Ad Execs Give Facebook Highest Grades For Social Ad Effectiveness - eMarketer
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Ad Execs Give Facebook Highest Grades For Social Ad Effectiveness

But there's room for improvement among all social networks

Paid advertising on social media properties is delivering a solid return on investment, according to marketers. In eMarketer's new report, “Social Advertising Effectiveness Scorecard: Industry Execs Grade the Leading Platforms,” executives gave paid social media advertising an average grade of B. When it comes to ROI, Facebook and Pinterest received the highest grades, with Facebook earning a B+ and Pinterest earning a B.

Social Ad Effectiveness for Driving ROI According to US Brand and Agency Executives, by Platform, Sep 2015 (scoring based on A+ through F scale)

“The executives we interviewed said one of the key strengths of paid social media advertising is its targeting capabilities,” said eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson. “Marketers consider Facebook an extremely sophisticated targeted advertising platform, while Pinterest benefits from its strong connections with ecommerce and purchase intent.”

eMarketer asked executives from 29 companies to grade the “Big Three” social properties—Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter—and the “Emerging Three”—Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat—in a range of categories, including creative capabilities, ad targeting, measurement and ROI. Although paid social media advertising overall earned an average grade of B, executives said there was still work to be done in several areas. Measurement was one such area; executives told eMarketer that their ability to gauge effectiveness has improved, but they want even better tools to show the impact of social media advertising on their bottom line.

Social Ad Targeting Effectiveness According to US Brand and Agency Executives, by Platform, Sep 2015 (scoring based on A+ through F scale)

Another indication that more improvement is necessary comes from the fact that the executives only agreed on one A grade—to Facebook, for its ad targeting capabilities.

Other highlights from the report:

  • LinkedIn's highest grade came for ad targeting, for which it earned a B; advertisers gave it grades ranging from B- to C in other categories.
  • Twitter performed strongly in creative, ad targeting, measurement and analytics, building brand awareness and engagement and driving actions, all of which earned a B. It scored slightly lower for driving sales and for ROI.
  • Among the “Emerging Three” social ad properties (Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat), Instagram received high grades in creative and building brand awareness and engagement. However, the newness of its ad platform led to lower grades for things like measurement, driving actions and ROI.
  • Executives gave B grades to Pinterest in the majority of categories; only measurement and ad targeting fell into the C range.
  • Snapchat had strong marks for creative capabilities and building brand awareness, but the newness of its ad platform led to grades for the rest of the categories that were among the lowest of the properties studied.

Also noteworthy is the video ad category. Facebook’s entry into video advertising has created new opportunities for marketers, leading some to predict it could take ad dollars away from YouTube. However, eMarketer’s research suggests otherwise. Executives gave an average grade of B+ to both Facebook and YouTube in terms of video ad effectiveness, explaining that each platform fulfills a different video need. Meanwhile, Twitter’s video ad capabilities earned a B-, amid questions about whether consumers want to watch video there.

About this report:

eMarketer asked executives from 29 companies (including advertising agencies and client-side marketers) to grade the “Big Three” social properties—Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter—and the “Emerging Three”—Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat—in a range of categories, including creative capabilities, ad targeting, measurement and ROI. We converted the letter grades to numbers and calculated an average grade for each area. Since the “Big Three” have been in the ad business longer, we separated them from the “Emerging Three” when we tabulated the results.

eMarketer corporate subscription clients can view the full report here.

Get more on this topic with the full eMarketer report, “Social Advertising Effectiveness Scorecard: Industry Execs Grade the Leading Platforms.”

eMarketer releases over 200 analyst reports per year, which are only available to eMarketer corporate subscribers.

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