Corporate Eye

Marketers Buy Facebook Ads for Brand Awareness, Not Leads

facebook adsThe majority of marketers don’t invest in Facebook advertising to generate likes, gather leads, or make sales. According to a survey of Ad Age subscribers by Ad Age and Citigroup, most marketers buy Facebook ads to raise brand awareness and sentiment. In other words, marketers still haven’t figured out how to use the Facebook audience to drive advertising return on investment.

With that said, Facebook (and most social media marketing) is first and foremost a powerful brand building tool, so the fact that most marketers are using Facebook advertising for that purpose isn’t a problem. However, leadership will only allow so much money to be invested in raising brand awareness before they’ll pull the plug.

It’s an unfortunate reality that marketers face every day. There simply isn’t a line on the corporate balance sheet for brand equity. Marketers know how imperative brand building is to drive awareness, recognition, sales, loyalty, and advocacy, but it’s hard to tie growing brand equity to the hard numbers that leadership demands.

In other words, marketers continue to try to tie hard metrics to social media marketing. We’re getting closer to being able to do it, but that doesn’t mean the focus on brand-building should drop down on the list of priorities.

According to the Ad Age study, marketers identify the following as their primary goals for Facebook ads:

  1. Build awareness and sentiment for a brand = 45.9%
  2. Drive traffic to a website = 17.6%
  3. Build fans or likes = 12.1%
  4. Stay in touch with customers = 8.9%
  5. Generate sales leads = 8.4%
  6. Social commerce = 2.0%

As the above results reveal, there are still huge opportunities being missed by marketers to leverage Facebook to not only build a brand but also drive word-of-mouth marketing and sales. Of course, Facebook advertising isn’t necessarily the best way to meet all of a marketer’s branding goals, so the low numbers found in this study don’t necessarily mean that marketers aren’t adequately targeting and connecting with the site’s audience.

In fact, it could be argued that Facebook ads are one of the worst ways to connect with consumers. Suffice it to say, Facebook advertising leaves a lot to be desired from a marketer’s perspective. Only time will tell if Facebook can improve its advertising offerings to brands.

What do you think? Leave a comment and share your thoughts on Facebook advertising.

Image: Franco Bouly

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.