Facebook turned 10 years old this month. What is that, like, 70 in social media years? Does that mean Facebook is outdated? Yes. But that doesn’t mean it’s irrelevant.
More than half the people who use the internet use Facebook. That’s 1.3 billion people. So it’s definitely a platform marketers should be engaging.
Originally, Facebook was built on a closed model, a collection of relationships between people. And over the years it’s been a fairly passive thing. My colleague Mike calls it a cereal box: if it’s sitting in front of me, I’ll keep looking at the same thing every morning, but I don’t really interact with it much.
But Facebook has been making a lot of changes over the last 6 months or so to become more open. While Google – specializing in information – wants us to become more social, Facebook – specializing in social – wants us to stay on Facebook for our information searching. This is creating some interesting new opportunities for marketers in 2014.
Segment Your Audience via Graph Search
Remember all those interests (favorite movies, music, TV shows, etc.) that you “liked” a few years ago? Facebook’s Graph Search now indexes all of that and more to classify people and make their information searchable. Facebook has had this data for a long time, but now they’re opening it up to marketers – which creates opportunities for brands to be more relevant to their followers. Regional and global brands can now think more locally as they segment their audiences, showing targeted ads to people in specific regions or with specific interests.
Create Apps with Open Graph
A big opportunity in 2014 is to take advantage of open graph information when you build an app. When people use an app to tell Facebook they’re watching Breaking Bad on Netflix, and then their friends see it and say “me too!” this is an organic way of connecting people and letting them tell a passive story about a brand. Hundreds of millions of people are opting in to let various apps tell these stories on their behalf, and these stories are feeding the stream, without the brands having to do much to foster it.
Launch a Timeline Promotion
Facebook used to require third-party apps for promotions and had a lot of rules about how to execute them. But they’ve recently reduced their promotional restrictions and now you can advertise right on your timeline. To continue the metaphor from earlier, if you’re on the back of the cereal box, and your users are staring at it every day, you need to be meaningful and relevant, or offer something for free. Instead of costing you $50K to run a promotion like it did in the early days, now you can offer the “cereal box prize” right on your wall. This is a huge opportunity for your Facebook content. It allows you to be more agile, and try more frequent, smaller promotions instead of one big one, and test them and see which variation works the best.
Run Video Ads
Video ads in the Facebook stream are another big deal for 2014. A lot of consumers won’t like it, but the reality is probably that over time, people will get used to being interrupted in this space just like they are on Hulu or elsewhere. So this will be an opportunity for advertisers to show video ads to target audiences.
Remarket with Facebook Exchange
Facebook Exchange takes data from your activities on sites other than Facebook, and then serves it up us as an ad or social content within Facebook. So a consumer who searches Google for boots and then goes to Facebook might see an ad for boots in the right rail. This is a going to be a great re-marketing opportunity for brands.
Facebook might be the grandpappy of social media sites, but that doesn’t mean he’s irrelevant. As Facebook continues to grow and change, marketers can take advantage of these new opportunities to increase meaningful engagement with their fans.
If you’re interesting in learning more about this, watch this video of a conversation I had about Facebook marketing with my colleagues at Hanson’s Digital Summit late last year.