Reaching Your Influencers With Facebook
Facebook recently introduced numerous enhancements for marketers to enrich their brand presence and marketing tactics on the social network that’s increasingly becoming as important as the company website itself. The launch of the Timeline for brands has made it easy for brands to visually captivate the audience with their brand story. The other big move for increasing brand engagement came in the form of new types of ad formats and a Premium ad product called the ‘Reach Generator’. In a move to encourage more two-way interaction between brands and users by way of conversational marketing, Facebook is asking brands to engage in friendly and meaningful dialogue instead of distributing one-sided static brand messages.
Brands can now have their ads appear in their fans’ News Feeds. While some brands have been testing this ad format since the start of the year, News Feed ads were officially rolled out 2 weeks ago and will show up on users’ News Feeds as “Featured” content from pages they have chosen to connect to. This is the ad format that has attracted the maximum amount of criticism because users see them as being intrusive with brands trying to hog their personal News Feeds. Facebook has repeatedly addressed the backlash by confirming that all content in user News Feeds will remain organic, i.e., a user can only see News Feed ads from Pages whose content appears in the user’s News Feed anyway.
The good news for brands is that you can improve engagement by being a part of the daily activity on users’ News Feeds as opposed to being nestled in a margin to the left side that users may or may not pay attention to. A more notable aspect of the announcement is that users will gradually be able to see News Feed stories from Pages that their friends have connected to. This is a very compelling way for brands to capitalize on the “Friends of Fans” phenomenon that is exceptionally effective in influencer acquisition, as we – at Brand Karma – have repeatedly found in our client work. These ads will allow brands to maximize the potential of their true reach.
Next, there’s a new ad type even for the right hand margin on the home page. Traditionally, ads on the right hand side of your News Feed came from Facebook’s ‘Marketplace’ whereby the ads were usually direct-response ads with advertisers driving a specific call-to-action. The new Premium ads, on the other hand, will push dynamic content and distribute status updates and rich media posts from the brand Page to improve interaction with fans. Again, these ads have been available since last year (and we have been working with Facebook on a number of these campaigns for amplifying Page engagement for client Pages with a cogent content strategy), but were officially announced at Facebook’s recent Marketing conference in New York.
In my experience, the very nature of these ads makes them more suitable for cultivating influencers out of your existing fan-base than for pure fan acquisition campaigns. Furthermore, given that these ads are based on a CPM model (vs. the CPC model for Marketplace ads), they are better suited for multiple exposure to your brand’s activities in order to drive brand awareness and an indirect response.
Another Premium ad space made available to advertisers is the Facebook logout page. According to Facebook, there are 37 million unique logouts daily. By offering full page ad units to advertisers, Facebook is seeking to monetize every bit of its real estate on the web. Users will be greeted with full screen ads on the logout page starting April and we are waiting to see the many creative ways in which brand marketers will optimize this ad unit to their advantage.
A new marketing tactic for brand Pages was launched in the form of Offers. Just like brands can create events to attract attention, Facebook will now allow brand Pages to lay special emphasis on the products and services being promoted. This feature will be available to all Timeline Pages for free, and brands have a lot to gain from users clicking through an offer and exploring products and services within a brand’s Facebook experience.
Last but not least, the most significant announcement for advertisers was the introduction of Reach Generator. The Reach Generator will make use of all the different ad types discussed above and will distribute a single ad through several ad spaces – including the right-hand side of the home page, users’ News Feed, Facebook’s logout page, etc. – relevant to a brand. Traditionally, any post on a brand Page reached out, on an average, to about 16% of the brand’s Facebook fanbase. But the new Reach Generator has been positioned to offer a compelling 86% reach to advertisers by re-running page posts throughout the Facebook experience. Reach Generator will have the most significant impact of all advertising announcements – brands will be able to optimize their efforts in storytelling by using this feature to manage Page engagement and scale distribution of their content.
*Image Source: Facebook
With some big moves in stretching its capabilities far and beyond, Facebook has offered marketers and advertisers dramatically new ways of engaging influencers. It’s a win-win situation for Facebook and brands alike. By offering such powerful advertising & marketing features and making it nearly impossible for brands to ignore Facebook as a centerpiece of their digital marketing strategy, Facebook has exponentially increased the possibilities for monetizing its platform. On the other hand, these advertising enhancements have only made it easier for brands to reach out to their influencers and connect with them in a more efficient and conversational manner.