Earlier this month, the social networking powerhouse Facebook introduced two features that put user engagement onto center stage for brand marketers. The first of these allows for companies to track extended user activity of their FB page, while the second offers a premium ad pack to capitalize on the information garnered. In what appears to be a heightened exchange of besting between Google and Facebook, increased interest in brand analysis could spread to other social media sites.
For Facebook page administrators, a new feature, “People Talking About This,” has been added to the Insights Dashboard, substantially increasing the data available to users. The new metrics include information about, as Facebook states, “The number of unique people who have created a story about your Page in the last seven days.” More specifically, if someone Likes you page, comments on you page, answers a question you’ve posed, checks in or recommends your page during a given week, you’ll now about that activity. It’s essentially a means of tracking how Friends of Friends are responding to your advertising efforts.
While many a brand was initially attracted to Facebook because it was free and easy to use, the social media platform is hoping that companies will be willing to pay for targeted ads, especially since those companies can track their marketing ROI with the new metrics. This new service allows for a brand page’s activity to be listed on a user’s Facebook page in a window. The activity, generated when a brand shares an ad or video on their profile, appears in the window of Friends of that brand’s page and those in the user’s Friends lists, adding to the likelihood of a favorable buying inclination.
It is tempting to speculate on the implications of Facebook’s latest marketing discernments vis-à-vis social media. Some sites have openly pondered whether the next updates to Google Analytics will incidentally include an extension to the degrees of separation tracked for brand engagement on the web. The same can be said about other sites like Linkedin and Twitter, both anxious to better monetize their own sites.
In business schools, as new methods of marketing are being written and implemented before a single course is completed, how will the ability to track an expanding social media interest and then optimize that knowledge for sales be taught? For a student now completing their online MBA the likelihood that they’re actually out in the workforce dealing with such rapid changes may provide some direction for others trying to absorb innovation.
For today’s PR or marketing force, though, these opportunities have been driven by their demands for this perspective on how entire spheres of influence respond to a brand. Facebook is arguably the biggest social media firm to hear these calls, but other platforms are almost certain to attempt providing such data. This voice of the market may produce some impressive results in a very short time.
About the Author: Lindsey Paho is a professional media author working and living in the Indianapolis area. She is currently finishing work on her graduate degree while maintaining a busy writing schedule.