Now that the dust has settled over Facebook’s Q2 earnings results and the resulting share price changes, let’s look at what the latest results mean for brand marketers. No, not whether brand owners should speculate in Facebook stock, but instead what user behavior trends and which successful Facebook products should brands be investing in over the next six months?
The mobile story was, once again, the leitmotif of the earnings result. But this time, instead of just reporting continued user growth (there are now more unique visitors for Facebook on mobile than on desktop), there was significant monetization growth to report, too. Mobile now represents more than 40 percent of all Facebook’s ad revenue for the most recent quarter, and Zuckerberg indicated he expected mobile revenue to exceed desktop “soon.”
So, what should brand marketers look at here?
- Invest in understanding mobile behavior. Any brand that isn’t studying behavior on mobile is putting itself in a dark room, with a blindfold on. Everything that a consumer does in a brand’s digital presence should be studied for mobile habits. Tablet? Mobile? Which mobile phone? Is the same user visiting on desktop or mobile, or both, and when? Every brand owner should study the whole consumer journey on mobile, from start to finish. No point in the journey should lie uninspected.
- Invest in creating social content. Inserting the brand message into the mobile news feed – where social conversations occur – is critical. There are two kinds of ad products that accomplish this: Promoted Posts, which amplify the content brand’s post on a brand page to a broader audience, and Sponsored Stories, which promote user-generated content, including likes, status updates, and Open Graph stories. Both require interesting content for fuel.
Brands that are challenged for content should look to investing in their fan base to help them create that content. There are myriad creative ways to ask for fan participation on Facebook, and indeed on any social platform, all of which, when done well, create shareable, authentic content that looks great in the mobile news feed. Brands that build compelling engagement experiences and apps that ask to participate with photos, videos, stories, answers, or votes will have at their disposal varied, authentic, and engaging content to promote across the mobile news feed, and which also offer the opportunity for organic shares through natural social behavior.
- Invest in the whole mobile experience. Sponsoring and promoting in-news feed posts that simply drive the user to the Facebook page to get a “like” is only the first chapter in an engagement story that should be both long and compelling. Once a brand has enticed a fan to click on an in-news feed post or Sponsored Story, that click will be wasted unless the click goes to a compelling mobile experience. If a brand is preparing to invest real money in promoting posts, sponsoring stories, or branded engagement apps, audiences will be limited if the experience cannot succeed on mobile.
Facebook has shown real innovation with in-news feed advertising. It has completely integrated advertising with the user experience, creating a uniquely continuous experience for the user, and for the brand in developing creative experiences. Just as mobile is pivotal to Facebook’s future, it is also pivotal to the future of social brand marketing overall. There’s never been a more important time to invest in the mobile consumer and study the mobile consumer’s journey, both on Facebook and throughout a brand’s entire digital experience.