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Facebook has made a big push to enhance its advertising opportunities by rolling out both mobile ads and the Facebook Exchange (FBX) ad-buying platform—two of the social giant’s most high-profile efforts to increase ad revenue. Now that both mobile ads and Facebook Exchange (FBX) have been around for a little while, marketers are beginning to assess their efficacy.
When it comes to Facebook ads on mobile vs. desktop, the results seem to be moving in mobile’s favor. In a September 2013 survey by RBC Capital Markets and Advertising Age, 35% of US marketers found the return on investment (ROI) from mobile at least somewhat greater than from desktop. That’s compared to a lesser 27% who rated desktop’s ROI as better. The remaining 38% of respondents saw mobile and desktop Facebook ads as offering about the same ROI.
While mobile Facebook ads are intended to reach the fast-rising share of social users who access via mobile, the rollout of FBX was the company’s effort to help advertisers capitalize on the targeting potential of Facebook, by allowing advertisers to serve ads based on users’ web-browsing behavior. Although FBX isn’t widespread yet—the study found 18% of marketers had used the platform in September—advertisers who have purchased through FBX seem reasonably happy with the results.
The number of respondents who said FBX was very effective for their ad campaigns rose from 11% in January 2013 to 20% in September 2013. In total, 87% found FBX at least somewhat effective as of September.
One certain effect of Facebook’s efforts to improve its value proposition has been to bring more advertisers into the fold. The RBC Capital/Advertising Age study found that in September, 74% of marketers reported buying ads on Facebook, vs. 55% in July 2012.
While more may be buying ads on the site, however, the number of marketers using Facebook for outreach—though not necessarily advertising—has held relatively steady, even declining slightly. Over the same period of study, the percentage of respondents using Facebook as a marketing tactic dipped from 86% to 83%.
Certainly a drop in marketer use is less than ideal for Facebook, but whatever adjustments marketers may be making to their marketing on the social platform—perhaps pulling back if they find themselves overextended, or the site less than ideal for their purposes—the paid side of the Facebook equation is still thriving. Fifty-six percent of marketers expected to increase their Facebook ad budgets in the next year.
eMarketer estimates that this year US Facebook ad revenue will be just shy of $3 billion. Next year, for the first time, more than half of US ad revenues on the site will come from mobile.
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