Photo: Facebook / L’Oreal
Facebook gets $1 billion dollars per quarter in advertising revenue, but remarkably little is known about who its biggest clients are.Nielsen doesn’t measure Facebook adspend. Kantar doesn’t either.
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But with Business Insider’s Social Media ROI conference coming up in three days’ time, we thought it would be appropriate to find out who’s investing the most in Facebook’s paid media.
We asked internal sources at Facebook, as well as external executives at Facebook’s client companies, to tell us what they knew about Facebook’s top spenders. Our friends at ComScore also supplied us with some incredibly useful information about ad impressions served in social media. We also looked at previously published reports about ad spending on Facebook.
Combing that data together allowed us to rank the companies by dollars spent, for a period roughly covering the last 12 months.
Some of the results are surprising. Who knew, for instance, that cable TV company Turner probably spends more on Facebook ads than most other companies due to its heavy promotion of its channels, like CNN?
Others, less so. You can probably guess the No.1 biggest ad client of Facebook, if you think about it.
Our list has its flaws: Some key sources declined to cooperate with our survey, and we’ve doubtlessly missed some companies or gotten brand names ranked in the wrong order. Nonetheless, we’re confident that our ranking is the best available outside of Facebook vp/global marketing solutions Carolyn Everson’s office. (And you can email us if you have better information that could make this list more accurate.)
Stay tuned: On Thursday, when BI’s Social Media ROI conference kicks off, we’ll publish a ranking of the biggest ad spenders in all of social media, not just Facebook. (Disclosure: The author owns Facebook stock.)
30. FORD defended Facebook when General Motors pulled its $10 million ad budget before the Facebook IPO.
It tweeted, 'It's all about the execution. Our Facebook ads are effective when strategically combined with engaging content & innovation.'
Ford global sales and marketing vp Jim Farley told the Wall Street Journal this year he has deepened his use of Facebook: 'Someone who 'likes' you on Facebook is substantially more willing to advocate the brand.'
HSBC learned early that simply not being on Facebook can be a crisis management handicap when, in 2007, it was the target of a Facebook-based protest movement by British students angry that their interest-free overdrafts were being scrapped by the bank.
In 2011, Bud live-streamed the FA Cup final for fans on its Facebook page.
In 2010, Budweiser offered a free beer to people turning 22 on Facebook.
Here's a case study of Budweiser's Facebook activity around the World Cup.
26. VISA has had a robust Facebook ad budget since at least 2008, the year in which it spent $2 million on a small business promotion.
That year, the first 20,000 small businesses to sign up received $100 in free Facebook advertising.
Visa spent big on Facebook this summer for the Olympics, according to Ad Age:
'We threw down the gauntlet at an all-hands marketing meeting early on, that we will make this the most social games for us and for any other sponsor so far,' said Kevin Burke, global CMO for core products.
Visa then extended the challenge to its ad agencies, Omnicom Group's TBWA, Atmosphere Proximity and OMD. Later, Visa invited partners Facebook and Google to contribute ideas.
Previously, it did app promotions around the Super Bowl.
It did so with an effort targeting BMX and skateboarders, from 2011. In 2010, it broke its epic 'Write the Future' World Cup campaign on Facebook before the ads aired on TV.
Here's a video of Nike marketing execs explaining their logic for moving on Facebook before going to traditional media:
Each channel has a Facebook page, and each show on those channels has its own individual Facebook presence.
TV show fans tend to sound off on social networks, and Turner therefore cannot afford to be without a constant presence.
Citibank sponsors so many different things -- concerts, the arts, charities -- that its Facebook page is incredibly busy. It's also one of Citi's main CRM channels: Disgruntled customers get quick answers from the bank's social media staff.
Most famously, L'Oreal used Salesforce's Marketing Cloud (formerly Buddy Media) to give 5,000 salons access to the Buddy Media social marketing suite.
L'Oreal furnished content for all the locations, including how-to videos, an appointment-booking engine and info about L'Oréal products.
It reached approximately 1.7 million clients, according to Salesforce, with some salons seeing gross sales increases of more than $4,000.
Disney launched up to 10 Facebook games this year.
CEO Bob Iger said, 'We feel very good about it. It is not a huge business for us, it is one that we're going to continue to be in.'
The Disney corporation alone has more than 38 million fans and multiples of that across its 200 or more individual brands.
Facebook dedicated a team of marketing executives to the launch of Samsung's Galaxy III phone, according to the FT.
Samsung was also the first client to buy Facebook's logout page takeover. 65 million people saw the ads.
Brian Wallace, VP-strategic marketing for Samsung Mobile, said Samsung spends twice as much on maintaining its Facebook presence as it does on advertising, according to Ad Age.
Nestle has made some missteps in social media, such as when it got into a war with its critics on its own Facebook page, and when it accidentally used an image that looked like Pedobear to advertise Kit Kat.
But the company has 670K followers on Facebook, excluding separate pages for its brands. Its head of marketing and consumer communication, Tom Buday, is on Facebook's client council.
EBay has a partnership with Facebook which integrates Facebook's Open Graph global commerce platforms. It's intended to encourage developers to create eBay apps on Facebook that will generate more business for the auction site.
Verizon has done some huge fanning campaigns by offering free exclusive TV content via FIOS for Facebook fans only, such as this Green Day concert.
FIOS has also had a Facebook widget -- which TV watchers can call up and use on-screen -- for years.
Microsoft, of course, used to serve all Facebook's ads until the social network took control of its own ad serving.
The company continues to provide Facebook with search services, and historically it has had a search affiliate advertising agreement with Facebook.
One of its Facebook promotions made headlines earlier this year when it offered to send the performer Pitbull to the Walmart store that received the most likes from shoppers. The contest was hijacked by trolls, who liked Walmart's remote Kodiak, Alaska, store 70,000 times. Pitbull and Walmart honored the result anyway, and Pitbull bought some bear repellent (and enjoyed the headlines).
The consumer credit monitoring company uses its page to promote financial literacy and encourage saving, via chatty questions and quizzes.
Experian Marketing Services, meanwhile, is one of the earliest ad buying services on Facebook, and its Alchemy unit buys ads for other clients.
Experian's Techlightenment unit offers social media advertising, brand monitoring, polling, and social CRM services on Facebook. It has a partnership with AdKnowledge, whose Facebook ad buying unit AdParlor is a huge Facebook ad buyer.
4. PROCTER & GAMBLE thinks it can generate $500 million in sales from Facebook and other social media.
Famously, P&G began cutting its traditional media budget as a proportion of sales after CEO Bob McDonald told Wall Street he realised free viral exposure on Facebook was more efficient than than the brute-force buying of ratings points on TV.
Procter & Gamble said it expected to generate $500 million in sales from its social-media based Olympics push, much of it on Facebook. 30-four P&G brands sponsored 150 Olympic athletes, and the effort was tied around platforms on Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest.
In its IPO filings, Facebook said P&G staged a Facebook campaign around Secret deodorant for girls, which led to a 9% increase in Secret sales.
3. ELECTRONIC ARTS needs Facebook to help it with its historic shift from boxed products to online downloads.
EA spent $2.75 million advertising just one of its titles in 2012, Battlefield 3. According to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, EA saw a 440% return on its investment in sales.
EA has also gone after Zynga in a suit claiming the online Facebook game maker copied 'The Sims Social' to make its game, 'The Ville.' Clearly, there's a war for Facebook's gaming turf going on.
EA's revenues from online games have gone up 37% this year.
Fab's Facebook page has 224,000 Likes.
The company uses Facebook as one its CRM channels.
Virtually anyone who posts a question on Fab's page gets a personalised response.
1. ZYNGA, no surprise, is Facebook's biggest advertiser — its business is largely dependent on the social network for new players.
Zynga is on course to spend more than $200 million on sales and marketing this year, according to its SEC disclosures.
A huge part of that is 'player acquisition costs' -- ads on Facebook, basically.
Player acquisition costs are the fastest-rising part of Zynga's sales and marketing expenses (which include stock and staff salary expenses).
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