Facebook Marketing   Leave a comment

Millions of shoppers are constantly telling Facebook about themselves, what interests them, where they live, what they buy and who their friends are. That is a lot of invaluable consumer information. Facebook has regularly been introducing innovations that enable retailers and other marketers to use that detailed information to precisely target the consumers they wish to reach.

Retail  businesses that in outdoor gear and apparel now point ads at consumers who mention mountain bikes and similar terms in their personal interests sections of their Facebook profiles, as well as those who prefer certain brands.

Facebook members willingness to share detailed information about themselves, information that Facebook , in its drive to monetize its huge traffic, is making available to marketers in many ways.

Because Facebook’s innovations have come so rapidly over the past year, retailers and consumer goods manufacturers are only beginning to test them. Thousands of retailers have experimented with selling directly on Facebook. That friend-to-friend exchange occurs when a consumer clicks that he Likes a retailer or a product— whether that click occurs on
Facebook or on the retailer’s site. That information shows up on the consumer’s news feed, in effect a Facebook member’s home page, which shows posts from his friends and his own updates. The average Facebook member has 130 friends,
which means many other consumers will see every Like and comment a Facebook user makes.

The power of Facebook isn’t just about what happens on Facebook.com. With the launch of Facebook’s Open Graph, designed to facilitate the sharing of information between Facebook and other web sites through publicly available links known as application programming interfaces, or APIs.

Open Graph includes a number of social plug-ins, which are single lines of code a retailer can add to its site to incorporate Facebook features  like its Like button. When a consumer clicks the Like button on a retail site, or interacts with any other Facebook plug-in, that information is recorded by the retailer and also on Facebook where his friends can see that action
mentioned in their news feeds. Clicking the Like button on a news article, blog or retail web site. Each of those interactions tells Facebook—and e-retailers that host those features—something about that consumer.

 The e-retailer added the Like button to its product pages last August, three months after the site’s launch, and the page displays how many Facebook users have Liked the product. When a consumer clicks the button, that information is shared on Facebook.

But because clicks on the Like button are broadcast to the clicker’s Facebook friends, they did expose many new shoppers to the retailer along with an endorsement from someone they know. Most people have friends who have similar interests, so when they see that their friend likes a particular product it has a real impact.

Another plug-in, Facebook’s Comments Box, allows comments on an e-retail or other web site to appear both on the site and on the Facebook pages of the friends of the consumer who made the comment. A consumer has to be signed on to Facebook for their comments to be transmitted to Facebook. Since half of Facebook users visit the social network every
day, and an individual remains signed on unless she unclicks a box that keeps her signed on, millions of consumers are signed on to Facebook as they move around the web.  It’s great because when someone uses either the Like button or comments, they aren’t only endorsing the product.

Moreover, Facebook designed the feature so that a Facebook member sees her Facebook friends’ comments most prominently. That means that if a consumer named Colleen comments on a retailer’s web site, when Colleen’s friends
visit that site Colleen’s comment would appear higher than other shopper’s comments.

Marketers aren’t limited to inserting Facebook’s plug-ins into their site. For instance, Amazon.com Inc. last July began leveraging the information that consumers provide on Facebook into its own site to make shopping on Amazon even more personal.  The Amazon Facebook page also includes movie, book and music titles that are popular among the consumer’s friends, as well as suggestions based on his Facebook profile.   The Amazon Facebook page  illustrates the potential power of Facebook marketing.  There will also be many opportunities to market to consumers on Facebook itself, especially as the social network introduces a wider variety of advertising options.

Retailers can buy featured ads, which enable a retailer to place an ad on the right side of a consumer’s Facebook News Feed page, just under “Upcoming Events,” in the one advertising spot on that page. Merchants can also buy less expensive, self-service “Marketplace” ads that appear on one of four slots on the right side of profi le pages under “People You May Know.”

 ose Marketplace ads can be highly eff ective, says one consumer electronics accessories retailer who declined to be named. This retailer uses Facebook profi le data to show ads to a very targeted audience—the employees of a big rival. At a cost of only about $25 a month, the retailer is using those Marketplace ads to convince its competitor that its advertising budget is far larger than it actually is.

 us, when the retailer works with the social commerce technology company 8thBridge Inc. (formerly known as Alvenda) to host an Urban Decay sale on Facebook that is only open to consumers who follow HauteLook, the retailer can target women in a specific age range who Like specifi c cosmetic or beauty brands.  The retailer also targets consumers who Like its competitors, such as Gilt Groupe Inc.

That’s the idea behind Sponsored Stories. The off ering, which launched in January, is a targeted ad service that puts company logos alongside content from consumer comments that relate to the company.  The consumer’s friends then see that ad as they move around Facebook.

Consumers can click on the ads to visit advertisers’ Facebook pages. A consumer must have had a direct interaction with the brand through a Facebook channel, such as clicking that he Liked a post, in order for his information to be picked up as a Sponsored Story. A Facebook user that casually mentions a company or product in a post will not be mentioned in a Sponsored Story.

Using the ads to generate consumers Liking its brand has worked for 1-800-Flowers.com Inc., which runs both Marketplace and Sponsored Stories campaigns. During a three-week span in which it ran Marketplace ads and
Sponsored Stories that highlighted a consumer’s friend who Liked 1-800-Flowers, the retailer more the click-through rate of its normal Facebook ads. Facebook’s ability to leverage a consumer’s network of connections is one reason marketers like McDonald’s are turning to the social network to promote new products and—in the case of the fast food giant—even hire staff . Indeed, for online retailers, it’s hard to imagine another vehicle that will provide them with as much detailed information about so many shoppers.

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Posted July 9, 2011 by Anoop George Joseph in Uncategorized

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