Facebook Offers Media Giants Marketing Opportunities During Presidential Inauguration

If you were on Facebook around election time just two months ago, you definitely saw the overwhelming response on Facebook towards the election proceedings.  Back in November, 1.7 million Facebook users donated their status to support a candidate, 5.4 million people declared that they had voted, 1.5 million mentioned Obama, McCain, Palin, Biden or Election on their Facebook wall, 2 million people gave election gifts, and 2.4 million joined the Facebook Election Day event!

Media giants like New York Times and CNN had great success with campaigns they ran with Facebook covering the election as well.  The New York Times campaign in particular achieved impressive numbers:

  • The home page video was seen by 68.3 million people, and 34,000 comments were shared
  • The virtual gift was sent by Facebook users to their friends over 400,000 times
  • The number of fans of the NY Times page increased from 49,000 to 164,000 in 24 hours, “far exceeding our 2008 goal of 100,000 fans”

Come tomorrow (Inauguration day), both CNN and the New York Times have decided, again, to create themed applications, events, and polls to turn the news into a conversation with friends.

The Times will run engagement video ads on Facebook similar to the ones they ran during the election.  These ads will also drive users to the New York Times Page, where users will be asked to answer a question: “What should Barack Obama first address as President?” Facebook users will be able to weigh in on how they expect they’ll remember the historic inauguration.

In addition, the Times is doing a virtual gift ad unit at the same time: A Barack Obama virtual stamp, designed by artist Christoph Niemann, that can be shared among Facebook users.

As Inside Facebook recently reported, CNN, too, is seeing a way to capitalize on Facebook’s ability to bring friends together around events, especially because the actual time of the inauguration — the middle of the work day — may not offer working Facebookers an opportunity to watch the events live.

Thanks to Facebook Connect, Facebook users will be able to update their Facebook pages directly from the CNN.com live stream, allowing them to stay on CNN’s page for live coverage and discuss the events with thier Facebook friends without ever leaving the site. A mini-Facebook window on CNN.com will show updates from friends in real time.

CNN’s LiveStream event already has an audience of 800,000 people and the New York Times Facebook page now has more than 200,000 fans!  If you’re planning on watching the inauguration and you want to know what your friends are saying about it, you might want to check out either the New York Times or CNN on Facebook!