Wag The Dog Agency's Blog

New Facebook ad capabilities are hugely significant
February 11, 2011, 8:28 AM
Filed under: Uncategorized

Facebook makes a lot of changes. Anyone who has developed on the platform, or worked with us on marketing in Facebook, wull know that. Some changes are minor, some are technical, some relate more directly to brand presence on Facebook. In the last few days they have made 2 big changes that directly affect how brands can use Facebook for marketing purposes.

The first chnage is the introduction of a new ad unit. The unit, called ‘sponsored stories’, allows brands to promote engagement taking place on their brand page to a wider audience of friends of those participating users. But, I’m sure many of you will say, doesn’t that happen anyway? Isn’t that the whole point of Facebook – the viral possibilities it offers when users engage with page content?  Well, yes it is the point, but no it doesnt always happen or always work the way a brand wants it to. Like Google, the algorythm rules and guaranteeing lots of ‘pass on’ from user engagements with a post or piece of content on your page wasn’t possible. Until now.

In the past, how many of your friends see an action or interaction you take on a brand page depends on how engaging that piece of content is. If the content has a high interaction (that is, generates a lot of likes, comments) more of your friends will see your action. If it’s not as popular, only a few might. Facebook determine this.  What this ad unit does is removes that ‘quality filer’ in the viral mechanic. If the brand chooses to buy this ad, every one of your friends will have seen that action you took, guaranteed. So it removes doubt, but it also pushes out content that might not be as engaging. True, there has to be a user action taken, but now there is no process that reviews the content across all users to get a normalized ‘average’ of how good that content is. Every person that likes it is deemed to have endorsed it, and all their friends will know about it, all the time.

Second, brands can now dictate the landing page (what we commonly call tabs, or FBML tabs) that users are directed to within a brand profile. Before, the ability to do this was limited to only user who were not fans, and only one page could be specified. Now ads can direct to a nominated tab, and ‘organic’ traffic to a different ‘welcome’ type tab, OR we can develop multiple tabs and ‘split test’ their effectiveness at generating likes, engaging users in a specific action, or capturing data.  It’s certainly arguable that this new capability makes Facebook brand pages one step close to being viable as the sole web presence for a brand or business, replacing the ‘traditional’ website.  Whatever your view, this is a big step forward and one Wag The Dog will be looking to test in the coming weeks….


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