Greek philosopher Heraclitus was known for his timeless quote: “The only thing constant in life is change.” These same words perfectly sum up social media marketing’s rapid evolution centuries later. Once known as an exclusive platform for college students who wanted to stay in touch with high school friends and new college buddies just a few years ago, Facebook has transformed into a highly developed advertising platform that seems to be bigger than the Internet itself.
Facebook and social media’s prowess in the marketing universe was recently the center of a presentation held by the Paris Chamber of Commerce on May 3, 2011. Though the website definitely has its roots and largest user base in the USA (over 155 million users: half of the U.S. population), it is interesting to note how global web surfers of all ages have embraced it ever since the days when it was exclusively available to university students at American universities.
“Facebook has grown rapidly in France within the last several years, with a current total of 20 million users, including 91% of the 13–17 and 18–24 demographics, as well as 66% of users aged 25 through 34,” explains Julie Pellet, Dublin-based Inside Sales Associate at Facebook’s EMEA Advertising Team. “Companies can publicize their products to a wide audience through various avenues, such as Fan Pages and advertisements, but the ad campaigns need to be strategic.”
Some of Pellet’s words of wisdom regarding the strategy involved using a multilingual approach (publishing the same ad in various languages to reach global users) and publishing an ad for a short-term basis rather than placing a long-term ad, which helps to benchmark the performance and determine if it is worth running and paying for again. “Usually, users click an ad after seeing it several times, rather than the first time,” says Pellet, who notes that 40 cents per click was a common price for ads for several of her clients.
Facebook’s built-in Fan Page has also grown in popularity, with a common trend being companies hiding exclusive information about what is being promoted and “luring” users to click “Like” in order to gain access to it. Indeed, companies have now started gauging ad campaigns by factors such as how many users have “liked” their Fan Page. Right on time with the emergence of the Fan Page as a strong marketing tool, social media marketing agencies have started to crop up, including MakeMeReach, the first agency to become accredited by Facebook as a Preferred Developer Consultant and Ad Provider. “Some keys for creating an effective Fan Page are including distinct keywords for Google and Facebook searches, developing an engaging landing page and implementing apps that allow the posts on the Wall to be pulled into RSS readers,” says Pierre-Lou Dominjon, Project Manager at MakeMeReach’s Paris office.
The most notable aspect of the Fan Page is the way that it subtly promotes to Facebook friends of users who click “Like.” Like clockwork, a post announcing that a friend likes the product automatically appears on friends’ newsfeeds, and most importantly appears on the user’s “Interests” list. This automatic promotion was meant to “fill in the gap” according to Pellet. “A user often won’t include something minute in their Interests section, such as soda, but when they click ‘Like’ on the Fan Page of a certain brand of soda, this information is filled in,” explains Pellet. This ends up being a useful tactic for advertisers, since one out of every three Facebook users like at least one brand’s Fan Page.
Despite these innovative methods, the Web advertising classic known as the banner is still quite effective in the 21st century. According to MakeMeReach’s Co-Founder & CEO Pierre-François Chiron, banner ads integrated into applications are still viable since users spend an average of 25 minutes on applications every time they log on to Facebook. “We have decided to integrated ads inside the actual applications for our clients such as BMW and Axe because the products have a spotlight of about 7 to 10 seconds while the app loads: more than enough time to spark interest” says Chiron.
With 500 million global users currently subscribed and half of them logging in daily, it will be interesting to watch how advertising on this platform will continue to evolve.
Elias Kamal Jabbe is a Los Angeles-based Journalist and PR Specialist and the Founder of Multicultural Matters, an online media outlet focused on multiculturalism and international entrepreneurship. Feel free to connect with him via LinkedIn or Twitter.com/Elias213 for more information.
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