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How Advanced Marketers Will Use Facebook in 2012

cormier-jason
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As digital marketers, we’re frequently reminded magic formulas don’t really exist. Still, our experimentation and experiences often lead to insights about “what’s next.” Hopefully, the following insights and sample tools mentioned in this article will inspire your consideration (and actions) for 2012.

What Happened in 2011

For most brands, perhaps the most predominant focus with Facebook marketing in 2011 was growing the fan base. We saw a variety of custom Facebook applications (tabs) paired with Facebook ad buys – where requiring a Like (the becoming of a fan for that page) was the first or even final call to action.

As a result, some of the most common questions emerging were:

  • What’s the value of a Facebook fan?
  • How many Facebook fans shouldwe have?
  • Now that we have these fans, what should we do with them? 
  • What can we be doing with Facebook outside of Facebook?

And honestly, many have even asked, “why are we doing this again?”

It’s The Data, Stupid

If you’re saying, “oh no, not another discussion on analytics or the latest changes in Facebook Insights,” fear not. This discussion goes beyond tracking simple key performance indicators (KPIs) within some marketing dashboard that spits out monthly reporting with +/- percentages.

On the contrary, it goes straight to the core of how companies can use a new breed of tools leveraging Facebook data to dramatically improve advertising results, content creation and overall business strategies. For the sake of brevity, we’ll take a quick look at two tools in particular: CalmSea and InfiniGraph.

CalmSea

CalmSea is a technology platform that enables you to create a conversion-based offer that can be accessed via a website, email, tweet, mobile device or Facebook page. As an example, let’s consider a coupon.

Normally, the basic data you would expect to collect with an online coupon might consist of clicks, shares and redemptions. Of course, you may also collect some demographics – or even additional data, depending on form-related entries required of the user in order to get the coupon.

The trick with CalmSea lies within an extra click that prompts your Facebook authorization in exchange for access to the coupon (or other offer). This authorization includes access to 3-4 of your Facebook permissions, which provides the CalmSea platform with multiple data points specific to your social graph (likes, interests, demographics, friends, etc.).

All of this activity can take place on any web page, including your ability to share the coupon with others on Facebook without actually ever going to your Facebook page.

When I spoke to Vivek Subramanian, VP of Products for CalmSea, he said they are seeing upwards of a 70 percent acceptance rate on the permissions authorization for branded apps (which could include coupons, sweepstakes, private sales, group buys and more).

The Power of The Data

CalmSea takes the Facebook user interactions and news feeds around the given offer – then combines that data with purchase/conversion analytics (could be Google Analytics) to aggregate and display insights on segments of users/customers with the highest levels of:

  • Engagement 
  • Profitability
  • Influence

This kind of data goes beyond Facebook Insights, in that it enables you to build predictive models based on distinct attributes that best describe current and potential customers with respect to the three items listed above.

calmsea-screenshot

In the figure above, you can get a slight feel for CalmSea’s dashboard, which demonstrates, among other items, the ability to view social insights compared to purchase data insights on users who have authorized the offer.

Depending on your role in the company (media buyer, content creator, channel partner/affiliate manager, etc.) this kind of data ideally improves how and where you spend your time and money.

The initial offer you develop with a platform like CalmSea will likely have a consistent conversion rate with similar offers you may have conducted in the past. It’s the offers that follow, leveraging the data collected from your first use of the platform, that stand to produce significantly improved results.

InfiniGraph

The InfiniGraph platform aggregates Facebook and Twitter data for the purpose of identifying relevant (real-time) affinities, content and interests that are trending around a particular brand, product or industry. There are two key considerations with respect to how this platform’s output produces actionable value:

  • Improved performance on your Facebook ads: Gives you insights to new interests/keywords you should be targeting as part of your selection process within Facebook’s ad platform.
  • Insights to assist with content creation and curation:Gives you a clear picture and delivery mechanism for content that is trending via a content “Trend Score” that algorithmically combines likes, comments, clicks, retweets, and shares.

InfiniGraph’s approach to identifying content that’s trending on Facebook, in particular, provides a level opportunity that is certainly missed by many brands wishing to dive deeper into content strategy (check out the Digital Path to Social Media Success to view the four kinds of content you could be addressing).

To describe how this works, imagine a series of Facebook status updates that are posted about subject matter relevant to your fans (on your Facebook page or another Facebook page your fans follow).

ingigraph-xmas-statuses 

In the sample from InfiGraph above, you can see the dates these status updates were posted, in addition to the enormous amounts of engagement they received. Here’s the problem: Think of how many fans of this page would also be interested in this content, but simply didn’t see it. Now think of how quickly those status updates will slide down the page and disappear.

As Chase McMichael, President of InfiniGraph, told me, “Humans can’t keep up with trending content, nor can they see how content trends across multiple Facebook pages containing fans with similar interest.”

McMichael alludes to “crowdsourcing” of the human voice around collective interests and actions. Not only can this aid in the repurposing of content otherwise lost, but as McMichael so eloquently puts it: “you can know where to double-down from a media buying perspective. Who needs comScore when you have a resource that is guiding you where to advertise based on what a large audience is in essence telling you?”

Wrap-up

Although the summaries on these platforms don’t do them justice, my hope is you’ll be inspired to dig deeper regarding the possibilities they offer. It will be interesting to see how Facebook will continue enabling access to data, but I think it’s a safe prediction that advanced marketers will leverage it to the hilt.

On a final note, I’ll bid you a farewell to 2011 with my favorite quote of the year:

“Data will become the new soil in which our ideas will grow, and data whisperers will become the new messiahs.” – Jonathan Mildenhall, VP of Global Advertising Strategy at Coca-Cola


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