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Filed under: All Articles > Industry News
By: NMK Created on: February 25th, 2010
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The annual Technology for Marketing and Advertising exhibition took place this week at London’s Earls Court, bringing together some of the UK’s leading Internet marketing innovators. New Media Knowledge checked in to watch Facebook demonstrate its offering for advertisers.

Advertising over the social network Facebook appeals to marketers due to its sheer size (400 million users worldwide) and its incredible potential for targeted campaigns. At this year’s Technology for Marketing and Advertising (TFM&A) exhibition in London one of the keynote speakers amongst more than 200 exhibitors was Facebook’s UK commercial director, Stephen Haines.

Speaking to a packed auditorium, Haines opened by reiterating that – with more than 24 million UK users, 11 million of which access the site daily – “the whole social thing has exploded.”

While the female (52 per cent) to male (48 per cent) gender split has more or less remained the same in the last two years, what has changed is the age, with over 35s forming the fastest-growing age group.

One of the ways in which marketers can begin to take advantage of Facebook, Haines said, was to use its advertising tab, which enables companies to select audiences and calculates potential targets according to a number of criteria, such as age, gender, location and personal interest.

Beyond advertising

According to Haines, using Facebook to market to customers brings two different forms of marketing into play: “bought media” and “earned media”. Bought media includes ads purchased via Facebook’s advertising tool and pushed to potentially interested parties. Once people act upon those ads it becomes apparent in their newsfeed, which is then viewed by that person’s friends. With an average of 120 friends per user, this “viral” form of advertising can be extremely effective in spreading the ad’s popularity, which Haines termed “earned media”.

“Looking at the how things move virally through the social graph, it’s the most effective form of marketing,” Haines told delegates.

Haines said that many big brands were moving beyond traditional Web marketing by forming intuitive Facebook pages to gain even further interaction with, and insight from, their customers.

One such example is soap firm Dove, which created a Facebook page to specifically target 22-40-year old women and act as an extra way to interact with customers online beyond its own website.

As well as using Facebook as a way to draw potential customers, some companies have used their Facebook sites as market research to further product development, Haines said. One such example was Walker’s Crisps, which received one million votes in a recent poll to choose a new flavour for the company to develop.

“Throw out whatever you did in the last ten years and really think about what you want to do with your [organisation’s] Facebook page,” Haines told delegates. “We talk to creative agencies and many often still judge Facebook as a traditional static page.”

Top tips

Haines said there were several key steps to creating a successful Facebook page. Make sure the page is social, keep it simple, don’t use “old metrics” to define success – click-through rates are not the only metric, and avoid thinking in a “campaign” mindset on Facebook.

“Fans are still there after marketing campaigns,” Haines advised. “Have conversations with your users. Only create fan pages if you’re serious about using Facebook as a long-term strategy. If not, don’t bother with fan pages, stick to ads.”

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