This month the Lab attended a kind of Facebook marketing boot camp, where members of the Facebook team guided us on best practices for integrating Facebook within brand marketing plans. The opportunity is much larger then capturing a portion of the 250 million Facebook users as customers; itâ€™s also a prospect for new ways to be innovative in our marketing.
Most of the conversation of the day centered around two ways you can use Facebook to market your brand: engagement ads and Facebook pages. But the team did talk a bit about whatâ€™s new on the popular site. For instance, they are starting to put demographic and geographic targeting into action: Targeting keywords from status updates and users birthdays are new features.
Facebook also has a learned target ad product. After media has run, they can reveal psychographic attitudes and keywords associated with the target audience. Although this functionality was created by third party developers, brands such as Threadless and 1-800-Flowers are breaking new ground by bringing their stores into Facebook. Having a Facebook storefront offers convenience and eliminates extra steps in the buying process. It also proves ROI. Still, the bigger question of ROI remained mainly unsolved, with user surveys and standard engagement metrics still being the primary measurement tools discussed.
Social Ads Rule
Itâ€™s interesting to think back on how advertising on Facebook has changed since its inception. In the beginning, instead of engaging and interacting users, ads interrupted the content experience and were essentially ineffective. With the goal of increasing relevance, Facebook changed their ad product and began offering social ads. Today, engagement ads integrate well within the user experience. By attaching social actions to ads, brands are able to interact with users as if they were their friends. Whatâ€™s interesting about ads is what happens after a user clicks: users’ friends are updated about their friend’s connection with your brand. Social ads play to user mindset and incorporate popular actions such as playing video and commenting on it (Video Comment Engagement Ad), RSVPing and commenting on an event (Event Engagement Ad), fanning a brand (Fan Engagement Ad), and giving a gift (Gift Engagement ads).
Facebook is continuing to introduce new ad units, such as a sampling ad product â€“ where users can request a product sample within the ad. They are moving sampling from multiple steps to one. We love the potential for this. Some tips for engagement ads offered from the Facebook team included tying events to causes, incentivizing users, using evocative images, and having a Facebook page to give users a homebase to engage with your brand.
Facebook Pages are Key
Facebook pages are profile pages that allow brands to interact with Facebook users and are perhaps the best way to connect with the consumers on the site. Pages offer the brands the opportunity for publishing great up-to-date content on the pageâ€™s wall and allows brands to have a two-way dialog with their fans. The tab feature, with similar functionality to tabs on a user profile, helps keep brand pages organized. Tabs can include standard features including photos, blog, events, and reviews, but third party developers can build and name custom applications on a tab. A great example of this is 1-800-Flowers designating a tab to â€œShopâ€ for their new ecommerce application.
Brands can assess the effectiveness of their pages using Facebook Insights, a measurement tool providing page admins with demographic, geographic and engagement fan data. Some tips for connecting to fans via pages included establishing a consistent voice, using a calendar to pace out posts, and not surprisingly â€“ promoting your page with engagement ads.
Smart marketers have begun to implement Facebook marketing into their campaigns because of the potential reach. Although marketing on Facebook is still somewhat uncharted territory, we can learn from some of the early successes out there. Starbucks, the most popular brand on Facebook, has over 3.7 million fans by being authentic, innovative and encouraging interaction with customers.