Hong Kong– Facebook has 500 million users globally but it is yet to command a strong presence with most of the Chinese population as it is banned in China. However, popularity of the social networking site is accelerating among a predominantly Chinese-speaking population in Taiwan.
According to comScore, November 2010 was a milestone where the number of total unique visitors for Facebook at 8.61 million trailed closely behind its rival Yahoo’s Wretch.cc site (Taiwan’s local social network).
Facebook said it hit 9 million monthly active users in Taiwan in January 2011.
7-Eleven: Augmented Reality and Facebook
So how could brands tap Facebook for their marketing campaigns? Here’s one case study featuring convenience store chain 7-Eleven in Taiwan.
In November 2010, 7-Eleven rolled out an augmented reality (AR) billboard and Facebook campaign in Taipei’s Ximending and Kaoshiung’s Dream Mall. The campaign, created by wwwins Isobar Taiwan, was designed to create buzz and increase brand preference by offering a fun experience to consumers.
The AR digital billboard was equipped with face-recognition technology that virtually attached 7-Eleven Taiwan’s mascot Open Chan’s headgear on consumers’ heads. The convenience store representative would then upload the photo onto the campaign site as well as 7-Eleven’s Facebook page so that participants could share with their friends.
Anyone who had his or her photo taken would then earn a point; the point could be used toward the acquisition of an Open Chan toy. (Otherwise, a shopper must spend NT$60 at a 7-Eleven store to acquire a point.)
7-Eleven then tapped its 820,000 Facebook fans to encourage them to go to its convenience stores around Taipei and Kaoshiung. But anyone who could not turn up during the promotion’s scheduled weekends could also try the AR photo shoot via a Web application online.
The campaign, which ended in late December, primarily used Facebook, interactive digital billboards, online advertising, and point-of-sale touch screens in 7-Eleven stores. To coincide with the digital push, a PR event that invited 7-Eleven’s ambassador, Taiwanese singer Jolin Tsai, was held to announce its collectible Open Chan toy and its interactive billboard event.
Freda Shao, managing director of wwwins Isobar Taiwan, said the campaign’s two main key performance indicators (KPIs) included the number of people who participated at the digital billboard event and the amount of media coverage or earned media generated from the buzz.
She said 30,000 consumers participated at the outdoor event and 5,000 used the Web application. 7-Eleven is still consolidating the earned media metrics derived from the campaign.
One challenge involved selecting an ideal location with an LED billboard, which is still uncommon in Taiwan. The logistics of ensuring the AR face detection technology in the busy shopping district of Ximending in Taipei was another challenge.
Shao said the branded entertainment strategy was designed to create a fun consumer experience and drive word of mouth on Facebook, resulting in an increased positive impression of 7-Eleven. Engaging consumers in this way is more effective compared to simply launching a traditional paid media campaign, she added.
Using AR technology was credited with helping 7-Eleven boost content on its Facebook page, which saw more than 10,000 pictures posted on the social networking site.
7-Eleven launched its Facebook fan page in October 2009; following the AR campaign, it has more than 1 million fans on its brand page.
Other wwins Isobar clients that leverage Facebook in Taiwan include Hennessey, adidas women, and T-cat courier service.
Facebook in Asia
In October 2010, Facebook appointed Jayne Leung, a former Google employee, as director of North Asia based in Hong Kong responsible for ad sales in the region.
Marketers in North Asia could either tap Facebook to buy premium advertising or through CPC buy via Facebook Marketplace.
There are six ad formats in Facebook’s premium ad offering that include like, event, poll, app, video, and standard click-through.
However, instead of allocating a separate “social media budget” for Facebook advertising, Leung prefers marketers to consider the social site as providing mass reach through engagement that will increase brand awareness among consumers.
According to Leung, there are 3.9 million monthly active users in Hong Kong and each visitor clocks around 37 visits per month. Industry sectors that have shown interest from the city include Telcos, banks, and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG).
Facebook opened its ad sales office in Singapore in September 2010 and nabbed Stephen Dolan from Microsoft as commercial director for Singapore and Southeast Asia. Leung reports to Stephen Dolan who now oversees North Asia as well.