Is Facebook a Failure at Customer Acquisition?

There's no questioning the power of Facebook, quite new in the grand scheme of marketing, as a tool to engage with fans on a deeper level and with more regularity than anything before it. Typical advertisement media—radio, TV, print, billboards—were always one-way. Social media now allows near-real-time two-way engagement that has the ability to turn lukewarm consumers into brand advocates. New social media tools such as Facebook have allowed those brands we hold dearest to be treated as family.

But what about the brands we aren't familiar with? Is the Facebook environment, complete with hyper-targeted ads, a good place to find new customers? According to a recent study by DDB Worldwide and Opinionway Research (as reported by Ad Age), 84% of a typical brand's Facebook fans are existing customers. The implied meaning is that Facebook, while an incredibly effective customer retention and engagement tool, is much less of a customer acquisition tool than most brands have thought.

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