social Media Week in London last month, we heard how a user's personality can be predicted with 95 percent accuracy via his/her Facebook activity," he said.
"As this technology evolves, Facebook's viability for brand marketing will become obvious. But marketers need to understand that it takes time and investment to get the best out of it."
By CNBC.com's Matt Clinch. Follow him on Twitter @mattclinch81