Magazine article Marketing

Friends and Influence

Magazine article Marketing

Friends and Influence

Article excerpt

Facebook is keen to court brands, but must still keep consumers in mind, says Sarah Shearman.

Despite having 600m 'friends' across the globe, Facebook has, of late, been turning its attention to the befriending of brands.

Glimpses into its strategy of recruiting brands by developing a platform that allows for more advertiser creativity emerged earlier this year, when Facebook held its 'Influencer Summit'. It flew in top creatives and executives from UK ad agencies to its offices in Palo Alto, California, to discuss exactly what brands want from the platform and how they can work together.

The latest iteration of the social network's self-proclaimed drive to 'inspire, educate and empower' the marketing community came into focus over Easter, with the unveiling of Facebook Studio - its 'celebration' of creativity on the platform.

Creative resource

The portal invites brands and agencies to upload their best Facebook campaigns, throwing down the gauntlet for members of the creative industry to discuss their effectiveness, choosing whether or not to 'like' the work.

Popular campaigns featured on the portal include Coca-Cola's 'Like Machine' and Reinert Sausages' 'Wurst Face-App'.

While Facebook Studio could be viewed as a mouthpiece for marketers to blow their own trumpets, Facebook wants it to be a valuable resource for creating effective campaigns, even featuring tutorials through its 'learning lab' tab.

David Parfect, Facebook's agency sales group head, says that the site has been working with the industry to help create better Facebook campaigns and integrate them with offline activity.

'We are always listening to feedback from brands and trying to make any changes on the site easier to understand,' he explains. 'Facebook is giving brands the opportunity to see what more the platform has to offer, beyond just buying an engagement ad.'

Nigel Gwilliam, digital consultant at the IPA, believes that creativity for advertisers on Facebook has significantly improved and continues to evolve. The extension of the Facebook footprint with check-in tool, Places, provides what he calls 'tremendous opportunities for smart ideas'.

'The important next step will be for brands to integrate Facebook activity into the real world, to drive engagement, entertainment and participation,' he adds.

The latest figures from the Internet Advertising Bureau show that brands are increasing their marketing spend on Facebook, with social media accounting for a 200% surge in display advertising growth. But it is the wider opportunities beyond paid-for media that are capturing brands' attention and shaping Facebook's strategy. …

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