The question for Facebook is how much companies are willing to pay for the opportunity to advertise on their site. While Ford (NYSE:F) shelled out an estimated $95 million to advertise the new Focus across a broad range of media, it spent just pennies on the dollar for Facebook ads.
Ford said it spent less than 5% of its total online ad budget for the campaign on Facebook.
U.S. consumers spent 15% of their online time at Facebook in September, according to comScore (NASDAQ:SCOR), but Facebook is expected to capture just 6.4% of total online ad spending this year, according to estimates by research firm eMarketer Inc. In September, U.S. Web users spent an average 6.8 hours on Facebook, far more than on any other site, but Facebook will take in less than one-fifth the ad revenues per U.S. user than Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) will this year, eMarketer predicts. That’s sweet music to the ears of struggling online media sites AOL (NYSE:AOL) and Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO). Some marketers and analysts say Facebook caps its revenues by limiting ad sizes which are small compared with other sites because of an early decision by CEO Mark Zuckerberg to keep Facebook uncluttered.
“In addition to using Facebook’s free tools, Ford (NYSE:F) said, the company was gradually increasing its ad spending on the site and recently closed its largest ad deal with Facebook. But because of the social nature of the site, Mr. Kelly said, “it doesn’t require Ford to spend large dollars on splashy ads to engage customers,” according to The Wall Street Journal.