Facebook released first quarter financial information and Wall Street is buzzing. The company nearly tripled profit on a 72% increase in revenue in its first quarter, with profits increasing to $642 million from $219 million a year earlier. Its revenue climbed to $2.5 billion, up from $1.46 billion in the same period last year. Seems like just two years ago the company was generating losses. Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said in an interview, "What has really changed for us in the past year or two is that we are now a large and increasingly important part of what you have to do if you're running a business."
This financial information released by Facebook appears to fall in line with the recently released Adobe Q1 Social Intelligence Report released last Monday. Adobe’s Report focuses on the three legs of the stool written about often in this blog and examines data trends for: 1) Paid 2) Earned and 3) Owned digital media. This report is based on aggregated and anonymous data from retail, media, entertainment and travel sites, and was gleaned from data Adobe amassed through its Adobe Marketing Cloud Solutions: Adobe Media Optimizer, Adobe Analytics, and Adobe Social. Joe Martin, Senior Analyst, Adobe Digital Index told me the Digital Index seeks to put out regular insights on different industries - everywhere that Adobe's data gives it access to and Adobe is “Capturing every 6 out of 10 dollars spent online.” The Q1 analysis is based on:
Four key findings can be pulled from the extensive work that went into this report.
In Paid Social, it was interesting to see Facebook ad click through rates are up 20% quarter over quarter. This is surprising because Q4 is usually so busy because of the holiday season. Martin commented that “Either marketers are adding more to their media mix or more brands are jumping on and trying out Facebook ads and they’re being rewarded with higher click through rates while the cost per click rates dropped.”
Martin also commented that social doesn’t always get the attribution it’s entitled to because people don’t always make a purchase right away. It’s often the case that a consumer sees a Facebook ad, clicks on it, then does his / her research and purchases the product a day or two later by going directly to the site where the product is located instead of clicking through the ad again.
Social referred most traffic to Media and Entertainment sites in Q1 (7.9%). Social referred traffic to retail was down 25% YoY. LinkedIn drove 15% of social traffic to B2B high-tech sites; second only to FB (52%). Facebook produced 75% of traffic to retail sites (up 13% QoQ, 2% YoY), while Pinterest referred traffic to retail sites down 56% QoQ (up 59% YoY).
Strong growth for link, video posts:
Casual Friday’s are becoming “Social Media Fridays.” Facebook continues to dominate the social realm, but each social site has a unique audience and route that can lead to more loyal fans, brand awareness, and eventual revenue.
So, what should business owners take away from Adobe’s Q1 Report?
Mr. Martin said the data indicated “Facebook continues to improve their way of targeting ads and adding social context to ads. And, while Facebook is competing with LinkedIn in the B2B market, there is definitely space for both.” He also indicated there’s plenty of room for the other social networks (Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) to thrive. The report concludes:
Social networks will continue to make changes to entice marketers to invest in brand pages, advertising, and overall social strategies. To get the most out of social media investments, marketers will need to adapt to frequent algorithm changes and should look to make more pinpointed investments into targeting and management of social media ad and post spends.
The message continues to be what we are telling our clients and prospects. Business owners need an online marketing strategy and it needs to include inbound and social media marketing.