(Reuters) - Facebook highlighted on Wednesday two ad campaigns in an
attempt to persuade advertisers that its massive membership base and
ability to home in on specific audiences makes it a more effective
advertising platform than broadcast TV.
The No. 1 social network revealed in a blog post some details about
marketing campaigns from AARP and the American Legacy Foundation to
show how Facebook can target specific age groups among its audience
of more than 1 billion global users, which rivals the number of
people watching TV.
Facebook is hoping to tap some of the billions of dollars that
advertisers dedicate to television commercials to reach large groups
"For an advertiser, in Facebook's view their users are more engaged
than when they are watching TV," said Debra Aho Williamson,
principal analyst at research firm eMarketer. "It's not just sitting
on the couch and watching something go by."
Still TV gets the lion's share of ad dollars with more than $66
billion in 2013 in the U.S. alone, according to eMarketer. Facebook
generated roughly $7 billion in global ad revenue during the same
The AARP, an association for older Americans, sought to target ads
to Facebook members over 45 in order to build awareness that the
organization is for more than just retired people, Facebook said in
its blog post, while the American Legacy Foundation wanted to reach
teenagers for its Truth campaign to curb smoking.
Both campaigns ran in Facebook's News Feed interspersed among a
user's stream of news and other updates.
"One of the things we wanted to test is if there a better result
when you air a TV ad spot and support it on social media," said
Tammy Gordon, AARP vice president of social strategy.
A survey conducted by Nielsen Online suggested that 14 percent of
45-to-64-year-old Americans said they saw the AARP campaign.
"You don't just do a TV commercial, you have to be looking at
multi-media campaign," Gordon said.
In the case of the Truth campaign, almost half of all Americans
between the age of 13 and 19 saw at least one ad in their News Feed
stream, the Nielsen survey found.
Investors have been concerned that teenage users may be drifting
away from Facebook in favor of alternative online services such as
Snapchat and WhatsApp, which Facebook recently acquired for $19
billion. But the survey results suggest marketers still view
Facebook's social network as an important channel for reaching
Christine Dela Rosa, senior brand manager of marketing at the
American Legacy Foundation, said that Facebook was still a good way
to expose teens to brands. She noted, however, that the foundation
also adjusted its marketing campaign to run on other platforms like
deviantART, a social network for artists that is attracting teens.
"Facebook is really huge and people tend to want to converse with us
in that space," Dela Rosa said. "We are in other places too because
teens aren't using Facebook for expression. Every single platform
has a different purpose. We want to be there in all those different
(Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York;
Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)