Forrester Slams Facebook: Where They Missed the Mark

Posted on October 30th 2013

Forrester Slams Facebook: Where They Missed the Mark

ImageFacebook took a hit this week from one of the most influential, respected research organizations on the web. Forrester, a research and analysis information technology company, slammed Facebook’s marketing and advertising efforts with a scathing report on Facebook’s lack of advertising follow-through. As social media director at Quaintise, speaking strictly from the experience of managing many client Facebook marketing and advertising accounts, I think Facebook might be getting a bad rap.

 "Facebook is failing marketers."

That was the headline, the main point that Nate Elliot, Forrester's vice president, wrote in an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg. The letter goes on to say:

I know this statement sounds remarkable, perhaps even unbelievable. After all, you offer marketers access to the largest audience in media history and you know a remarkable amount about each of your users. As a result nearly every large company now markets on Facebook. Last year your company collected more than $4 billion in advertising revenues.

But while lots of marketers spend lots of money on Facebook today, relatively few find success. In August, Forrester surveyed 395 marketers and eBusiness executives at large companies across the US, Canada and the UK -- and these executives told us that Facebook creates less business value than any other digital marketing opportunity. 

Elliot does make some great points, which I whole-heartedly agree with:

The first being that Facebook focuses too little on the thing marketers want most: driving genuine engagement between companies and their customers. The simple fact that only a small fraction of a brand’s Facebook Fans see each brand post, 16% of the brand’s Fans to be exact, points to the fact that Facebook is focused on making money for it’s investors over making connections for it’s users. 

While Facebook has done a great deal to improve Facebook Advertising, it has also positioned itself so that brands are nearly required to utilize that advertising in order to reach their Fans – the Fans who have already Liked the brand page, have already shown interest in the brand, and who have blatantly told Facebook that they want to see that brand’s page updates.

The second great point is the fact that Facebook delivers tens of billions of display ads every day. But fewer than 15% of those ads leverage your ever-growing cache of social data to target relevant audiences.  With that ‘ever-growing cache of social data’ that Facebook has amassed over the years, it’s unacceptable that they do not allow for greater ad innovation, even placement on other sites provided with such targeted social data. There is unlimited opportunity available for brands utilizing Facebook’s ‘ever-growing cache of social data’ – the problem is Facebook’s unwillingness to allow for innovation and originality.

Why Quaintise Still Loves Facebook Advertising

Forrester went off the deep end with this report, driving Facebook into the ground because of a small-sampled, limited research report. With over 15 million active brands on Facebook, Forrester only sampled 395 of them. And in that sample, the difference between the top rated advertising source and Facebook was only 0.3 points on a scale of zero to five. 

Of course, the story is not complete without both sides of the argument, and so Facebook responded to Forrester with the following: 

While we agree that the promise of social media is still in process, the conclusions in this report are at times illogical and at others irresponsible. The reality is that Facebook advertising works. That’s why we have more than a million active advertisers including all of the Ad Age 100. And, countless studies have demonstrated the significant return on investment marketers see from Facebook. Our promise is to continue to deliver positive results for marketers. 

Facebook Advertising can be highly effective when used properly. Here at Quaintise, our Facebook Advertising campaigns run at under $0.20 Per Click with an above average (4%) Click Through Rate targeting extremely segmented demographics with extremely concentrated ad campaigns.

The key to Facebook Advertising, and one of the reasons why we at Quaintise love it so much, is understanding who your audience on Facebook truly is. There is no amount of ‘social data’ or ‘big data’ that Facebook can provide it’s advertising brands that can substitute intuition and empathy for the targeted audience.


Kandice Linwright

Owner, Linwright Design

I am a very proud momma of two beautiful boys, and a small business owner. For Local Marketing, Content Management and Social Media Marketing services, check out, a local marketing company that I've built from the ground up right here in Gilbert, Arizona. But, my true love is, my new and very exciting Social Media Consulting business. Now it's my turn to take all that I've learned over my long career in social media, and offer it to my clients!

I've been lucky enough to pick up my most successful Facebook Marketing strategies through trial and error as Social Media Director at If you're looking for some serious, full-scalle marketing, check out Raquel's agency located here in Arizona as well as Los Angeles. 

Life has been good to me, and I am thankful each and every day for that fact. Thanks for checking me out!

"Kandice is one of the most knowledgeable people I have met when it comes to social media and SEO marketing.  She has a very keen sense of what works and what doesn’t.  She is not only a great communicator when explaining her reasoning to me, but as a writer, Kandice has a very lucid way of communicating a company’s services, benefits, and does so while writing content for different vertical markets.  She is a supremely good writer.  She also has been very effective in helping us improve our own SEO rankings.  However, Kandice’s biggest strengths are her creative strategy skills.  She is on the forefront for what is new in technology and social media and how to leverage these assets to improve our client’s brands.” - Raquel Baldomar, CEO, Quaintise, LLC

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