In 2013 (the most recent data I could find available) Business Insider took on the job of outlining who was spending the most on advertisements on Facebook. Because truthfully, “…remarkably little is known about who Facebook’s biggest advertisers are. Facebook does not disclose that information to the SEC, and its executives rarely talk about how much money individual clients spend on Facebook campaigns.”1 And so, in 2012 BI “asked internal sources at Facebook, as well as external executives at Facebook’s client companies, to tell us what they knew about Facebook’s top spenders.”2
But even though little is known about how much clients spend to advertise, what is known is how much Facebook makes in revenue every quarter: $2 billion with $1.8 billion of that coming from paid advertising.
Some sources declined to cooperate with the survey and BI assumes they’ve either missed companies or ranked brand names in the wrong order. But, here we go nonetheless:3
1. Samsung: $100 million: There was widespread agreement that Samsung is one of Facebook’s biggest clients, if not the biggest client. Late in 2012, Samsung spent $10 million in a three-week period on Facebook just to launch its Galaxy S III phone, for instance.
2. P&G: $60 million: They are the world’s largest advertiser and have a massive presence on Facebook, particularly among moms. Facebook ended a “free ride” for advertisers in late 2012/early 2013 by restricting the reach of some of their free page posts, thus encouraging more paid post promotion and ad spending right at the same time that P&G made a big push out of traditional media and into social
3. Microsoft: $35 million: The company has a longstanding pact with Facebook, which uses its Bing search engine. Facebook also acquired Microsoft’s Atlas ad server this year.
4. AT&T: Facebook is the biggest mobile app on the planet, and AT&T — as both a wireless carrier and a seller of mobile devices — knows it must maintain a constant presence on it.
5. Amazon: $30 million: Amazon gets a lot of retail traffic from people liking or recommending purchases on Facebook.
6. Verizon: $30 million
7. Nestle: $30 million
8. Unilever: $30 million: Two of the top 5 most shared ads in social media in 2013 were from Unilever, including its “real sketches” ad for Dove and a viral Turkish ad for Cornetto ice cream.
9. American Express: $25 million: AmEx is a hugely social brand.
11. Coca-Cola: Coke has 76 million fans on Facebook making it the most-liked brand on the planet.
12. Starbucks: Starbucks is the 4th biggest brand on Facebook.
13 through 16. King.com, Zynga, EA, and Supercell: BI lumped the game makers into the same category because they’re all on Facebook for the same reason: app marketing.
17. Ford: Ford has more than 80 brand pages on Facebook and a huge social media team managing them.
18. Capital One: $20 million
19. eBay: $20 million: Like Amazon, eBay has a huge business in capturing referred traffic from Facebook.
20. AB Inbev: $15 million: Bud has an uphill battle on Facebook because its pages are age restricted. But beer is “social” both off and online.
21. Visa: $15 million: Visa has 11 million fans on Facebook and a huge tie-in with the NFL, another brand with a huge Facebook fanbase.
22. Intuit: $10 million: Intuit makes tax prep and accounting software and its core consumers are small businesses. Facebook’s core advertisers are small businesses, too.
23. L’Oreal: $10 million: L’Oreal uses Facebook to dispense beauty tips to its brands’ fans.
24. Mastercard – $10 million
25. Weight Watchers $5 million: The entire point of Weight Watchers is to diet with the support of a group, and, naturally, Facebook really helps with that mission.
26. State Farm $2 million
27. Ancestry: The genealogy site tries to capture consumers where they are – on Facebook engaging with their living families.
31. Victoria’s Secret
32. Citi: The finance category as a whole has entered paid social media with gusto. Consumers have a long lifetime value to banks, and banks need anything that can improve their rep with consumers.
What do you think about Facebook? Do you hate it or love it?