ANA Marketers Question ‘Likes,’ But 96% Use Facebook Channel

Social popularity metrics are losing fans on the client side, suggests a new survey of Association of National Advertisers members.

In its “Digital/Social Media Survey” of 224 client-side marketers, the ANA notes “Facebook ‘likes’ or Twitter ‘re-tweets’ fell to the bottom of the list” of preferred metrics, with just 30 percent and 39 percent of marketers, respectively, finding them useful. “Nevertheless, marketers are using these two metrics despite their apprehensions.”

This will not come as a surprise to social measurement specialists, who have long derided the fixation on fan and follower counts. Optimizing for engagement and other actions matters far more, they say. AdExchanger reached out to Neo@Ogilvy for additional comment. The below thoughts are from the agency’s Social Platforms Lead, Sean McCarthy:

“Successful tracking and measurement of social can’t truly be defined by one metric today. We look at success based on two pragmatic structures.

For campaign measurement we like to look beyond likes, and more at page engagement and the rate at which fans of a brand are interacting with published content. Their goal should be to double engagement rate, not likes. The same can be said for Twitter followers, although Twitter’s page level insights are not quite where FB’s are currently, so an exact proxy for engagement rate is a work in progress.

In general though, I’d say the trend on both platforms is paid placements becoming more native and integrated into the user experience. In 2012, Facebook has already explicitly stated that brands and advertisers should look at their paid tactics as an extension of their Timeline (i.e., Sponsored Stories), and has further advanced that notion with the ability to bid explicitly on News Feed placements. 

Twitter’s promoted products were already inherently more native than FB’s, as they are all either derived from published content (i.e., Tweets, Trends), or reside within a native module (i.e., Promoted Accounts in the “who to follow” module).

For effectiveness research, we like what Nielsen, ComScore and a few others are achieving around delivering advanced in research programs against these four effectiveness components: Reach, Relevance, Reaction, and ROI.  How to prioritize will depend on each client and their objectives, but its crucial for the program leads to know when and where these pieces must be prioritized.”

In additional findings from the study, ANA found social and mobile marketing are now central to the marketing mix, with 90 percent and 74 percent of marketers using them, respectively. Their use of both channels appears to have plateaued this year, however.

Here’s how ANA members are using individual platforms within each medium:

Social Networks / Social Media Mobile Platforms
Facebook – 96 percent Branded mobile apps – 70 percent
Twitter – 89 percent QR codes – 67 percent
LinkedIn – 49 percent Text ads – 53 percent
Pinterest – 33 percent Non-video ads – 41 percent
Other – 14 percent Video ads – 25 percent

Asked by the ANA to choose social / word-of-mouth metrics most in need of clarification, marketers voted “momentum effect” as the term most in need of definition (which is no guarantee they’d heard of it previously).  Others included “advocacy (value of brand advocates), velocity (activities such as posts, new fans, etc. over a period of time), and the value of online conversation.”

By Zach Rodgers 

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