Facebook had its first Facebook Marketing Conference (fMC), a tip of the hat to the advertisers telling them that amidst all the changes in the past year, they haven’t been forgotten. So with all these announcements what will marketers need to be aware of? Here’s a rundown:
- The Facebook Timeline for brands – Now you need to make your content stickier. Timeline is designed to help you optimize engagement, but also build transparency. Tell a story on your timeline with pictures or other multimedia elements. Your first sale, your first partnership, the day you announced a new product and so on. And don’t forget the apps; according to the latest Vitrue data apps lead the pack as being the most engaging content. Nobody wants to engage with a boring story, so make sure the story you are telling on your timeline is worth sharing.
- Brands can now receive direct, private messages from fans. This is a whole new realm of customer service for Facebook, and will be a huge factor in how you build real relationships with fans.
- The mobile ads are here – Well this wasn’t much of a surprise considering that Facebook has over 400 million mobile users. In this case, necessity was the mother of invention and this should be the required kick in the pants for marketers to make their sites mobile friendly. Mobile usage grew by 200% in 2011 and this number is expected to grow even more in 2012. We are not saying this segment is without risks, but this segment of marketing brings even more opportunities. Facebook is offering mobile advertising through their Premium product.
- Real-time insights – For all those who were griping about how late the new Facebook insights were, this is heaven sent. You will get these insights in real-time now. This also means marketers will have access to actionable insights, which will allow them to tailor their advertising depending on how the ads are performing.
- fMC introduces the Reach Generator – Currently, according to Facebook, your posts may only reach 16% of your fans each week. Reach Generator guarantees you will reach 75% of your fans each month and an estimated 50% of fans each week. Your brand’s posts will be seen by fans as a sponsored story on the right-hand side of their homepage or in their news feed on desktop or mobile.
- Shorter is sweeter when it comes to ads – To get more ads squeezed into the Facebook sidebar, the character display limit has been reduced to 90 characters. Any longer, and the message gets truncated. Thus, marketers need to get creative since less is more. Will this reduce the ad costs? Probably not, seeing as they are in such high demand. The cost will depend on how the marketers bid.
- Custom tabs will now have more canvas space for design, from 520px to 810px. They will also have a new home, which is in the navigation bar below the cover photo. For your current tabs, they will be centered in the middle of the new, larger canvas space.
With today’s announcements, marketers will have to work harder on telling meaningful stories. Timeline creates a really exciting opportunity for brand transparency, so it will be interesting to see who the trendsetters are.