Facebook, Facebook, Facebook! From breaking 500 million registered members to sort of breaking through the walled garden, to arguably breaking the trust of former FB evangelists, perhaps we should be unsurprised that the world’s largest social networking website is constantly making headlines. Comes with the territory of being #1, doesn’t it?… the publicity peppered with praise and sprinkled with scrutiny. Zuckerberg & Co.’s pet project has transformed tremendously since its inception in 2004, and the game-changing mods they’ve rolled out over the last twelve months are solidifying Facebook’s place on the list of the most-talked-about technologies among the online marketing crowd.
Later this month at Search Engine Strategies San Francisco, aimClear’s Marty Weintraub will speak on the Killer Facebook Marketing: Do’s and Don’ts panel with Mark Rosenberg, Of Counsel, Sills Cummis & Gross P.C. and Dennis Yu, Chief Executive Officer, BlitzLocal. Under the moderation of Kate Kaye, Senior Editor, ClickZ News, the trio will discuss a variety of buzzing Facebook topics such as the “unprecedented capabilities in targeting and measurement” marketers have at their disposal as well as the “monitoring, privacy, and intellectual property issues” that have some folk in a tech-tizzy.
We had the pleasure of interviewing Dennis prior to the conference. His candid insight shed new light on user concerns, marketing opportunities, and other two-sided elements of the colossal online community, and whet our appetite for the upcoming session…
| aimClear: When it comes to targeting demographics, Facebook and similar social media channels have been likened to playgrounds for marketers. What would you say is the most unparalleled feature Facebook marketers have at their fingertips?
Dennis Yu: Targeting where people work and their job title has absolutely stunning impacts for B2B marketers. Try doing that anywhere else for the price of untargeted consumer traffic. At SES San Francisco, we’ll show [the audience] how WebTrends is using this type of targeting in automated, unprecedented ways.
| aimClear: What sorts of opportunities exist for local companies branding through Facebook? What advantages, if any, exist for locally targeted ads over global ads?
Dennis: Local ads in Facebook don’t have the same advantage that they do in Google– there is not the 5th line that shows location, nor is there the inclusion of tags or maps-based results. Perhaps more critical is that we can’t narrow down to the zip code level– so if you’re a dentist in Manhattan, you’re targeting all the NYC boroughs instead of just yours. Facebook has been aware of this problem. That being the case, local is still the future of Facebook because of the ability of friends to share their recommendations with other friends– not just with friends of fan targeting, but injection of reviews in ads.
Dennis: Retargeting on Facebook is possible– and for those who don’t know, it’s the ability to follow users around the internet just because they’ve been to your site. If [folks] want to hear more, [they’ll] have to buy a pass to SES San Francisco– that’s why we reserve the premium content for the sessions.
| aimClear: What’s the one thing Facebook marketers can’t do that turns users off?
Dennis: While you can hit the little “x” to provide feedback on ads you don’t like, you can’t block that ad from showing to you. Also, you don’t get to see what targeting triggered an ad showing to you. I have seen some bizarre ads targeted to me on profile that cause me to wonder what on earth is that advertiser targeting on such that I meet that targeting criteria.
| aimClear: Tell us your two cents on Facebook’s “community” pages- the ones generated by an arbitrary combination of keyword-rich status updates and “likes.” Are they a waste of space? Does their rabbit-like reproduction affect bandwidth? Is there any way to game the generally unstructured space?
Dennis: Certainly a great SEO strategy– to pass down that PR10 to lower level pages in a Demand Media type fashion. From a user standpoint, there are problems with how these pages are generated, managed, and displayed on user profiles. However, I believe Facebook will solve these issues, as it’s still early and they’re fast in responding to feedback.
| aimClear: Overall, how do you feel about the way Facebook has handled community outrage at interest-triggered ads?
Dennis: Look at how the spam has virtually disappeared, whereas 2 years ago it was rampant. No more “muffin top” or those ads that are so highly intrusive and irrelevant.
| aimClear: So… are you going to go see The Social Network when it hits the silver screen?
Dennis: Might be fun, but we know that Hollywood approximations are just entertainment, not education.
| aimClear: While the target for FB bashing is by and large Zuckerberg, it’s mostly the advertisers who are leveraging (and capitalizing on) the information Facebook collects. On top of that, it’s the users themselves who are sharing said data. Who’s really holding the cards here? The co-founder, the marketers, or the members?
Dennis: We’re all guilty– do you believe that guns kill people or that people kill people?
| aimClear: Speaking of Zuckerberg, recently, Facebook’s own lawyer conveyed her uncertainty as to whether or not Zuckerberg signed a 2003 contract that would give NY resident Paul Ceglia 84% ownership of the largest social network in the world. 500 million users. Do marketers give a shit who’s in charge?
Dennis: Nope– they trust the brand experience and that of their friends- not who owns the company. Take the last 3 movies you recently watched in the theaters. Do you know what studio produced them? And to what degree was your decision on what movie to watch based on your friends’ preferences, your preferences, and the studio that made the film?
If you’re a social media marketer attending SES SFO, for sure stop by the Killer Facebook Marketing: Do’s and Don’ts session Thursday afternoon at 3:15 for some top-notch tactics, techniques and takeaways.