Facebook innovation - measurement, metrics and brand strategy

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Today I attended eConsultancy’s ‘Facebook Innovation Briefing’, with Christian Gladwell from Human-Digital. Christian’s talk focused on three key areas about the commercial use of  Facebook:

1. Ensuring that Facebook is the right platform for your brand

Facebook  will often not be the correct platform for a brand’s strategy. The first question a brand should be asking itself about Facebook is ‘Does Facebook meet our business needs?’

Having a pretty Facebook page is nice. It’s better, and indeed an ego boost,  when it has several thousand fans. But if it’s not delivering against business needs, however, then it’s simply a pretty useless online channel.

Brands should, instead, use Facebook as part of their overall digital (or integrated) campaign strategy. They should be looking at Facebook as a useful tool for:

  • Channeling content
  • Communicating brand voice
  • Organic distribution
  • Fostering the right kinds of relationships with customers or consumers

The types of brands who can benefit most from this approach are megabrands (like Coca Cola), challenger brands, charities and those who have genius, creative, social ideas.

2. Measurement and Analysis

Facebook offers an unparalleled opportunity for online market research, especially for bigger brands. While the numbers are important, knowing how to use the numbers and feed back into overall strategy is even more important. We should use Facebook as a tool for tracking the behavioural patterns of consumers and we should be looking at innovative ways of doing it.

Aside from the metrics Facebook Insights offers us, advertising on Facebook provides a great way for targeted research. It allows us to engage consumers, measure the success of above-the-line advertising and, crucially, it allows us to measure that engagement. If that engagement ends in a conversion, even better. Experimenting with your Facebook advertising plan is key to your analytical success.

Going forward, Questions and Places will give brands the opportunity to obtain better, more accurate data. We’ve already discussed the impact Questions can have on your brand and Places could develop into a key way to pull customers from the streets into stores with coupon schemes, rewards and adverts targeted at individuals. Depending on the data available, brands could start to use it as part of their in-store strategy.

3. The future direction of Facebook

Forward-thinking brands will be looking to strategies that work and using Facebook in an innovative way will be pointless if it doesn’t deliver value. F-commerce (e-commerce on Facebook) is on the cusp of taking off and some airlines like the US carrier, Delta Airlines, have started to sell tickets via Facebook.

The importance of Questions and Places will continue to grow while Facebook’s group-buying scheme will ensure that business can increase their ability to measure their success, while spending less for the privilege, with the potential for selling their products direct to the consumer.

However, once again, businesses will have to ensure that using Facebook for commerce is the right business decision as it will not suit all business models.

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