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A recent blog by Forrester claims Facebook is letting marketers down, but exhibits an astounding lack of understanding of the ways in which Facebook presence benefits brands.

Nate Elliott of Forrester writes, “First, your company focuses too little on the thing marketers want most: driving genuine engagement between companies and their customers…Everyone who clicks the like button on a brand’s Facebook page volunteers to receive that brand’s messages — but on average, you only show each brand’s posts to 16% of its fans.

Second, your company isn’t good enough at the pure advertising business onto which you’ve shifted your focus…”

Let’s take the point that Facebook shows each post to only 16% of fans.  ONLY? Starbucks has 35MM fans.  If they provide only 1 news story each day, that amounts to 168 MILLION “free” impressions each and every month which are targeted to remind users that they like Starbucks and to go there, and which reinforce brand beliefs. This ties into my recent blog that makes the case for the importance of this reinforcement as those who like and even prefer a brand buy it far less that 100% of the time.  In other words, updates in the newsfeed of fans are highly targeted messages towards “easy to win” purchases.

As to the claim that “Facebook isn’t good enough at pure advertising”…this is just a potshot from Forrester that is not based on referencing experiments which often do, in fact, prove the sales lift from Facebook advertising. Facebook gives you a window into the values and lifestyles of users that you could not get otherwise and then allows you to target advertising based on this.  In addition, Facebook is the first major digital player to present a credible way of cracking the code on mobile advertising, one of the issues that keep marketers up at night. When the investor marketplace realized this, Facebook stock started rising and has doubled from its low.

More evidence that Facebook provides marketing value comes from the analysis of Compete data I conducted last year which used a pre-post design approach to show the lift in website visitation as a function of becoming a fan of the brand on Facebook. Finally, two marketing mix modeling exercises I was involved last year proved lift as a function of Facebook activity.

Finally, the pure research aspects of the analysis are suspect.  To make a big deal about a couple of tens of a point difference in a mean score, with no statement of statistical significance is quite irresponsible.

Forrester is a highly respected and influential consulting firm. This blog has the Forrester name on it and so the organization needs to be called on this.

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One Response to “Sorry Forrester but Facebook DOES benefit marketers”

  1. […] Sorry Forrester but Facebook DOES benefit marketers – Joel Rubinson argues a recent Forrester blog post minimizing the value of Facebook advertising doesn’t hold up to examination. […]