- 28 Mar 2011
- Gunter Pfau
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- Blog Post
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“Is it possible to develop a social experience in a way that it can be launched and engaged with seamlessly across Facebook and a brand website, and what are the merits of doing this?”
A lot of our clients ask us about the merits of cross-platform experiences. I’ll define a cross-platform social experience as a consumer facing social experience that spans to engage consumers in a seamless fashion across platforms–Facebook, social website (a website leveraging social graph components), mobile, YouTube, Twitter, etc.
Let’s start with the first part of the question; the simple answer is Yes, it is possible to develop and launch a social experience seamlessly across Facebook and a brand website. With Facebook making the switch from fbml to iFrame it not only expands the possibilities of what can be done within a Fan Page, but it also opens up the door for the development of fully connected experiences across the web. In layman terms and for our purposes, an iFrame can be viewed as a container that houses web applications, enabling for the development of one application that lives inside a container that can be placed both on Facebook and on any website. Add to the mix the recently launched Registration Plugin–a streamlined way to offer a customized registration option and an effective means of engaging consumers that may not yet have a Facebook account–and you have a robust mechanism to develop and launch one application with a seamless user experience across both Facebook and a social website.
Now that we checked off the feasibility part of the question, let’s address whether there is tangible business value in deploying additional resources to launch experiences both on Faceboook and a brand website. For our exercise, let’s remain agnostic and say that Facebook pages, corporate websites, and temporary microsites are all owned media channels and that each has its place in the digital marketing toolkit. For us, the value of these owned media channels for the deployment of social experiences is dependent on the existing volume of organic consumer traffic. We equate existing monthly visits that are organically generated to earned media. Brands looking to decide between launching an experience on Facebook, a temporary microsite, and/or their corporate website, should evaluate their existing user base & traffic, and cost & benefits of delivering a set amount of traffic via paid media to each channel. As a fictional example, let’s take a look at some figures for Brand X and Brand Z:
Looking at the above numbers it is easy to see that a temporary microsite is a more costly choice for either brand as there is no existing organic traffic that can be leveraged to drive engagement with the social experience if it were launched on a temporary microsite. In general, launching any type of experience on a temporary microsite is going to require a higher media spend, which normally results in a lower yield per dollar spent than a media spend within Facebook, due to the earned media that is generated by a Facebook media buy as the paid media impressions flow and amplify throughout the social graph.
Let’s examine the differences between the traffic numbers for Brand X and Brand Z and how they impact the choice of whether or not to launch a cross-platform social experience. Brand X has ten times as much organic traffic on its corporate site than it does on Facebook, whereas Brand Z has twice as much organic traffic on its Facebook page than its corporate website. Both brands have an existing community on Facebook, however, Brand Z has a much more established community and a higher level of active engagement within the community than Brand X.
What does this tell us? Well, in reality the numbers can be interpreted in different ways, depending on the line of business of the company and the type of experience that the company is looking to launch.
Let’s assume that Brand X is an online retailer that is looking to run a campaign to engage consumers around its upcoming spring wares. Based on the numbers, we would recommend that Brand X leverage its existing customer traffic on its corporate site to create a viral loop between its website and Facebook. This would entail developing and launching the same social experience both on the Brand X site and on Facebook.
Let’s look at Brand Z, which has a much larger and more engaged Facebook community on Facebook than its website. Assuming that Brand Z is a maker of carbonated beverages looking to drive consumer engagement to a holiday campaign what should they do? This one can go both ways depending on the Brand Z’s budget and how much value Brand Z places on its corporate site. Basing the decision only on the above numbers, we would recommend that the brand launch the experience on Facebook and drive all other media to the experience on Facebook. The reason for the recommendation being that the brand already has a well established and highly engaged community on Facebook that can be instantly activated with an engaging social experience.
I want to end by saying that though the technology and tools enable the delivery of one unified experience through one application across both Facebook and a social website, best practice is to tailor the user experience to the channel to ensure ease of use and optimal engagement. And most importantly, whether it’s an evergreen solution or a two month long program, the broader concept and execution of the social experience will in the end determine its success or failure. Let the design and development of more optimized cross-platform social experiences begin.
Recently, Facebook announced breaking news that will ultimately provide better methods for brands to engage and communicate with their customers. These updates include a revamped UI of the Facebook Pages product and the ability to deploy iFrame tabs.
The New Facebook Page UI and What it Means…
At first glance, most users will recognize the new Page looks very similar to a user profile page. Here are some of the notable updates included in this release and what they mean for Page owners:
These changes will fundamentally provide added opportunities, and with that, challenges across organizations. The first step at the brand level should be to evaluate these new updates, identify the opportunities and disadvantages to their current consumer engagement models, and begin working on the strategic approach to incorporate these new updates within the organization. Adopting these new changes should start internally; to then be best equipped to utilize these features in their day-to-day Page management and engagement strategies.
From a technical perspective, the door is now open (or should I say “unlocked”) for more streamlined experiences on Pages and provide better ways to engage with users through Facebook and social applications.
It’s important for all to note that once you migrate your Page to the new format – it cannot revert back to the previous state. At Stuzo | Dachis Group, we are currently working with clients on migrating their development environments, doing an analysis of existing apps and engagement strategies in preparation for a full migration to the new Page layout and features set. We are tremendously excited by this release and look forward to seeing the great results from brands leveraging these emerging opportunities.
Practically anything a marketing department does these days generates corresponding activity in social spaces as, at the very least, a brand’s power users interact with the most recent campaign or piece of news. These social activities range from very modest investments in the brand (i.e., clicking a ‘Like’ button) to quite highly invested acts (i.e., a YouTube video response). Every one of these actions is an echo of the original campaign that reflects back into the users’ social graph and wrings additional value from the initial investment. These echoes are a source of value that, to date, brands are not maximizing. The thing to realize is that there can be ongoing value generated for the brand on the back end of any given marketing campaign lifecycle.
From a practical perspective, realizing this value is a manageable (though complex) problem – it starts with establishing a listening strategy, then on to archiving, retrieval, aggregation and display systems. Once the practicalities are out of the way, then the more difficult questions start staring you in the face – “We know how to do this, but what do we do?” The goal is to put social echoes to work for your brand and there are countless ways to to do so, but here are a few high level categories (and examples) to help spark your thinking:
Next time you launch a campaign think about the entire lifecycle of social – not just how you will spark the social echoes with amazing creative and great social extensions, but also how you are going to turn those echoes into assets.
*Image courtesy of f1uffster (Jeanie) on Flickr
Last weekend, I was woken abruptly by a high-pitched electronic “chirp.” Half-conscious, I knew exactly where it was coming from – a dead battery in a carbon monoxide detector. The problem wasn’t a potential CO hazard (there are lots of other detectors in here) or that other people would wake up (some already were). No, the problem was my dogs, who were trembling at the sound of the electronic chirp.
As I stumbled around the house in darkness trying to pinpoint the dying battery, I felt sorry for the dogs and also started thinking about social business.
Regarding the dog part: in our previous house, we had installed an invisible fence; training the dogs on its boundaries involved a process of planting small red flags around the yard to mark boundaries. Proximity to flags was also correlated with a beep from a collar-based electric receiver that would deliver a shock if a dog wandered too close to a boundary for too long. In practice, the dogs learned quickly and stayed away from the boundaries. We’ve moved away from that house but the dogs still fear electronic signals close to a particular pitch.
Now, regarding the social business part. In particular, my thoughts turned to brands monitoring social media for mentions and keywords, using approaches similar to the way they’ve been trained to listen to mainstream media. The trouble is, the landscape is different but the signals are usually being interpreted in the same way. Unfortunately, that’s not going to drive effective solutions. So some brands are just scared of everything and hesitant to engage or interact. Others are trying to learn and solve for finely tuned discrepancies in signal pitch.
In this space, it’s imperative for old dogs to learn new tricks. Hopefully the ones you’re working on aren’t “roll over” and “play dead.”