Year-end recap of some of Facebook's biggest moments in 2012.
From social media marketers up in arms about Promoted Posts to following the glory of the London 2012 Olymic Games, Facebook provided some spectacular moments this year. Let's continue the recap.
Social media marketers continually strive to create engaging content. With so much content being generated, sometimes being unique and engaging is not enough. How do you get your content noticed? This year, Facebook had the sensibility to acknowledge the work that goes into creating engaging posts and introduced a new way to advertise content into users News Feeds: Promoted Posts. Promoted Posts give you the power to override Facebook’s Open Graph and extend the reach of a post to more of the people who “Like” your page, as well as their friends who have interacted with the post by liking, sharing, commenting or claiming an offer from the post. What sets Promoted Posts apart is that they will show up in the news feed as a Sponsored Story, instead of a more traditional ad along the side of the dashboard. Promoted Post's are visible in the desk top and mobile news feeds for up to three days. This is the first advertising product for marketplace ads that allows advertisers to reach Facebook mobile users. A Page must have at least 400 “Likes” to have the ability to use Promoted Posts, which excludes some small businesses; they will have to stick to employing Facebook ads until they reach the 400 required “Likes” that it takes to promote a post. Marketers have been abuzz since Facebook’s Promoted Posts were introduced, worrying they were playing a losing game. Our response was that Paying for a Promoted Post simply increases the weight of the post in the News Feed, making it more likely to be seen than the average post, however, the only sure way you will get a fan to see all of your posts is to encourage them to frequent your Page. The best way to grow your fan base is still organically through highly engaging, sharable content. No need to fear Promoted Posts!
Facebook Ad Exchange
Up until recently, all of Facebook’s advertising products have worked within the realm of Facebook itself. Facebook's real-time bidding ads run through Facebook Ad Exchange pull information from your web browsing activities outside of Facebook to refine Facebook ads to be more relevant and timely. After the ads are targeted, the ad prices shift like they would in auction-style bidding. We’re looking forward to the statistics to come as Facebook more widely releases and puts into practice real-time ad bidding through Facebook Exchange. It could be just what Facebook needs to grow ad revenue and connect the platform with other advertising insights, keeping pace with what users will surely some to expect as the user experience takes baby steps toward matching their stride and providing seamless, relevant information for consumers. Facebook Ad Exchange will help Facebook be more competitive with with Google and Yahoo advertising.
Facebook was right on target with the idea to build their new mobile marketing product, the mobile ad network. The network is set to change the way Facebook ads are presented on mobile devices by connecting users to other sites through their Facebook accounts, with an interface that is not purely social. Mobile Advertising Hub reported, “During 2011, more than 33% of the traffic on Facebook (one of the most-visited websites in the world) came from mobile devices – up from 1% in 2008. This is a sure sign that more people are becoming comfortable with using their mobile devices to visit their favorite websites, and companies need to be prepared to meet these users wherever they are, with a mobile device, smartphone, and in any location”. Facebook’s entered this up-and-coming and extremely competitive market with their Mobile Ad Network, which was in the testing phase of development earlier this year. The project was put on hold at the ned of the year, with this statement from Facebook's Brandon McCormick, “We are pausing our mobile ads test off of Facebook. While the results we have seen and the feedback from partners has been positive, our focus is on scaling ads in mobile news feed before ads off of Facebook. We have learned a lot from this test that will be useful in the future.” No question this is just a pause; we look forward to seeing how Facebook reworks this idea in the new year.
Facebook announced a new Pages structure for global brands late in the year. The new Page structure simplifies the process of sharing local information with global customers by streamlining the different local Pages with the main Page, which is then directed toward the location with the brand’s biggest presence. Brands that have shifted to the new format have done so relatively painlessly. Of course, there may be some work involved if you decide to customize your Timeline cover and profile photos specifically for different audiences, but in general, the shift just translates your page so that it's in the language of all the audiences you choose to incorporate. In order to adopt the Global Pages for your brand, it's necessary to work with a Facebook representative. From a business and marketing perspective, we think Facebook Global Pages have great potential to help global audiences feel more included with brands, and less alienated because of language differences. How great will it be that your fans from all over the world can engage with each other on your Page? Finally, as the spotlight remains on Facebook to drive revenue, ad sales are likely to see an increase as brands reach their global audiences through international ads, and international brands pump up ad dollars to maximize the new Global Pages reach as well. At the end of the day, Global Pages is a great addition to Facebook’s brand building toolbox.
U.S. Presidential Election: Facebook and CNN Partnership
CNN announced in July that they would be partnering with Facebook to provide “an interactive and uniquely social experience for CNN’s on-air, mobile and online audiences and Facebook’s more than 160 million U.S. users”. The partnership allowed Facebook to act as a “second screen” for election coverage, featuring Facebook surveys, metrics of the buzz on Facebook and the “I’m Voting” Facebook app. The “I’m Voting” app let users make the commitment to vote (which could be shared with their friends on their Facebook page) and to choose the issues and candidates that were most important to them. The collaboration between CNN and Facebook to offer up-to-the-minute insights and election statistics continued with the Facebook and CNN Election Insight page. “There are as many active Facebook users in the U.S. as there are eligible voters.” The site displayed what people were saying about the biggest issues in the election. They also displayed interesting stats, such as who was being talked about most day to day on Facebook, as well as questions being asked to keep the conversations flowing. In terms of social media this was an historic election, as it was the most social election to date.
Gold Medal in Social Media
Amidst the spirit and celebration of the start of the London 2012 Olympics, there was some frustration in the U.S. when NBC chose to broadcast the games not in real-time, but during prime-time hours. It is one thing to DVR your favorite competitions, however, in this day and age fans are used to the most up-to-date information being available at their fingertips, with the click of a mouse or a tap on their smart phone. The frustration with the network lead to gushes into Twitter’s News Feed using the hashtag #NBCFail. Luckily, social media stepped up to fill in the gaps with several social media hot spots. Fans cheered to their hearts content supported by information-rich sites such as NBC Olympics Twitter Tracker, Explore London 2012 on Facebook and The Olympic Athletes' Hub. In our view, social media earned the gold.
Happy New Year from all of us at Sociality Squared! We're looking forward to what the 2013 has in store.