Sheryl Sandberg fires back at Forrester, reveals more features for marketers during Facebook’s earnings call

As Facebook surged ahead on Wall Street, posting better than expected figures for revenue and profit in yesterday’s Q3 earnings call, CFO Sheryl Sandberg confidently refuted claims that Facebook wasn’t doing enough for marketers. 

Earlier this week, an analyst from research firm Forrester had written a scathing open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, saying Facebook provided the least value for marketers in terms of advertising and brand engagement. On the earnings call yesterday, Sandberg laid out several stats and future strategies to show that simply wasn’t the case.

“The second driver of our performance is an increasing number of marketers spending their ad dollars on Facebook,” said Sandberg. “From brands to direct response to local businesses to developers, more marketers are advertising on Facebook because they recognize that our ads work to drive sales.”

Sandberg continued, “We think our strong performance this quarter further validates that our ads strategy is working. Marketers are responding favorably, as we heard during Ad Week in New York. Our messages around reach, targeting and measurement are resonating and we’ll continue to reinforce them.”

However, Forrester’s letter may have prompted Facebook to reveal plans it has for marketers a little earlier, as Sandberg then rattled off a slew of new product updates and programs. They included:

– Improved targeted ads, with investments in new features such as Custom Audiences and Partner Categories. 

– Redesigned, simplified ad buying and creation tools

– Launch of mobile app install ads to help create engagement for developers and businesses. 

Finally she ended with a few stats about how Facebook activity actually does drive in-store purchases for brands,  

“We recently launched outcome measurement for the telecommunications industry and initial tests showed that more than 90% of people who made a purchase after viewing a Facebook ad had never clicked on that ad. This shows that impressions matter and focusing only on clicks does not tell the whole story,” said Sandberg. “Similarly, a recent study conducted by Kenshoo – one of our leading Preferred Marketing Developer partners – proves this point. The Kenshoo study found that marketers who used multi-touch attribution to measure campaign ROI credited 12-30% more value from Facebook than marketers who used last click attribution.”

Some pretty comprehensive stats from Facebook, looks like you can criticize anything about it but its ability to make money for marketers. And whether it went to marketers or not, Facebook definitely made money, especially in mobile, which is a remarkable shift considering where the company was when it went public.  


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