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Ad execs say Facebook is the most effective for social advertising

After years of testing and investing, the clear winner for social media marketing is Facebook, but where do the other platforms rank?

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Social media advertising has a long way to go

After much lamenting over the not-so-slow death of organic reach on Facebook, many marketers have now turned to paid ads across all social channels to support their marketing efforts. According to a recent eMarketer report that asked ad executives to grade social ad platforms across a number of categories, including ROI, targeting, analytics, and creative capabilities, social media advertising received an overall B grade.

Of all the social channels graded, Facebook scored the highest for driving ROI with a B+ grade. As the social media channel that has caused marketers the most headaches over the last several years, it seems Facebook is making up for it by providing advertisers with what eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson called “an extremely sophisticated targeted advertising platform.”

Evaluating the “Emerging Three” platforms

Among what eMarketer classified as the “Emerging Three,” which included Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat, Pinterest was the clear winner for driving ROI, receiving a B grade. This can be largely attributed to the fact that Pinterest’s business model works exceptionally well for ecommerce businesses looking to promote their products in a visually appealing way and elicits high purchase intent from its users.

Other interesting nuggets from the study show that both Facebook and YouTube received a B+ rating for the effectiveness of their video ads. Because Facebook videos perform best when kept short and sweet and YouTube videos benefit from being a bit longer and more details, each network is thriving by supporting the different video needs of marketers. Twitter, on the other hand, scored lower with their video ads, which appears to fall in line with questions as to whether or not users want to see videos in their Twitter feeds.

One platform has high engagement but low ROI. Huh?

It should also shock no one that Instagram scored the highest for creativity, brand awareness, and engagement. What is interesting, however, is that its ad platform scored lower for things like driving ROI and measurement. With a parent company like Facebook, it’s surprising that Instagram’s ad platform was unable to nail these aspects right out of the gate.

While social advertising received a good grade overall, there are clearly some areas that could benefit from upgrades. The main area the executives polled wanted to see improvement was measurement, with Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Snapchat joining Instagram in getting lower marks in this area.

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While marketers will always remember the golden era of organic reach as the good old days of social media marketing, the capabilities of social ads go a long way toward softening those feelings of nostalgia.


Rebecca Hansen is a content strategist with a background in digital marketing who loves helping companies create engaging content. She also runs the lifestyle website Salt City Style and firmly believes that there’s nothing that good food, good wine, and good friends can’t fix.

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  1. Pingback: State AG Launches Inquiry into Advertising of Internet Speeds | Ideas4Rent Marketing

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