Facebook seems poised to snatch some good publicity ahead of its Q2 2012 earnings report from the disclosure in the Wall Street Journal that the company is in talks to get General Motors back as an advertising client.But buried in the same report is a statement attributed to Facebook’s “head of measurement and insight,” Brad Smallwood, that says ad campaigns running on Facebook can take up to a year to see results.
That’s a ludicrously long time for a advertisers to wait to see a return on their investment. And ads bought on Facebook reach burnout—the time it takes for them to be repeatedly exposed to the target market to the point they’re no longer effective—in just 72 hours.
“It is a myth that Facebook advertising doesn’t work,” said Brad Smallwood, head of measurement and insight at Facebook in a June interview.
Behind the scenes Mr. Smallwood’s group started working with measurement teams at big brands to help them track the effectiveness of Facebook campaigns. “Buried deep within these companies are measurement teams,” said Mr. Smallwood. “The first step is finding those people and saying, ‘What techniques do you use?'” Mr. Smallwood said it takes about a year to get the results of one campaign.
UPDATE: A Facebook spokesperson told us that Smallwood was talking in the context of a large company monitoring many promotions in many media over the course of one year.
EARLIER: GM left Facebook after the social network declined to let it run intrusive homepage takeover ads with its $10 million budget. GM had complained that its regular ads don’t work. (Facebook had begged the company to utilise more of its free media opportunities.)
Although GM and Facebook had some sort of rapprochement when chief marketing officer Joel Ewanick and Facebook’s ad sales chief Carolyn Everson talked at the Cannes Lions festival last month, Smallwood’s statements seem to confirm GM’s central complaint.
After all, how can Facebook claim its ads are effective if the only way to measure their effectiveness is with a “measurement team” that uses the right “techniques,” and results only show up a year later?
Disclosure: The author owns 30 shares of Facebook stock.
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