Facebook says that its revamped brand pages introduced late month, which offer advertisers “more capabilities to create splashy, media-rich pages” at no cost, are “off to a strong start,” reports Reuters’ Alexei Oreskovic. Eight million brands –- “from carmakers to rock bands” –- already have taken advantage of the new format, which allows advertisers to offer coupons and promotions on their pages, and encourages customized pages highlighting milestones and achievements.
“Facebook's move to cozy up to big consumer brands is key to its efforts to boost revenue as the company prepares for an initial public offering that could value the 8-year-old company at up to $100 billion,” Oreskovic points out. Those marketers are hoping to reach a bigger slice of Facebook’s 845-million-member pie, of course.
"If there's a specific message we want to drive, we know this guarantees we'll get in front of them," Steve Baer, director of strategy at Dr Pepper’s digital marketing agency, Code and Theory, a New York digital marketing agency that recently ran a paid promotion for Dr Pepper using Facebook's new ads.
Oreskovic also talks to the director of interactive marketing and loyalty at Einstein Bros Bagels, a restaurant chain, who was pleased that 10% the 32,000 users who claimed a coupon recently on Facebook actually redeemed it. Still, most of the chain’s money goes to Google and Brain Lambert says its strategy for Facebook is “still evolving.”
So are those of a lot of start-up companies, the Wall Street Journal’s Shayndi Rice reports from the South By Southwest conference this morning.
“While social games maker Zynga Inc. and other game companies have built themselves off Facebook and its 845 million users, start-ups at the conference began to express a different fear: That a more profit-oriented Facebook may eventually demand steep tolls for using the social network to reach end users with software and services,” Rice writes.
More than seven million apps and websites have been integrated with Facebook, giving them free access to users and providing the social network with detailed insights into users that it utilizes to better target its advertising.
Some companies are afraid that this symbiotic relationship may change even while Facebook itself realizes that revenue-sharing companies such as Zynga, which is behind games such as “FarmVille,” are attempting to establish their own identities. That could put pressure on Facebook’s bottom line.
Writing a guest post in Forbes, Badgeville co-founder and CEO Kris Duggan cites new research from Ehrenberg-Bass Institute that finds that only 1% of users who “like” pages ever return to those pages, leading him to conclude that the “free” pages Facebook offers to businesses don’t “scale.”
“Sure, page content may show up in a users’ stream if Facebook’s algorithm determines it relevant to the user and they happen to be watching their stream at the right time, but ultimately Facebook’s entire business model is built around you having to advertise to adequately reach your audience,” Duggan writes.
It may not surprise you that Duggan has a solution to enable businesses to add social experiences to tap into their loyalists to add value to their businesses.
“At the heart of these social experiences is reputation and gamification, highlighting user status for their contributions and engagement to your community,” says the gamification executive. “Adding both social experiences and gamification to an online experience is proven time and again to drive behavior and provide real business value.”
In another interesting story in the Wall Street Journal this morning, Emily Glazer interviews Procter & Gamble’s marketing chief, Marc Pritchard, about its plans for the future. And, as the headline indicates, Pritchard’s looking to “go digital” as the company attempts to cut $1 billion from its ad budget. How are brands responding to the “smaller, digital budgets,” he’s asked.
“Some brands that have very little money get very innovative. Aussie [Hair Care] is 100% digital. Secret [deodorant] is 100% digital. Old Spice [deodorant] didn't have that much money. They didn't advertise "Smell Like a Man, Man" at the Super Bowl; it was before the Super Bowl. Then they got this huge lift on YouTube, then they amplified it in PR, amplified it on Twitter,” Pritchard replies.
By the way, the brand that’s “most engaged with” across the pond has a “P” and a “G” in its name, but it has nothing to do with the folks in Cincinnati. Indeed, it’s a tea owned by archrival Unilever.
PG Tips scored the highest engagement level out of 250 UK brands measured in February by the iProspect Engagement Index, which shows the level to which people interact with brands on Facebook, according to a story by Marketing’s Sarah Shearman published on Brand Republic. The index combines the number of "likes" a brand has with data from the recently introduced "people talking about this" metric.
“Nearly two out of 10 of its fans actively responded to the brand's page in a seven-day period, by liking, commenting, posting, responding to polls or sending RSVPs,” Shearman reports.
Launched in the 1930s, PG T ips “was originally called Pre-Gest-Tee, as it was thought that tea aided digestion,” according to the company’s website. “This was soon abbreviated to PG by grocers and van salesmen. The company adopted this as the official name and added ‘tips’.”
Moral of the story: “Social networks” -- who used to be known as “people” -- have always had a say in the destiny of brands that are listening to them.