Facebook Makes the Grade: Social Site Gets A, But Room for Improvement for All Social Networks

Facebook Makes the Grade: Social Site Gets A, But Room for Improvement for All Social NetworksWhen eMarketer asked executives from 29 companies (including advertising agencies and client-side marketers) to grade the “Big Three” social sites — Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter — and the “Emerging Three” — Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat — it learned quite a bit.

The execs were recently asked to rate the companies in a range of categories from creative capabilities and ad targeting to measurement and ROI.

The findings are contained in eMarketer’s new report, “Social Advertising Effectiveness Scorecard: Industry Execs Grade the Leading Platforms.”

Interestingly, the executives only agreed on one A grade, which it gave to Facebook for its ad targeting capabilities.

Otherwise, the message is: there’s definitely room for improvement.

“Executives gave paid social media advertising an average grade of B,” according to eMarketer. “When it comes to ROI, Facebook and Pinterest received the highest grades, with Facebook earning a B+ and Pinterest earning a B.”

“The executives we interviewed said one of the key strengths of paid social media advertising is its targeting capabilities,” said eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson. “Marketers consider Facebook an extremely sophisticated targeted advertising platform, while Pinterest benefits from its strong connections with ecommerce and purchase intent.”

Other findings?

LinkedIn’s highest grade came for ad targeting, for which it earned a B; advertisers gave it grades ranging from B- to C in other categories.

Twitter scored best in creative, ad targeting, measurement, analytics, building brand awareness, and engagement and driving actions — all graded B. It scored slightly lower for driving sales and for ROI.

“Among the “Emerging Three” social ad properties (Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat), Instagram received high grades in creative and building brand awareness and engagement,” according to eMarketer. “However, the newness of its ad platform led to lower grades for things like measurement, driving actions, and ROI.”

Snapchat, while deemed creative, received grades that were among the lowest of the sites rated.