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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook now makes $2 billion in revenue every quarter, and $1.8 billion of that comes from paid advertising.
Yet 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.
Nielsen doesn't measure Facebook adspend. Kantar doesn't either.
Just like last year, we 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. Our friends at ComScore also supplied us with some incredibly useful information about ad impressions served in social media. We also looked at previously published reports about ad spending on Facebook.
Combining that data together allowed us to rank the companies by dollars spent, for a period roughly covering the last 12 months. And we got lucky with one source, who estimated adspend for several companies — but not all — on the list.
Our list has its flaws: Some key sources declined to cooperate with our survey, and we've doubtlessly missed some companies or gotten brand names ranked in the wrong order. We're not saying this information is exactly accurate. Rather, these are experts best guesses as to who spends what on Facebook.
Nonetheless, we're confident that our ranking is the best available outside of Facebook vp/global marketing solutions Carolyn Everson's office. (You can email us if you have better information that could make this list more accurate.) Budgets, where given, are estimates.
1. Samsung: $100 million
There was widespread agreement that Samsung is one of Facebook's biggest clients, if not the biggest client. Late last year, 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
Procter & Gamble is the world's largest advertiser and has 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.
P&G will likely activate another huge social media campaign around Facebook for the Russian Olympics next year.
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.
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
The rumor is that Amazon will actually begin serving ads inside Facebook's ad exchange, FBX, soon. Amazon gets a lot of retail traffic from people liking or recommending purchases on Facebook.
6. Verizon: $30 million
Facebook has courted wireless carrier advertisers specifically with a new tool that shows Facebook mobile ads are nine times more successful than desktop media in getting people to switch carriers than other media.
7. Nestle: $30 million
One example of Nestle's social media investment: It sponsored Grumpy Cat this year.
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. Right now it's marketing a "member since" Facebook app that applies a badge to your page so you can show off how long you've carried a card.
As our BI Intelligence research shows, Walmart is the top retailer on Facebook for a reason.
Coke has 76 million fans on facebook, making it the most-liked brand on the planet. It did not get there by accident.
Starbucks is the 4th biggest brand on Facebook.
13 through 16. King.com, Zynga, EA and Supercell
We've lumped these game makers into the same category because they're all on Facebook for the same reason: It's a huge platform for app marketing. Gaming today is all about mobile app downloads.
Ford has more than 80 brand pages on Facebook and a huge social media team managing them.
18. Capital One: $20 million
Capital One keeps it topical in its Facebook posts.
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
Here for the same reason AmEx and Visa are.
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
State Farm has a tie-in right now with Duck Dynasty, a show with a massive social media fanbase.
The genealogy site tries to capture consumers where they are – on Facebook engaging with their living families.
Where do you sell computers? On the internet — which means Facebook.
A core part of Macy's brand is entertainment — the Thanksgiving Day parade, the 4th of July fireworks, etc. — and the company wants to keep consumers talking about it on social media.
A huge organic fanbase, but it is augmented by paid media too.
31. Victoria's Secret
No prizes for guessing why people like this brand — they're making it easy for VS to reach them with new ads.
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.
Steve Kovach/Business Insider
Like Samsung, Sony knows that electronics brands need to be on Facebook.
The snack food maker recently split into two different companies. You've probably encountered one of its viral Oreos ads on Facebook.
Mom-focused retailer Zulily appears on our list because probably because it ramped up promotional spending prior to its IPO this year.
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