Leveraging Facebook for Performance – Time to Catch Up

Having worked extensively with agencies and brand managers in this region for the past 17 years, the majority of campaigns that I have seen signed off are brand communications focused and their effectiveness retroactively measured.

Attributing sales lifts or dips to corresponding advertising activity isn’t the most accurate way of determining ROI given the ability to track conversion becoming commonplace. But till today this is the primary method of determining if marketing activities are successful for a surprising number of established brands and effectiveness award submissions.

My peers and I have also come across a handful of marketing managers and business owners who are happy to set out how much they expect acquiring a customer to cost. These marketers would eventually track the spend-values of new customers acquired from different channels and the joy they derive from this is infectious. While one side saw a lack of tracking sophistication, this handful often matured to take the opposite extreme of only being interested in hard metrics, seeing little value in investing on initiatives to build trust and brand affinity.

I wondered if this divide is unique to Asia, so I started reviewing the kinds of marketing activities deployed on Facebook around the world along with its performance metrics. And the gap in maturity I see confirms that this region has some catching up to do.

Campaigns on Facebook from Western markets show a wide range of objectives from fan acquisition to lead generation to increasing spend-per-customer. There is also a mixing up of short-term campaigns with a variety of always-on initiatives and Facebook dovetailing into a cross-marketing mix that combines email, other social networks, search, display, and in-store POSM.

The majority of Facebook initiatives that have been given the light of day in Asia are campaign based and quite a few center around Facebook apps. Always-on initiatives tend to focus on fan acquisition and often do not go beyond driving engagement with fans. Marketers here are often unable to connect Facebook with the rest of their marketing channels and there is little leveraging of opportunities across channels.

Tracking wise, only the savvier e-commerce players aggregate data all the way to the completion of a sale. Most other marketers are not sure how much detail they can expect from tracking on Facebook, in a Facebook app, and activities on their website or mobile apps.

In reaction to what I’ve seen, this is the first in a series of posts to help provide some quick and simple suggestions to help marketers in the region get more out of Facebook – from the nifty features already there to integrating with other channels to tracking:

1. Boosting email conversions. You can use Facebook’s Custom Audiences to target those who have opened an email but not acted further by sending them a follow-up or reminder message through personalized Facebook ads. I’ve seen the resulting uplift in metrics of these initiatives and I really think this is a great way to supplement and boost the performance of email campaigns. Customers sometimes just need a well-placed and well-timed reminder to trigger them into action.

2. Increasing the number of a specific profile of followers. Not all audiences are the same on Facebook. Some fans are happy to get updates and not engage. Others love to engage regularly by liking and commenting. And there are those fans who will visit your store and make a purchase from you when updates are sent. Facebook has a great and often underutilized tool called lookalike audiences, which helps you find more of a type of audience on Facebook and target them with a range of generic or personalized messages. So if you’re wondering what to do with all the people who engaged with a Facebook app you launched or are wondering how you can get more fans who love sharing and talking about your brand, this is a very useful feature to leverage.

3. Reconnecting with your customers. Facebook is sometimes called the social glue that helps people who have drifted apart reconnect. Brands and marketers also have a way to reconnect with customers who haven’t opened their emails in a long while or those faithful customers who haven’t visited a store recently. The Custom Audiences feature again is wonderful at targeting these lapsed profiles with a message letting them know they are missed.

Some marketers may have concerns about sharing personal information of their customers with Facebook, but all data is hashed when using Custom Audiences and lookalike audiences. Hashing summarizes emails, or any data, into a “fingerprint,” which cannot be decrypted. These “fingerprints” are the same when hashed by different companies, that is how matching happens so no actual email address are shared. To read more about hashing and Custom Audiences, click here.

Any brand that owns a list of emails can do the above easily and quickly, so why not start today? A piece of advice would be to start with focused segments of customers, to try different things, and learn along the way. These are “new” tools and we learn to use them best through fine-tuning and repeating.

Check back again for part two of this series or feel free to drop me a message on Twitter (@jermyntoh).

Till next time – Jermyn.

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