Sorry for using the word beef. 

Lots of people had a beef with Google for years and many still do. The company continued to make money for its advertisers. SEOs had a begrudging respect for the platform that was their entire world. It was sort of a joke to anyone looking in from outside. 

Although it doesn’t provide advertisers such a neat way to capitalise on intent, I get the feeling that Facebook is incredibly good value for reaching audiences.

That’s not based on fact, merely because I know nothing guarantees a backlash like wild success. QED.

Just look at Facebook’s revenue from advertising.

facebook revenue

Anyway, I thought I’d do some digging around to represent both sides of the Facebook argument.

On the one side, advertisers that are reaching targeted audiences, finding local users who might download an app, promoting content and driving traffic to their websites. On the other, those that believe Facebook isn’t all that. 

Then you can make up your own mind. 

In favour of Facebook

Active user base

Facebook has the most active user base of the major social networks. A GWI Social report showed that in the second half of 2013, 95% of Facebook users logged in at least once a week. 

social network usage 

Clicks and CTR are up

Kenshoo has reported big increases in impressions, clicks and CTR from Q3 2013 to Q4. Impressions and clicks are expected to be up during the busy holiday quarter, but CTR and CPC still look promising.

facebook ads click through 

Adobe reports similar goodness for Q1 2014 (year on year).

adobe social

Facebook refers more traffic than any social network

Shareaholic reported referral traffic from social networks to 200,000 sites in the last months of 2013 and Facebook comprehensively topped the list.

social referral

Mobile app ads are flying 

Mobile App Ads are estimated to have generated more than 145m downloads in 2013.

What’s more, deep linking allows Facebook advertisers to engage users that have already downloaded an app, to keep engagement up.

facebook mobile app ads

Summer lovin’

Facebook showed it can deliver clicks in the summer months, traditionally a time when media formats such as TV find it more difficult to perform for advertisers. 

facebook seasonality 

Jon Myers of Marin hints that Facebook ads and advertisers are getting better at targeting users due to the fact that ad impressions decreased in 2013 but clicks and CTR increased. 

facebook seasonality

Time spent in app

Facebook is dominating mobile app usage, as this chart from Flurry shows. 

time in app

Plus Gary Vaynerchuk is a massive fan.

And the beef?

Well, it’s the other side of the same coin. As the platform succeeds with advertising, it becomes harder to game it without paying.

Organic posts don’t stretch as far (although the top 1% of pages still reach 82% of their audience). 

Longer term, we’ll have to keep an eye on usage of the network. Google isn’t about to be usurped by DuckDuckGo, whereas new social networks are pulling active users from Facebook (which fell by 3% in the second half of 2013).

Let me know what camp you’re in.