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Facebook as Social Media

  1. 1. Facebook Success Stories How 12 companies are leveraging the social network to advance their marketing objectives CASE STUDY COLLECTION
  3. 3. MARKETERS, MEET FACEBOOK ... Social media is all the buzz, representing a new low-cost avenue for engag- ing with consumers at a much deeper level than is typically achieved with tra- ditional advertising. Each outlet within the medium has acquired its share of advocates, but the truth is this: LinkedIn is big, Twitter is active, but Facebook is huge. And if you haven't yet made your acquaintance with this burgeoning social network, it's time you were introduced. In two years, Facebook has gone from being in the top 100 most trafficked Web sites to #5 worldwide (according to Alexa), beating out Twitter at #8. As of June 2008, it had more than 130 million active users and growing. Launched within the university sphere, the network undoubtedly maintains a large student population and is being leveraged by companies that specialize in this market, as well as those aspiring to gain exposure among next genera- tion customers. That predominance is actively changing, however, as the network continues to expand. Facebook now claims that more than half of its users are outside of college, and that its fastest growing demographic includes those who admit to being 25 years or older. Chances are, your market is there—perhaps, en masse. But if you're like most marketers, the question you're asking is how to use the new and unfamiliar medium to your best advantage. This report recounts how 12 organizations took that first step and how their efforts have proven effective—or not so effective—for achieving their indi- vidual marketing objectives. It begins with a description of the various tools available at Facebook, followed by 12 case studies organized by marketing objective, as follows: ©2008 MARKETINGPROFS LLC • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. FACEBOOK SUCCESS STORIES 2
  4. 4. MARKETERS, MEET FACEBOOK ... 1. Increasing awareness and reach: Case studies for six organizations show how Facebook can be used to establish global brand recognition, to bring in new leads and expand your customer base, to boost Web site traffic and/or augment large multimedia campaigns. 2. Targeting distinct markets: Three more case studies demonstrate how detailed information regarding user demographics and network behavior can be employed to specifically target niche markets. 3. Test marketing: A proof of concept campaign illustrates how the network can also help companies explore new markets and evaluate product ideas. 4. Forging relationships with and among customers: The final two studies reveal how Facebook offers a unique channel for companies interested in creating customer-based communities in connection with their brands. Each case study details the tools and approaches used, along with the outcomes achieved. While it may be some time before Facebook marketing comes anywhere close to a defined science, this information should provide you with enough fuel to get started on the right foot. ©2008 MARKETINGPROFS LLC • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. FACEBOOK SUCCESS STORIES 3
  5. 5. SNAPSHOT OF THE TOOLS AVAILABLE ON FACEBOOK Facebook offers a number of marketing options, which can be used either independently or together, depending on your objectives. 1. Facebook Pages Facebook Pages are business-friendly profiles (i.e., platforms for commu- nicating directly with users) and provide organizations with an immediate presence on Facebook. They are free of charge and easy to launch with customizable templates. A basic page includes a graphic/logo, company description, and a Wall where users can post comments. Additional elements can be incorporated, including: • Photos and videos posted by your company, as well as applications that allow users to upload photos and videos to your Page • Discussion Boards, for posing questions and encouraging user interaction • Reviews, a dedicated space for fans to share their opinions • Notes, a blogging feature that allows tags, embeddable images, and automatic imports from an external blog • Events, which inform fans of upcoming events via invites sent to their profile home pages, in addition to listings on your Page Users can associate themselves with your Page as “fans.” When they do, your Page appears on their individual profiles under the “Info” tab, and a comment referencing this connection is posted on their Walls. Wall postings Example Photo Video Components are often publicized on other users’ News Feeds, which alert users to their friends’ actions on the site. All of these components help “virally” expose your brand to a wider network of people. Pages are publicly indexed and accessible (i.e., available to unregistered users), as well as searchable within Facebook. They are also promotable within the network via Facebook Social Ads (described below), and of course, by your own efforts. ©2008 MARKETINGPROFS LLC • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. FACEBOOK SUCCESS STORIES 4
  6. 6. SNAPSHOT OF THE TOOLS AVAILABLE ON FACEBOOK Reporting is available on all Facebook Pages, providing insight into impres- sions, clicks, user engagement (such as Wall posts, video plays, etc.), and fan demographics. 2. Facebook Groups Before Facebook Pages, there were Facebook Groups, and many organi- zations still maintain a Group presence. Key differences between the two include: • Users join Groups as members, rather than fans • Groups are listed in bulk and without graphics on a user’s profile • Groups are not necessarily open to all users: a Group can be set to “private” so that the administrator determines which users can join • Groups are searchable only within Facebook • Many applications, such as Notes and Events described above, cannot be added to a Group profile • Group visitor statistics and reporting metrics are not available 3. Facebook Applications Facebook Applications allow you to create interactive user experiences with your brand using games, virtual gift sharing programs, and more. An Application can integrate your Web site or existing Web application, as well as mobile and desktop applications (with the Facebook API), and can be featured independently and/or added to your Facebook page. Application development may require you to hire a professional developer (referrals available on the site) if you are not well-versed in PHP, SSH, MySQL, Unix, and Web hosting fundamentals. It will also necessitate an external location to host your application. Only registered Facebook users can add your Application. When they do so, they are given options to add a box or dedicated tab to their profiles for friends to view, to receive notifications via personal email, and to bookmark the Application for quicker access. For added exposure, user interactions with your Application can be automatically publicized on that user’s Wall, although users can choose to block this activity. ©2008 MARKETINGPROFS LLC • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. FACEBOOK SUCCESS STORIES 5
  7. 7. SNAPSHOT OF THE TOOLS AVAILABLE ON FACEBOOK When a user invites a friend to add your Application or interacts with another user through the Application (by sending a virtual gift, etc.), the recipient is alerted with a request, which they can choose to approve or ignore. Reporting on Application usage and user demographics is available through the site. 4. Facebook Social Ads Social Ads include (1) banners placed along the margin of a user’s profile page, and (2) ads that appear as sponsored content within users’ News Feeds in connection with their friends’ social actions. Both options offer tremendous targeting ability based on a variety of demo- graphic data points volunteered by the users themselves, including age, location, interests, college, employer, and more. Ads can be purchased on both a CPC (cost per click) and CPM (cost per one thousand impressions) basis, and an auction set-up (based on relevancy as well as highest bid) is used to determine placement. Detailed performance metrics are also provided to assist with measurement, as well as targeting and creative optimization. 5. Additional Marketing Options • Facebook Polls: Targeted similarly to Facebook Social Ads, this tool Social Ads Profile allows you to survey users who meet your selected criteria. Results are available in real time and broken down by gender and age. • Facebook Beacon: With this mechanism, a user’s actions on your exter- nal Web site are posted to the user’s Wall and advertised on the user’s friends’ News Feeds. When originally launched, this service caused an Social Ads Inline uproar among users concerned about privacy issues and has since been altered so that users can block Beacon all together, or on a site-by-site basis. ©2008 MARKETINGPROFS LLC • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. FACEBOOK SUCCESS STORIES 6
  8. 8. Case Studies: Examples of the Facebook Tools in Action Now that you’re familiar with the tools at your disposal, here’s a look at how they’re being used to achieve a variety of marketing objectives such as increasing brand awareness, targeting specific market segments, testing out new markets and building customer relationships. ©2008 MARKETINGPROFS LLC • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. FACEBOOK SUCCESS STORIES 7
  9. 9. OBJECTIVE A: INCREASING AWARENESS AND REACH There’s no denying the growing mass of Facebook users, and although they’re not looking to be sold, this is an interactive medium in which they are very actively engaged, often on a daily basis. The following studies highlight how six organizations are reaching out to these users to broad- en their exposure, increase sales, and/or achieve their own critical mass. Lenovo: Building worldwide brand recognition Lenovo, which specializes in personal computing technology, used Facebook in connection with other online media and its 2008 Olympic sponsorship to generate global awareness for its brand and new IdeaPad product line. The campaign revolved around a Lenovo-sponsored Olympic athlete-blogger program, which was featured on a number of Web sites in addition to the company’s “Team USA” Facebook Application. Along with showcasing the blogs, the “Team USA” application enabled users to participate in virtual fan relays, follow event results and medal counts, and send virtual cheers. It also featured Lenovo product information and coupons. ©2008 MARKETINGPROFS LLC • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. FACEBOOK SUCCESS STORIES 8
  10. 10. OBJECTIVE A: INCREASING AWARENESS AND REACH In several spots throughout the application, users were encouraged to invite their friends to add the application, and the user profile box prompted oth- ers to join. Banner ads were also used to promote the application on the Facebook network. During the time in which the 2008 Games ran, the “Team USA” application was viewed more than 1,800,000 times and downloaded by more than 250,000 users from 120 countries. Sharp Electronics: Sparking buzz in support of other campaign components Like Lenovo, Sharp used Facebook in cooperation with other media to promote its AQUOS LCD line and generate awareness for its role in LCD (liquid crystal display) and solar-energy innovation. Developed by Lowe New York, the campaign included print, broadcast, and online advertising, all highlighting two main themes: “Change Your Power, Change Your Planet” Lenovo Profile Box and “Change Your TV, Change Your Life.” For the online portion, an unbranded “Life Changing Box Game” Facebook Application was launched, together with a related teaser microsite, to pique interest and generate buzz for the company’s ensuing print and TV promo- tions. Both elements incorporated a series of mystery prize boxes, the contents of which users guessed at on the microsite and competed for in the application. Each day during the promotion, application users were granted a select num- ber of “touches” used to enter rounds and vie for 10 mystery prizes—later revealed to include flat screen televisions, home theater systems, exclusive tickets to sporting events and all-expense-paid trips. The player in posses- sion of a mystery box when it randomly “opened” in any given round won the associated prize. Sharp App Screen ©2008 MARKETINGPROFS LLC • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. FACEBOOK SUCCESS STORIES 9
  11. 11. OBJECTIVE A: INCREASING AWARENESS AND REACH Sharp’s application is believed to have been the first to offer real-life, high- dollar prizes on Facebook—inspiration alone for users to spread word of the game. To further encourage viral growth, the game was designed so that players could increase their chances of winning by inviting friends to down- load the application. If a friend won a prize, the person who had invited that user would win a duplicate prize. Online PR outreach and banner ads on Facebook, CNET, Wired, Gizmodo, Yahoo, AOL and Google were also used to increase exposure for both the game and the microsite. Three weeks in, Sharp’s sponsorship was revealed, and by that time, the online campaign had surpassed all targeted metrics, including those for ap- plication downloads and usage, by an average of 15%. 123Greetings.com: Extending an e-business into the social realm 123Greetings.com is a free e-card service. Its goal was to grow its user base Sharp App Invite Page by successfully tapping Facebook’s vast user population. The company believed Facebook’s members were more likely to keep in touch with family and friends via the Internet. In January 2008, the company launched a 123Greetings Facebook Application that supports all 20,000+ e-cards available on its main Web site, providing users access to the full array without ever having to venture off the Facebook network. ©2008 MARKETINGPROFS LLC • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. FACEBOOK SUCCESS STORIES 10
  12. 12. OBJECTIVE A: INCREASING AWARENESS AND REACH To encourage adoption, the application was designed for ease of use so that users can search by occasion, enter a personal message if desired, and select recipients by simply clicking on their friends’ profile pictures, which appear directly on the application page. The application also reminds users of their friends’ birthdays with messages sent to both the users’ Facebook profiles and personal email addresses. Several viral elements were also incorporated. For example, both sender and recipient have the option of displaying the 123Greetings application box on their profiles to show off the cards they’ve sent or received and further promote the 123Greetings brand amongst their friends. Users also have the option of inviting friends to use the application without sending a card. In addition to the application, the company formed a Facebook group in late Spring 2008 as an extension of its brand and newsletter feature, a weekly online publication that offers relationship advice to 13 million subscribers. 123Greetings.com’s “Editor Bob,” who writes the newsletter, also hosts the group. He uses a friendly tone to introduce the company Web site and newsletter, and encourages interaction with and between members by posing questions and starting casual conversations on the group wall and discus- sion board. He also asks for stories and quotes to be published in the weekly 123Greetings App Box newsletter. The group has been steadily growing and recently surpassed 1000 members. The 123Greetings application has acquired more than 70,000 monthly active users and over 600 fans. A total of 2,283,658 e-cards were sent via the ap- plication during the months of June through September 2008, a fair lead up to the company’s busy season which kicks off with Halloween and continues through New Year’s Day. By year’s end, 123Greetings.com anticipates that the application will directly account for 10% of its total e-card volume in 2008 and play a large role in in- creasing total annual volume from 120 million in 2007 to 145 million in 2008. BrainReactions: Groups vs. applications in the quest for broader reach BrainReactions is an innovation services and research company that has been building a team of professional “Brainstormers” from around the world to assist clients in identifying new product and marketing ideas. Aspiring to expand the team’s “Generation Y” population, the company turned ©2008 MARKETINGPROFS LLC • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. FACEBOOK SUCCESS STORIES 11
  13. 13. OBJECTIVE A: INCREASING AWARENESS AND REACH to Facebook after finding that the majority of its existing Generation Y Brainstormers visited the site daily. It also recognized the network as a low-cost mechanism for building an interactive online community that could support its core business. BrainReactions first established a presence on the network with a Facebook Group, providing a place where Brainstormers could congregate and interact. Next, it launched an application called “Most Creative People on Facebook,” wherein users compete for votes from other users and nominate their friends with invitations to add the application. Application users with the most votes are featured on the main Application Page, along with a list of the user’s most creative friends, encouraging other users to increase their rankings and invite more friends to vote. The application’s user profile box also motivates users to attain more votes by displaying number of votes received, and the invitation messaging, which bestows a vote of confidence upon the new user, further stimulates invitation acceptance and application growth. BrainReactions has not advertised the application and has instead relied Most Creative People Invite solely on the viral exposure that is achieved when invitations and interactions are posted on users’ News Feeds. Since the company ultimately benefits from the size and scope of its Brainstormer network (i.e., participants at their disposal when a new client idea contest is launched), the success metrics for this campaign have largely Most Creative People Application Box been based on the “reach” achieved. ©2008 MARKETINGPROFS LLC • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. FACEBOOK SUCCESS STORIES 12
  14. 14. OBJECTIVE A: INCREASING AWARENESS AND REACH The “Most Creative People on Facebook” application has been significantly more successful on this front, demonstrating that the elements of interactivity and competition are likely more appealing to this audience. Within the first month after launch, the application registered 10,000 users from 14 countries and has since grown to more than 87,000 users from 93 countries. More than 480,000 nomination invites have been sent, and over 1.2 million votes have been cast. The group, on the other hand, has fewer than 100 members and consists primarily of individuals who had joined the company’s Brainstormer network prior to campaign launch. The group still exists, however, as an alternate venue for existing Brainstormers to gather online. Travel Channel: A creative strategy for boosting Web site traffic Travel Channel used Facebook to generate awareness and traffic for its Web site, TravelChannel.com, by incorporating the site’s content into a mostly unbranded, interactive game application. Dubbed “Kidnap!,” the application encourages users to virtually “kidnap” their friends and hold them in a hideout city until the kidnapees can correctly an- swer trivia questions about the hideout location. Clues to those questions are then offered via a TravelChannel.com “Cheat Sheet” linked to the Facebook application. To maximize user adoption, branding has been kept to a minimum, appear- Travel Channel Trivia Question Screen Shot ing only once users are engaged in the game and at a point where Travel ©2008 MARKETINGPROFS LLC • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. FACEBOOK SUCCESS STORIES 13
  15. 15. OBJECTIVE A: INCREASING AWARENESS AND REACH Channel can add value to the context of the game (i.e., through the “Cheat Sheet”). In this way, Travel Channel connects with users in a positive experi- ence that helps them succeed in the game, while at the same time exposing them to TravelChannel.com content and teaching them to rely on the site as a travel information resource. A number of viral components also augment both usage and return usage growth. First, the game offers users a fun way to interact with friends and feeds off of users’ competitive natures. Invitations and other game-related messaging play off this, as well, by alerting players that they’ve been TravelChannel_KidnapInvite “kidnap’d” and prompting them to “escape.” Another element rewards users with level advancements for repeatedly kidnapping friends and for inviting new users to join. A points system, which determines a user’s rank on the game’s leadership board, also compels ©2008 MARKETINGPROFS LLC • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. FACEBOOK SUCCESS STORIES 14
  16. 16. OBJECTIVE A: INCREASING AWARENESS AND REACH players to continue kidnapping friends, while also encouraging kidnapees to both utilize the “Cheat Sheet” and answer the trivia questions within a select time frame. When the application launched in August 2008, Facebook Social Ads were used to help generate awareness, and a Travel Channel group was estab- lished to help anchor the application. The group currently has more than 7,400 fans, and the ads were effective in bringing in approximately 8,500 new Kidnap! players during the four weeks in which they ran. The majority of the application’s growth, however, has occurred virally. During its first six weeks, the game registered 225,521 monthly active users and 23,034 daily active users, with 1,711,300 sent kidnap requests. Traffic to TravelChannel.com during those same six weeks increased 28%, and page views went up 38%, as compared to the six weeks prior. As of this writing, usage has grown to 2.4+ million players, making it the most popular travel-related application and the most popular branded game on Facebook. The number of daily active users has increased to 230,000 and includes approximately 140,000 return users. And TravelChannel.com cur- rently sees an average of 60,000 clicks a day originating from the Facebook application. Serena Software: A viable channel for B2B In early 2008, Serena Software wanted to inform business professionals about its newly released Business Mashup Composer, an application that combines data and visual elements from multiple sources into a process- driven framework. The company was familiar with Facebook, having already ©2008 MARKETINGPROFS LLC • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. FACEBOOK SUCCESS STORIES 15
  17. 17. OBJECTIVE A: INCREASING AWARENESS AND REACH used the network for its corporate intranet, and felt it to be an innovative channel for targeting other business professionals networking on the site. Given industry statistics, the company knew it risked low click-through rates advertising on Facebook; however, it achieved better-than-average results by creating an interactive application experience that mirrored regular Facebook user activity. The application called “I’m a Super Masher” centered around an entertaining video with strong viral potential and non-intrusively encouraged users to interact with the video, learn more about the Serena product, contrib- ute to the discussion board, and forward the video to friends. Although some advertising was performed on other Facebook applications about a week after launch, the majority of user growth came organically, initially through Serena employees who posted the video to their personal profiles and forwarded it on to friends. Serena also helped nurture viral activ- ity by awarding points to users who invited friends or forwarded the video. In the first month, the video registered more than 1.1 million views, and over 8,000 users clicked through to the Serena Web site for a click-through rate of 0.72%. A large percentage of those visitors went on to downloaded whitepa- pers, data sheets, and the company’s software, signifying that the campaign was effective in reaching its target base: business professionals. ©2008 MARKETINGPROFS LLC • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. FACEBOOK SUCCESS STORIES 16
  18. 18. OBJECTIVE B: TARGETING DISTINCT MARKETS Some companies are more interested in reaching clearly-defined markets. With precise target- ing and the capability to tap into select user interests, Facebook provides such a vehicle. The following examples illustrate two key points. The first is that although Facebook ad click- through rates typically register well under 1%, proper targeting can result in a higher quality lead that more than offsets that level of performance, as suggested in the Serena Software ex- ample above. And secondly, while ads tend to yield a much quicker response, other Facebook tools can provide a very cost-effective means for arriving at this goal. IndiePix: Cost effectively reaching a segment of the market IndiePix, an independent film distributor, commonly looks for ways to actively involve its customers, a notoriously segmented group. This year, the com- pany resolved to start a Facebook Group, seeing this as an effective platform for connecting and communicating with not only self-identified indie film fans, but also independent filmmakers. The group offers users the ability to view some of IndiePix’s documentaries in their entirety directly on the network, utilizing Snag Films’ video player application. The group is also used to announce new releases and hype screening events in individual markets, both through posted items and Facebook’s Event Application. ©2008 MARKETINGPROFS LLC • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. FACEBOOK SUCCESS STORIES 17
  19. 19. OBJECTIVE B: TARGETING DISTINCT MARKETS Both of these elements have been successful in attracting additional filmmak- ers interested in promoting their works. As those filmmakers join the group and interact on the Group Page, IndiePix benefits through the added expo- sure that is gained among those individuals’ networks of friends. IndiePix has also sought to increase group membership by developing a presence on other related groups and causes, such as the “Support Independent Film” cause. This is achieved by not only joining these groups but also contributing to the conversations taking place among their members. The IndiePix Facebook Group is currently just shy of 600 members and has become a great tool for getting word out to fans in individual markets. In addition, while more traditional Web PR efforts remain the best source of immediate traffic and sales spikes, the group is also demonstrating solid potential for boosting awareness and sales of new titles. Although response tends to be slow but steady, Facebook traffic has evidenced a strong conver- sion rate, and on average, orders for a new title increase when it is an- nounced or promoted on the group page. So far, however, the related traffic and sales have remained directed at the specific title posted and have not carried through to the rest of the Web site. Note: IndiePix also tried Facebook ads and found them to be effective in driving traffic to the company Web site, just not the right traffic. For this reason, it contends that its Facebook Group is the best—and most cost effec- tive—means for connecting with its target market on the network. One Day, One Job: Experiments in targeting One Day, One Job—an online company that specializes in helping college students find entry-level jobs—aspired to grow its Web traffic and was at- tracted to Facebook by the sheer number of active students on the network. Although the company also set up a Facebook Page, it was more interested in leveraging the precise targeting capability of Facebook’s ad platform. The company initiated a dual campaign with some ads targeting Ivy League seniors and the rest targeting seniors from 40 other top-rated schools, both on a CPC and CPM basis. Ad copy included the phrases “Ivy League” and “elite colleges and universities,” respectively. ©2008 MARKETINGPROFS LLC • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. FACEBOOK SUCCESS STORIES 18
  20. 20. OBJECTIVE B: TARGETING DISTINCT MARKETS For the CPM campaigns, 8000 impressions were allocated to the Ivy League ad, and 14,000 impressions were granted to the version targeting other schools. Click-through rates averaged 0.06% in both cases. Both CPC campaigns, however, had over one million impressions each, with the Ivy League ads achieving a 0.15% click-through rate and other school ads registering 0.10%. One Day, One Job believes the Ivy League ads performed better because the copy was more targeted. It also suspects that its CPC ads performed better than CPM due to better placement. Subsequently, the company has found that Facebook referrals tend to be more engaged Web site users who visit more pages and stay on the One Day, One Job Web site twice as long as the average user. In a separate experiment, One Day, One Job worked with its job-seeking clients to conduct Facebook ad campaigns targeting potential employers. Facebook is one of the few places where people can be targeted based on place of employment. The company used this capability to help five jobseek- ers advertise their skills to individuals associated with choice organizations. Jobseekers created the ad copy themselves and included a personal photo, then linked the ad to an online resume, such as a profile listed on LinkedIn or VisualCV. One candidate’s ad targeted the Walt Disney Company and received 685 clicks. It resulted in 21 emails, 4 Facebook messages, and a job interview at the company. Several respondents offered advice for finding a job with Disney and/or offered to forward the candidate’s resume to their supervisors. Another candidate first targeted individuals from Accenture, Anheuser-Busch, Facebook, Ford Motor Company, T-Mobile, Wal-Mart, AT&T, Sprint, Miller Brewing, Monsanto, The Walt Disney Company, Nestle, ESPN, St. Louis Blues Hockey, and Fox Sports with a more creative stance that read “Knock, ©2008 MARKETINGPROFS LLC • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. FACEBOOK SUCCESS STORIES 19
  21. 21. OBJECTIVE B: TARGETING DISTINCT MARKETS knock. Opportunity knocks only once. I’m knocking. Click to see my resume.” The ad was viewed 50,992 times and clicked 117 times, but resulted in no leads. In a second attempt, the candidate specifically targeted Sprint with copy that included: “My dream is to work for Sprint. Can you help?” Due to a smaller target pool, the ad was only viewed 2588 times but received 32 clicks and resulted in five email contacts from current and former Sprint employees. Overall, the click-through rates achieved by the jobseeker ads were 10 to 20 times higher than One Day, One Job received in its own ad campaigns. The most successful jobseeker ads targeted a single company with very specific copy that mentioned the company name, whereas ads targeting multiple organizations by location were less effective, drawing inapplicable clicks that lowered the return on investment. One Day, One Job’s next step will be to use this insight to improve its own campaigns and target specific universities, rather than taking the more generic “Ivy League” and “elite colleges and universities” approach. Storquest: Generating high-quality leads with well-targeted ads Storquest, a self-storage company with locations in many college towns, also found success using Facebook ads with highly targeted messaging. In this case, Storquest wanted to reach students from 21 colleges who might be re- turning home for the summer and in need of a place to stow their belongings. The Facebook Ad platform enabled Storquest to target users within a certain age range who were attending those specific colleges. Ad messaging was directed to each campus individually and mentioned each school by name. This ability to drill down to precise demographic information and clearly tailor each ad to its intended location translated into fantastic returns for the com- pany. And because campaign results were measurable in real time, Storquest was also able to optimize its ads throughout the campaign and reallocate resources to those with the best performance ratios. As a result, the company rented to more college students than ever before, and total rentals for year-over-year same-store sales in college area locations increased more than 50%. The ads achieved a 10% visit-to-lead conversion rate and averaged $1.25 cost per click. Based on these figures, a highly qualified lead cost Storquest $10.25, designating Facebook ads one of its better performing online advertising sources. ©2008 MARKETINGPROFS LLC • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. FACEBOOK SUCCESS STORIES 20
  22. 22. OBJECTIVE C: TEST MARKETING Facebook’s user volume and inexpensive marketing options can also set the stage for cost effective pilot programs such as those aimed at trialing a new entry market or assessing public interest for a new service or product idea. This next study shows how one company was able to demonstrate demand for an untried Web venture through the use of targeted Facebook ads. Cook’s Compass: Building blocks for a successful proof-of-concept Cook’s Compass, a local community review site for cooking enthusiasts, was still in the pre-funding stage and looking to accomplish an effective proof-of- concept in the Boston market, its first roll-out city. Pandemic Labs, a Weston, MA-based viral and social media agency, was hired to build traffic for the beta site via social media. Pandemic Labs chose to engage in Facebook ads since its goal was to acquire site users and content providers specifically from the metro Boston area, and Facebook Ads’ targeting capability made this possible on a limited budget. The agency drilled down into first level demographics such as location, interests and age to find small groups of perfectly targeted consumers, each consisting of around 10,000 users. Each group was exposed to a unique set of ads, and A/B testing was performed to evolve the ads and ensure each group consistently saw the best performing promotions. If the agency wit- nessed a drop off in click-through rates or conversions for one of the groups, it would temporarily suspend ad buys targeting that group and rotate them back in a month later. Campaign success metrics were based on overall click-through rates as well as new-user registrations and user submissions on the Cook’s Compass site. Click-through rates ranged between .05% and .08%, and traffic from Facebook converted at a rate of 1.19%. 57% of the site’s new-user registra- tions were initiated during this campaign, which ended recently, and the site was getting nearly three times as many signups when the campaign was running than it does now, post-promotion. Note: Pandemic Labs also set-up a Facebook page for Cook’s Compass, but with limited expectations since the goal was to generate more immediate interest. As anticipated, the page did not contribute much to this campaign; however, it continues to build a community of fans which the company may be able to leverage in future campaigns. ©2008 MARKETINGPROFS LLC • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. FACEBOOK SUCCESS STORIES 21
  23. 23. OBJECTIVE D: FORGING RELATIONSHIPS WITH AND AMONG CUSTOMERS We’ve covered a few examples of companies such as 123Greetings, Travel Channel, IndiePix and Cook’s Compass who are building community in support of larger objectives or for future use. Other organizations, however, are making this their prime focus, basking in the ability to form sociable relations with customers at a level rarely seen since the days of small town Main Street prominence. Take, for example, Freshbooks, an online invoicing and time tracking service, which uses social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to connect with clients in more comfort- able surroundings and to associate with them as friends, even going so far as to send flowers to those having a bad day and making donations toward personal walks for charity. Next, we present two examples of organizations that are leveraging Facebook—and the excite- ment and loyalty that some Facebook users are showing toward various brands and causes as a means of expressing themselves—in an attempt to establish community bonds between themselves and these users, as well as among the users themselves. Cisco: Making “cool” connections Like Freshbooks, Cisco wanted to expand its presence within social media and decided to try Facebook in a campaign setting, as part of a three-month promotion leading up to the launch event for its new Aggregation Service Router ASR 1000 product series. Cisco saw Facebook as a means for conveying the “cool factor” and showing off the company’s fun side, but also as a place to amass a community of peo- ple passionate about Cisco products. With this in mind, it started the “Cisco Support Group for Uber User Internet Addicts” group, which introduced users to other campaign components, such as the company’s YouTube and Twitter profiles, as well as each other. Group moderators utilized the Facebook Events tool to promote events and contests connected with the campaign and product launch. They also posted questions to initiate group discussions, held user polls and giveaways through the discussion board, uploaded photos and videos and encouraged members to do the same. ©2008 MARKETINGPROFS LLC • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. FACEBOOK SUCCESS STORIES 22
  24. 24. OBJECTIVE D: FORGING RELATIONSHIPS WITH AND AMONG CUSTOMERS The company further leveraged third party application software to host a member quiz titled “What Kind of Uber User Are You?” Quiz results prompted users to invite friends and to visit the Uber User Group, where they were encouraged to share and discuss their results. Early adoption for the “Cisco Support Group for Uber User Internet Addicts” group was primarily among Cisco employees; however, it did not take long for the network’s viral propensity to kick in. Group membership began to skew towards customers approximately three weeks after launch and has since exceeded 1000 members. While the company is pleased with this volume, it had also hoped to achieve more active engagement among members on the group page. It seems that members may be more interested in expressing their connection to the Cisco brand and/or the new router product than directly interacting with company ©2008 MARKETINGPROFS LLC • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. FACEBOOK SUCCESS STORIES 23
  25. 25. OBJECTIVE D: FORGING RELATIONSHIPS WITH AND AMONG CUSTOMERS representatives and fans. Cisco noted similar behavior on other high-tech focused Facebook groups, but also indicated that the lack of context sur- rounding the promotion of an unreleased product may have been a contribut- ing factor. Nonetheless, this trial has given Cisco confidence in using Facebook within a campaign setting, a tactic it plans to leverage again in future promotions. And the Uber User Group continues to be used as a community base as well as a channel for ongoing direct communications. Cirque du Soleil: Constructing centralized and product-specific global communities Cirque du Soleil was also set on building community. The performance company considers itself lucky to have a large, global base of dedicated and enthusiastic fans and wanted a better way to directly communicate with these individuals on a personal level. It chose to focus its efforts on Facebook because of the network’s worldwide popularity. Early in 2008, a general Cirque du Soleil page was set up, followed by sepa- rate pages for each of its seven resident shows, including the six stationed in Las Vegas, thus enabling fans to show their affinity for their favorite shows, as well as the overall brand. Each page features exclusive content such as backstage photos and videos, interaction with performers and show updates. Page applications have been added so that fans can upload their own photos and videos and write show reviews. Discussion board posts have also been used to stimulate user inter- action and to promote the company’s “Get Cirqued” Facebook application. The “Get Cirqued” application was added as another vehicle to reach core fans and gain new fans. It is freestanding and can be accessed without visit- ing the Cirque du Soleil pages. Utilizing a quiz format, the application helps users determine which of its six Las Vegas shows best match their mood. The application box, which users can add to their profiles, is large and color- ful and encourages further adoption with messaging that reads “What kind of Cirque mood are you in? Find out now!” CIRQUE du SOLEIL App Widget Box Early in the campaign, targeted social ads were run to inform users of Cirque du Soleil’s presence on the network. ©2008 MARKETINGPROFS LLC • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. FACEBOOK SUCCESS STORIES 24
  26. 26. OBJECTIVE D: FORGING RELATIONSHIPS WITH AND AMONG CUSTOMERS Number of fans and user feedback received have been the primary measure- ments of campaign success to date. Currently, the main Cirque du Soleil page has over 23,000 fans from around the world, 187 user reviews, over 420 Wall posts and over 400 fan-posted photos. The individual show pages range from 775 to almost 3,000 fans and appear to have attracted more users than the “Get Cirqued” application which has 55 fans and 175 monthly active users. Pages for the Love, O, and Criss Angel Believe shows have been particularly successful in engendering fan engage- ment in the form of Wall posts, photos, and reviews, and on all pages, user comments and reviews are overwhelmingly positive. In the future, Cirque du Soleil plans to develop Facebook-specific promotions leveraging each show’s fan base. IT’S YOUR TURN ... 12 companies, 12 strategies, and a view into how you might include the growing social media phenomenon into your marketing mix. And when you do, let us know how it goes by emailing your story to CaseStudies@ MarketingProfs.com. Your ingenuity could make it into our next edition. ©2008 MARKETINGPROFS LLC • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. FACEBOOK SUCCESS STORIES 25
  27. 27. ABOUT THE AUTHORS Kimberly Smith is a staff writer and marketing professional with more than ten years of experience in the field. She joined the MarketingProfs team in 2007 after having been a fan of the site since its launch. In addition to the weekly Case Study article in our newsletter MarketingProfs Today, her canon of works comprises marketing and advertising collateral for a sundry of small- to medium-sized businesses and write-ups for select publications such as The Robb Report Collection. Jason Alba is the career management evangelist. He got laid off in January 2006 (and still hasn’t quite gotten over it). Even though he had great credentials and it was a job-seeker’s market, Jason could hardly get a job interview. Finally he decided to step back and figure out the job search process and try to understand all of the available resources. Within a few months he had designed a personal job search tool, JibberJobber.com, which helps professionals manage career and job search activities the same way a salesman man- ages prospects and customer data. JibberJobber has been recognized as the gold standard in career technology, and has had numerous media mentions. Jason blogs at www.JibberJobber.com/blog, authored “I’m on LinkedIn—Now What???” and is the co-author of “I’m on Facebook—Now What???” ABOUT MARKETINGPROFS MarketingProfs is a rich and trusted resource that offers actionable know-how to help you mar- ket your products and services both smarter and better. Entrepreneurs, small-business owners and marketers in the world’s largest corporations make up its 322,000 subscribers, making it the largest in its category. Through the MarketingProfs Web site, newsletters, conferences, seminars, forums and so on … we help you navigate the way to market your business and keep you informed of the newest and best tools. Think of us as a beacon of light illuminating the path through the clutter. ©2008 MARKETINGPROFS LLC • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. FACEBOOK SUCCESS STORIES 26