MARCH 24, 2009
Don’t place ads—build brands.
More and more every day, the social networking giant Facebook is becoming a large part of the overall Internet experience. Company estimates state that over 175 million people have joined since its founding in 2005, and the users themselves contribute millions of pieces of content daily.
The February 2009 Facebook numbers are striking.
Each day during the month, Facebook users averaged over 3 billion minutes on the site. They updated their status 15 million times and became “fans” of a particular company, brand, product or person 3.5 million times daily.
In addition, Compete found that that US residents spent more time on Facebook than any other Website, beating out previous leader Yahoo!. However, Nielsen Online still ranks the site third behind AOL and Yahoo!.
But Facebook’s rapid user growth has not translated into advertising revenues.
The habits of social network users are one obstacle. In 2008, IDC found that 43% of social network users never clicked on ads, a dramatic difference from the 80% of other Internet users who did so at least once a year. Further, 23% of nonusers who clicked on an ad then made a purchase; only 11% of social network users who clicked on ads did the same.
If not through advertising, how can marketers leverage Facebook for their campaigns?
When marketing professionals were surveyed by TNS Media Intelligence on what objectives had the most social media potential, most said brand-building initiatives such as gaining consumer insights, building brand awareness and increasing customer loyalty.
None said increasing intent to purchase.
“If you’re going to build a community, don’t center it around your product, but rather on something deeply relevant to a particular consumer group,” said eMarketer CEO Geoff Ramsey. He also suggested keeping fans of your brand pages happy by giving them a lot of content and letting them share the love with others.