Facebook: the possibilities for your business
With nearly 8 million Canadians on Facebook (about a quarter), this social network has really managed to reach the uninitiated. Users also use it very deeply with an average of 18 daily visits. Yes, yes, I said correctly 18. What are the possibilities offered by the platform? I was at Facebookcamp in Montreal on November 2 and we were about 200 advertisers or developers who had or had not had experiences for their customers with Facebook. The conclusions drawn here come from this event as well as the experiences made at Adviso with our clients.
They are more than 600,000 in Montreal alone, nearly 800,000 in Quebec. On Facebook, users:
micro-blog (a la Twitter) or announce their current status,
share photos (Facebook has overtaken Flickr as the largest photo sharing site) and videos
share interesting links and content
— Canadian Tire allows Facebook sharing of a product from a link on its site
install applications that allow them to share their favorite films or books, the countries they have visited or simply waste their time contaminating their contacts with zombie bites... (more than 80% of users have used an application Facebook)
Let’s take a look at the possibilities offered to companies to get involved in these different actions.
The purchase of banners
Everyone at Facebook Camp agreed that banners on Facebook don't work. They provide sluggish click rates. Facebook users have their eyes glued to their mini-feed (their personalized homepage) and have nothing to do with these not often personalized ads. We see them less and less.
It is possible to orchestrate a sponsored survey that allows a company to ask questions to highly targeted users. For example, you can ask very specific questions to recruit ideal candidates, as Ernst & Young did earlier in 2007. Of course, you can also assess the opinion of a specific consumer segment, as this survey does. on soft drinks. You can get 1,000 respondents in a few hours depending on the level of targeting, for an invoice between approximately $500 and $1,000.
The Beacon is a controversial tool today. It consists of allowing companies to insert a chip on their site. This chip therefore suggests to a user who has just taken an action on the company's website to publish his "gesture" via Facebook to inform his friends. So it could be: "Jean-François Renaud has just subscribed to Wired magazine", with of course a link to the subscription form. The user is not obliged to publish his gesture. It is word of mouth encouraged and propagated effectively. The controversy comes from the fact that users would not have had the choice to send the announcement of their purchase on overstock.com. The Beacon relies on the fact that the opinion of an acquaintance on a product or service is the information that will most influence a future purchase, for 83% of respondents in a Forrester study.
Free, but not so easy to publicize. A company or organization can create a profile and add comments, news, discussions, job offers, company RSS feeds, photos and videos. This is the Facebook profile for businesses. Instead of having friends, we have fans and we can easily inform them of new releases for free. It is a direct link with the ambassadors of a company. Statistics or Facebook Insights also add to the interest with the number of pages viewed on their profile, the evolution of fans or the number of photos viewed. For once we can know the statistics of a profile on Facebook!
What to do to attract visitors to your Fan Page or directly to your site? Social ads of course! The "social Adwords" offered by Facebook is still extremely powerful in terms of targeting: city, province, gender, age, education, everything can become a filter. They cost a minimum of $5 per day and are offered by CPC or in print.
Groups and Sponsored Groups
Well, let it be said, Sponsored Groups, the groups put forward by Facebook are expensive, very expensive. Their price has doubled again recently (June 2007) to stop at the modest sum of $300,000 for three months. For national or even international advertisers, they represent a quick and effective way to obtain a lot of visibility. Otherwise, regular groups are fine, but limited to really targeting and reaching large numbers of people. Except maybe in some cases,particular topics or industries.
According to the developers met at Facebook Camp, a simple application can take around 100 hours to develop according to Facebook standards. Then, it must be promoted among the 7000 existing applications and the 100 new ones which are announced daily. It is better to be certain that this new application is really useful, because it is not the only one to be offered to advertisers. But with a good idea, the application represents an extremely efficient way to interact with users.
Facebook is truly an exciting platform for the next few years of online advertising. We should also see other percentages of traditional media budgets being transferred there.