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AdAgeRBC-Facebook-Role-Overall-Marketing-Mix-Sept2013More than 8 in 10 marketers are using Facebook as a marketing channel, and almost all expect to use it in the next 12 months, per results from a survey conducted by Ad Age and RBC Capital Markets. While that implies a good deal of enthusiasm on the part of marketers for the platform, few appear to deem it indispensable, according to the study. Presented with 3 choices for how they would characterize Facebook’s role in their overall mix, only about 1 in 10 marketers chose the response indicating it was “critical to their marketing efforts.” Instead, respondents – a mix of marketers of clients (26%), ad agency employees (30%), and media company employees and consultants (44%) – were much more inclined to tab Facebook a “useful but still optional part of my strategy” (45.5%) or “a regular element of my strategy” (43.8%).

That seems to be somewhat of a departure from study results released last year, in which 6 in 10 senior marketers called social media key to their company’s survival. (That survey concerned social media in general, but its findings can reasonably be applied to Facebook given the platform’s status as the largest social marketing channel.)

Nevertheless, marketing on Facebook is undoubtebly important, and that seems to be the case in particular when it comes to its mobile application. About 3 in 4 respondents to the Ad Age and RBC survey said that, based on their marketing objectives and needs, it was “very” (33.1%) or “somewhat” (41.4%) important for them to market on Facebook’s mobile app.

Facebook budgets remain fairly low for the time being. Half of the respondents indicating that they’re currently allocating between 1 and 10% of their online marketing budgets on Facebook. More than 7 in 10 are spending some of those budgets on Facebook ads, with slightly more than half expecting their ad budgets to increase over the next year.

Interestingly, respondents indicated that the most important goal for their Facebook advertising efforts is to build awareness and sentiment for their brand. While that’s consistent with last year’s Ad Age survey, a recent study from Econsultancy found that more global marketers cited lead generation (37%) than branding (27%) as their main social media advertising objective.

In this latest survey from Ad Age, lead generation was one of the least important Facebook advertising goals, behind the aforementioned brand awareness, driving site traffic, building fans or likes, and staying in touch with customers.

About the Data: The survey was conducted in August among 1,200 Ad Age subscribers.

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