What Marketers Learned from the Facebook Marketing Conference
- Posted on Mar 5, 2012 in CHI University
Last Friday, Facebook held the Facebook Marketing Conference (fMC), its first ever global event developed for marketers. Facebook announced its latest technologies for brands and marketers, all of which have a heavy emphasis on developing a rich relationship between brands and fans, engaging a brand's community (not just using Facebook as a broadcast platform) and letting the fans tell the brand's story. Facebook is offering these new technologies to change the way brands interact and communicate with fans, noting "to generate value for your business, generate value for your users." Facebook is morphing ads from advertising to narratives, and the job of businesses will be to have fans to tell the brand's stories to encourage a community with a high level of sharing and engagement.
Some of the new technologies announced at fMC include:
Premium for Facebook provides new placement for Sponsored Stories and premium ads in the news feed, home pages and logout page, in addition to their former placement on the right hand side of the page. These ads are derived from Facebook page posts, creating an interactive experience for users. Ads are a way for brands to tell their own stories, while Sponsored Stories are a way for fans to tell the brands' stories. Premium guarantees impressions and placement either within the news feed, home page, right hand side of page or logout page. Premium stories and ads show up on tablets and mobile devices now as well.
Brands and marketers cannot cherry pick which ad goes where. The most engaging brand stories (ads) will show up in the news feed. It’s a package deal. This is called Reach Generator, as advertisers pay a fixed fee based on their page’s fan count, and Facebook guarantees exposure of a page’s posts to 75% of their fans a month and 50% a week. Typically, posts only reach 16% of a page’s fans, so this guarantee is huge for brands. Now, Facebook wants brands' ads to be content, and Reach Generator moves brands towards generating more valuable content for users.
Reach Generator works hand-in-hand with Premium for Facebook to effectively distribute content on Facebook and engage brand fans, while offering brands guranteed placement and impressions. The new Premium for Facebook and Reach Generator communicate that user value is top priority.
One of the biggest announcements made at fMC was the new timeline layout for brands. Not only do brand timelines change the layout and structure of a page to make it look and feel like personal Facebook profiles, but timelines also offer brands and marketers many other new features:
Mission Control - This is the Admin Panel featured at the top of the brand timelines that allows brands to easily monitor any page activity. You can now see everyone who has liked you, and all activity is listed right at the top of the page, which allows for fast response time. Businesses can now receive and send private messages with fans, which helps with disgruntled customers or complaints. There will soon be five levels of admin permissions, which is possibly one of the best features. Some admins could have total control, while some only have limited control, which works well for companies who have many people touching their social media marketing.
Improved Insights - The mission control also features a section for insights, which were also greatly improved with brand timelines, especially with real-time insights available. Page insights are much more comprehensive and better than before.
Cover Photos - Brands can now express themselves with huge, eye-catching cover photos. Don’t just repurpose one laying around in photo albums. Utilize a graphic designer to create something amazing in this space.
Custom Tab Changes - With brand timelines, the visibility of custom tabs was reduced. You can still view custom tabs at the top of the brand page near the About section, but these tabs are less prominent. Brands can still drive traffic to these tabs with custom URLs that link directly to the desired tab, but tabs can no longer be utilized as a default landing page for brands.
New Content Features - With the new layout, there are new ways to feature content. Brands can highlight stories to make them stretch the whole page wide by clicking the little pencil on the upper right hand side of the post, great for engaging stories/events. Don’t do this for every press release that’s announced; only utilize for super relevant content, such as a great image, newsworthy event, etc. In addition, brands can pin posts to remain at the top of the timeline for 7 days; do this for the most important/stand out company moments, such as a contest or something the company wants to garner attention for a while. Remember, this won’t mean that this will keep appearing in the news feed/ticker for 7 days, so brands must still put out content, even with pinned posts.
Many new announcements for brands and marketers came out of fMC, both exciting new features and absolute game changers. Amid all the new technologies announced for brands, it appears as though not just sharing, but story telling and engagement, are where brands will find Facebook - and social media marketing - success.
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