Few Social Media Advertisers Using Advanced Targeting

May 14, 2013

This article is included in these additional categories:

Data-driven | Digital | Personalization | Social Media

Kenshoo-Most-Popular-Social-Ad-Targeting-Types-May2013Just 35% of advertisers target many small, specific audiences when buying ads or paying to promote content on social media properties, according to [download page] a study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Kenshoo Social. The study reveals that the most common practice among these professionals (who spend upwards of $100,000 a year on social advertising) is rotating through multiple creatives (60%). Even when using targeting, paid social media advertisers are using more basic types, according to the study.

Asked what types of targeting they regularly use when buying ads or paying to promote content on social networks, microblogs, or business-focused social networks, respondents were most likely to cite demographic (50%) and geographic (43%) targeting on social networks. But despite the variety of more advanced options available, just 37% said they target social networking users based on their actions, and only one-third target friends of their social networking fans (33%).

A study released last year by Social Fresh similarly found that most Facebook advertisers were targeting users on the basis of demographic and geographic criteria, but fewer were targeting friends of connections.

A failure to target audiences more effectively may be why more than one-third of the Kenshoo study respondents said they were unsatisfied with their results. Among those who are satisfied with their results, the study reveals that:

  • paid social ads are delivering most as purchase drivers; and
  • paid promoted content is doing the best job for advertisers in creating brand awareness.

Overall, while more respondents are using organic tactics on social networks (73% creating brand pages) than buying ads (56%) or paying to promote content (51%), those who are satisfied with their paid advertising were more likely than the overall sample to report paying to promote content or buy ads, which the researchers conclude means that “generally, social advertisers get what they paid for.”

About the Data: In its study, Forrester interviewed 105 large social advertisers (e.g., social media and advertising professionals whose companies spend more than $100,000 per year on social media ads) in the US. Respondents were offered a cash incentive as a thank you for time spent on the survey. The study began in February 2013 and was completed in that same month.

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