Facebook Marketing

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Facebook had some nice earning yesterday.  50% of Facebook log-ons occur via mobile devices and mobile is hot. Facebook’s mobile ads accounted for 14% of rev. Nice news indeed. 

As someone who is a member and student of the marketing community, I’ve marveled at Facebook’s user growth. (While with Zude.com (who?) I competed with Facebook when they had only 18 million users.)  FB has spawned whole new industries of social and digital ad agencies. It has created a head down behavior for teens and millennials that will give birth to millions in chiropractic business. Facebook is of the moment and the masses love it. For now.

Some financial analysts are predicting the way for Facebook to capture mad new revenue is to sell the data it collects via user clicks and behavior.  That data will be used to plan media buys on other platforms.  So beyond making money selling ads on its own site, a la Google, it will make money selling our data. (I’m guessing these same analysts are not heavy Facebook users.)  If Facebook takes its eyes off the “communications utility for friends” prize (the brand Is-Does) and follows this rev gen trail, it will begin to lose face. And faces.

When you confide in a friend and that friend sells those secrets, trust is lost.  Were the phone able to hear your conversations and send you ads based on what was said, that would be bad right?

Fotchbook can make money many other ways.  Selling our data, behind our backs, is not a good long term strategy. Mr. Zuckerberg do not listed to those portfolio hounds. Peace.     

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Facebook had a big marketing day in NYC yesterday at the American Museum of Natural History.  They shared how they’re going to garner big excitement in the advertising world by creating new opportunities for marketers and their agents who advertise on Fotch-book. Advertiser pages will have special functionality, new ad positions will open up, mobile ads will be more something and, of course, data and ad tailoring will improve and be revolutionary.

This is Facebook’s post IPO.

The problem with all these announcements is two-fold.  People don’t like ads, because most of them are poorly constructed, and people don’t like those who profit excessively from anything.  Jeremy Lim anybody?

So if Facebook and marketers are going to make this work, the ads (20-30 words though they may be) are going to need to be better. On a NYT cover story today, it was mentioned that 250 millisecond load time is competitive advantage for a website. That being said, do you think a crappy ad in your load or stream is going to be welcome?  And if the universe of unique daily ads goes from 500,000 to 10 million, are those ads likely to be good, creative and engaging?  Creativity will be at a premium. This is going to be a wild ride. Peace.

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Dennis Yu CEO of BlitzLocal is a smart dude.  He did a presentation about BlitzLocal, Facebook, data, and marketing futures last night at Hofstra University and it was eye opening. (What is Hofstra’s brand idea, by the way? Something with a right pointing arrow?) Anyway, a number of cottage industries have popped up over the years to help people market on Facebook and BlitzLocal is a good one. As is Involver.

Sitting through the preso I was wondering what kind of company BlitzLocal was — never having heard of them. My take?  It’s an analytics company.  The BlitzLocal Is-Does?  A Facebook analytics company (Is) that implements and optimizes Facebook marketing programs (Does). 

Mr. Yu started the evening with some really heady talk about brand building and how promotional giveaways  are a blight, then he segued into data capture, tools, and the raw power of the Facebook platform.  As an admin on a brand account, he playfully posted an offer to see how many people wanted a free pair of jeans and in minutes had 4,000 hits.

So how does this type of real time analytics stuff rub a brand planner like me – someone in search of the big positioning ideas and planks that and drive long term value?  Well, I’m a believer and will add these tools to my arsenal.  I rail about tactics-palooza, but the insights derived from a BlitzLocal engagement are too important to cast off. This kind of data, especially at the high order level, needs to go into the boil down. One more important loci for the plan. Right brain, left brain. Yin and Tang stuff.  Can’t wait to play. Peace.

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I had a theory a while back that Steve Ballmer (CEO of Microsoft) blew billions of dollars on technology missteps just so that he could learn a couple of important things about the future.  With all the money it prints and the legacy business it controls, Microsoft has had the luxury of launching challenger devices and services that were dogs — but from which Mr. Ballmer gathered data, insights, and ways forward.  His overbuilt, over engineered products were real-time usability tests. Costly but smart. Poor Mr. Ballmer.

Mark Zuckerberg is scary because all the news out of this year’s Facebook developers conference, called f8, points to Facebook’s desire to own to world’s user data. If banks or the treasury owned the data Facebook will and does – knowing how, on what, and when we spend our hard-earned, it would be a major antitrust violation.  And all Mr. Z has to do is put some software code, cookies , crumbs and apps behind his platform and it will become a one-stop-shop for everything behavioral. When behavior becomes data and sortable as such, allowing for 1-to-1 targeting, the game will be over. That’s why Google was scared into Google+. 

No one likes an overdog, but that is what Facebook is becoming. Mr. Zuckerberg will soon need to hire a Chief Overdog Officer.  In this light, Mr. Ballmer will be the underdog billionaire. Peace.

 

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It may be a New York thing, but get in a car with a bunch of teens or young 20-somethings and count the likes.  It’s the new um.  Liking is a thing on Facebook and now +1 is a the new like on the Google platform.  

Public Displays of Like (PDL)

There is a time and place for liking.  Public displays of like, though, are becoming annoying. And with +1 they’ll get worse.  The presumption is that Likes and +1 are food for the hungry consumer, but not everyone on the web wants to transact business.  Not everyone on the web is looking to buy something.  Fotchbook (an Italian pronunciation) did not grow to the size it has by  feeding the commercial needs of the people, it created a means to connect and network new and old friends.

Not everything on the web is a product. Just as I need to get out of the car when the teens and 20-somethings start the like talk, Ima need to jump off the web for a few hours when the Likes and +s abound. Careful Google. Careful Facebook. Peace (especially you know where) !

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There’s been lots of online chatter about the expected announcement today of Facebook email — and how it might kill Gmail. It won’t.  There are a lots of Gmail fanboys. It will, however, hurt new accounts and current usage among Millennials, teens, and tweens. But the really big news is that Facebook email will be a crazy money maker.

Online Advertising

It is reported that 1 in 4 ads displayed on the web are Facebook ads — with 1.28 trillion banners ads viewed in the 3rd quarter of 2010 alone. Dude!  That more than TV, radio, and OOH combined (please don’t fact check, I just made that up). That is a lot of impressions.  If Facebook’s email — through which users will have personal email accounts  (spoppe@facebook.com) — takes off, I smell another trillion…give or take.  That’s some cheddar.

Debate all you will about the integration of web applications into the Facebook email product (Microsoft, Google Docs, Mobile, Enterprise, etc.) and its revenue implications, this puppy is going to be an advertising breakthrough.  Privacy will be a major issue of course. Think about it, if I send an email to a friend about a camping trip (That camping trip joke never dies, thanks Jed) and the recipient gets an REI ad, it’s going to be an issue.  But that’s a story for next month. There will be lots of chatter and lots of cheddar coming off of this announcement. Whoo. Peace!

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Hubspot, in Boston, is a company  doing a very nice job marketing itself.  Their logo is pretty poor and they probably invented using the word “so” to start every sentence, but I used their free website grader a long time ago and it proved their digital marketing chops.  Some of Hubspot’s overzealousness about traditional is a bit grating but, hey, they’re selling.

 So (hee hee), Dan Zarella a real social dork (as he likes to say) put on a webinar yesterday highlighting some best practices of Facebook marketing and they were quite well done.  Dan is a social scientist, which means he really parses the data, so his insights are real.  Here is a topline:

– People have profiles, brands have pages. (Thought I’d start easy.)

– Facebook is not about making new friends, it’s about improving relationships with existing friends.

– On Facebook you are a performer – and being judged.

– Help your users look cool.

– Let your users perform in a brand-relevant way and you win!

– Women have 55% more posts on their walls than do men.

– Pages with lots of marketing buzz words don’t have as many friends, e.g., leverage, productivity, etc.

– Facebook users like food.  And they talk about it.

– Most “liked” activities: movies, books, music, TV show, television.

– Least “liked” activities: real estate, auto dealers, religion, dogs,

– Be entertaining — lay off marketing stuff.

– Social proof is big.  Lots of friends, likes, tweets, vitality wins over the opposite.

– Posts with the word “video” in them are shared more on Facebook than Twitter. Way more.

– Posts with digits (numbers) in them index high for sharing.

– Sex indexes highest for sharing. Positivity, learning, sharing, work, media and constructive are words and ideas also highly shared.

– Least shared idea: negativity.

– Write plainly and simply.  Don’t use lots of adjectives and adverbs.

– 51% of companies block Facebook.

Good stuff Dan. Peace!

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There was a fascinating quote in The New York Times today in an article on Facebook’s privacy decisions. (Facebook’s privacy actions will either create mad blowback or turn it into the world’s first trillion dollar company.)

“If I’m looking for day care for my 6-year-old, I’m going to put that in my status (Facebook) message, not do a Google Search.”  (Sean Sullivan, F-Secure.)

Search, Curation, Advice.

In the world, and on the internet, there are important common behaviors: search, curation and advice.  Search is a great way to find things and it’s clearly a huge business; results are organized and prioritized… by the algorithm.  Curation, on the other hand, growing in importance online, is search but with a human hand.  Social networks help curate in a sense because one “friends,” organized by degrees of separation, share content they care about.  But advice?  Many a web property was built around advice.  Most have failed or languished.  

Mr. Sullivan’s quote points to the need for trusted advisors, not algorithm results of independent ranking experts (e.g., Better Business Bureau, Consumer Reports, your newspaper).  Mr. Sullivan’s important day care decision will be assisted by the advice of friends and respected Web friends.

As Facebook creates tools that blur the lines between search, curation and friendly advice, it will likely lose its way. People are their own best filters and Facebook needs to make sure it doesn’t cross the line. Peace!

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Spotlight on Social Media was held yesterday in NYC, put on by the Participatory Marketing Network (PMN) and Direct Marketing Association (DMA).  There were a couple of important takeaways every marketer should think about. 

Intent.

Search is still important, no doubt, but it’s a little 2008.  Immediacy – what’s happening now — is the rolling thunder these days, so services like Twitter and Foursquare are the rage but the marketing future is something Rapleaf’s co-founder Vivek Sodera calls “intent driven” applications. Think of a suped up Four Square To Do tab. Facebook will certainly build an intent-based app and others in the VC pipeline will emerge, but just know intent+social+search+moblie is going to pay out lotto style. 

Unanonymous

I know, I know it’s not a word. But it’s a better word then unanonymize, which is the word that clanked like a dropped crowbar off Mr. Sodera’s tongue during his presentation.  Hee hee. That said, it’s a word that wonderfully describes what Rapleaf does. Rapleaf crawls the web and creates single records of an individual’s behaviors, activities and associations.  And surprisingly, it’s not that scary.  They do this using your email address and a cool piece of software. In email or direct parlance they append records using the social web. When I asked to be unanonymized, the Rapleaf software generated 100 of my web proclivities, the first of which was something called “Social Care” a membership I did not recall.  All the rest were spot on. 

Facebook

Facebook also presented at Spotlight and mentioned its 60 million daily logins put prime time television to shame. Sean Mahoney’s case studies of marketer successes were very impressive and prove that Facebook is the “new” digital. Its targeting capabilities are phenomenal.  There are specialty ad and marketing shops opening up just to handle Facebook-enabled selling and they’re worth looking in to.  It’s a cottage industry on the way to becoming transformational.   

Others

Other smart companies worth mentioning include Acxiom, a behemoth company that also transforms social data into social profiles (for targeted marketing), Cisco which has a neat B2B app in its NowVan program (like Kogi BBQ trucks for routers) and Air Miles a rewards program out of Canada, trying hard and having very good success. 

 Michael Della Penna of the PMN and Conversa Marketing and Neil O’Keefe of DMA deserve shout outs for empanelling a great program. Peace..it together!

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