According to the report, Facebook provides the best value for money. More than 80% of respondents pay to put their messages in front of Facebook’s audience, with 78% per cent of them stating that the social media giant delivers value when it comes to ads and promoted posts.
Twitter, while remaining the second-favourite social site to marketers, lags in advertisers and performance. Sixty-two per cent of questioned marketers pay for ads, but only two-thirds (66%) of respondents say promoted tweets offer them real business value.
YouTube and LinkedIn perform on a similar level to Twitter. Half of social marketers advertise on YouTube, while less than one-third (31%) dedicate ad budget to LinkedIn. But marketers say ads on YouTube and LinkedIn offer just as much value as ads on Twitter – 65% and 68% respectively.
Instagram and Pinterest have the most work to do. Only 13% of social marketers have bought Pinterest ads since they became available in January this year, and only 14% of avid social marketers say they’re part of the Instagram ads limited release.
Social ad budgets to increase
According to the report, paid advertising now accounts for 83% of marketers’ social spending, and more than two-thirds (70%) of marketers plan to increase their social ad budgets over the course of 2015.
When it comes to investing in paid social, 41% of respondents say that their ad expenditure will be “somewhat higher”, while 29% of respondents will spend a “significantly higher” amount of their budget during the upcoming months.
Calls for change
Brands can’t seem to agree on who should spend their social ad money. Just over half of respondents (54%) put their social ad budgets in the hands of a social team, but 27% let media buyers handle the social ad budget.
In response, Forrester urges brands to put media teams in charge of their social ad budgets, instead of social teams. According to the research house, media buyers are more comfortable than social teams with the ad models that social sites sell.
“Social ads aren’t social – they’re just ads. Social networks’ ads sales pitches no longer promise relationships or engagement.”
Nate Elliott, vice president and principal analyst, Forrester Research
“Instead, social sites have embraced programmatic promises like remarketing, behavioural targeting, and low cost-per-acquisition,” says Forrester vice president and principal analyst Nate Elliott.
Forrester also believes that media teams are best placed to know where to go for expert help. While 80% of social teams that control social ad budgets try to manage those programmes in-house, 70% of media teams in charge of social ad budgets rely on the greater expertise of their external partners.
The result, according to Forrester, is that media teams spend social ad money more wisely.
Elliott explains: “Both social and media teams generate value from Facebook ads — but the brands themselves admit that media teams find more success with other types of social ads. In fact, marketers that hand their social ad budgets to media teams are significantly more likely to succeed on both Twitter and YouTube.”