Breaking croissants with Facebook in Dublin

I squelched my way through the rain last week to the June Digital Marketing Institute breakfast event to break croissants with Facebook. But it was worth it.

Facebook Like graphicAndrew Weld-Moore and Neasa Costin were the presenters and the capable pair took us through the new timeline features for pages and went on to discuss advertising options. All along the way they threw out some impressive statistics – though once you get into millions and gazillions it’s all a bit like bank borrowings isn’t it?

But to give credit where it’s due, there are 901m people on Facebook and 526m users log in every day.

Facebook didn’t mention whether they were taking over the former Bank of Ireland head offices on Baggot Street, but with over 2m active users in Ireland the immensely bankable bunch certainly dominate the social landscape. And apparently us Irish are more sociable than other nations – the average number of friends per user generally is 130, but here we have more like 240. Angela Merkel thinks we’re at work once again. Interestingly, half of these users are logging in on mobile devices. But that’s no surprise to anyone who’s been on the DART.

Some of the newer features they discussed included:

  • Timeline – a whole new look which does offer a better interface and presents posts chronologically.
  • Messages – this one is particularly useful when you want to take an issue offline with a fan. It’s not always useful or appropriate to reply on the wall to certain issues that are raised.
  • Pinned post – I like this one. It means you can raise the profile of a really good post to the top of the timeline. It lasts for 7 days.
  • Milestones – these are key events that you can mark on the timeline. This can give a bit of structure to the content on the timeline and be more informative to new fans.
  • Offers – these are vouchers that will be emailed to recipients and they can print off or show on their mobile at a store to get a reduction. They cited the example of Lifestyle Sports who used this quite effectively when they reached 100k fans. I went in to have a look at the page and couldn’t find it – I do wish Facebook would improve their search. I went to Google to find the page.

The presentation focused on how businesses could measure the effectiveness of budget spent on social. This has been a bit difficult for marketers, though in terms of Google Analytics the attribution of conversion visits is now more comprehensive with the recently launched social analytics report. (They didn’t mention Google however – perhaps they’re not friends..) Using the DMI page as an example, they analysed data using an internal tool and showed that 1 share on Facebook resulted in 13 clicks to the website.

General Tips for using Pages to create engagement

Both Andrew and Neasa emphasised keeping the business objectives in mind when deciding on marketing activities on pages:

  1. Focus on target market and who you want to engage with instead of numbers of likes.
  2. Photos and videos are the best for sharing.
  3. Post once a day as a guide and only when you have relevant content or conversation.
  4. Create a posting schedule to align with other marketing activities.

Advertising Options

For businesses the question is not whether your target market is on Facebook, because in most cases they are, but the challenge is in reaching them. And for most businesses right now it’s about reaching them on a limited budget.

In a nutshell, the Facebook team recommend using Ads to target new fans and the targeting options work really well for many businesses. Then use sponsored Stories to reach fans and friends of fans.

This new sponsored stories feature allows businesses pay to push posts out to the newsfeeds of friends of fans. For example, if someone likes a Page, their friends may see it in their news feed. This is the way to get over edgerank and make sure your posts are getting into the newsfeeds of fans. When a business pays to promote this action as a sponsored story, the person’s friends are more likely to see it and engage. You need to have 200+ fans to run with this.

Personally, I’m not sure how well this will be received as placed in the newsfeed it feels like interruptive advertising.

But I suppose for Facebook it’s a case of test, gauge reaction and iterate. It should be noted that Facebook will be paying $10m in a settlement over privacy issues with sponsored stories.

Products coming down the line

They closed the presentation with a look at the new logout experience, LOX. This soon to be launched feature is advertising shown on the screen when a user logs out, as many users on shared devices do regularly. It is untargeted advertising and they compared it to a billboard campaign. It’s more relevant for bigger brands, but for Facebook it represents a way to monetise millions of monthly pageviews.

And one month after a troublesome IPO, I guess revenue generating features are what shareholders want to experience.

Facebook logout experience LOX

Note: This article first appeared on the Digital Marketing Institute Blog.



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