Guest Post: Branded Rich Media News Feed Experiences Are Rare But Effective

This is a guest post from Jed Singer, director of client engagement at Stuzo, a creative technology company and Preferred Marketing Developer with Pages and Apps badges.

The Facebook News Feed is becoming evermore critical to engagement on Facebook. When you design branded social solutions, they need to serve as conduits for storytelling. 100x more people are likely to see the stories that your social product or campaign pushes out than will ever actually experience the product or campaign.

This amplification through the Timeline and News Feed is inherently key to awareness and viral distribution of the brand’s message, but it’s even more important because those stories in the Timeline and News Feed are more accessible by mobile users (63 percent of Facebook users) than the solution, itself, today. This focus on the “story” can mean success or failure of the program as it relates to actual business outcomes — the metrics that matter.

There are also other ways to have consumers effectively story-tell through a branded social experience: Rich Media News Feed Experiences. This is an HTML5 experience on mobile and a Flash media unit that is the experience within a promoted page post, or pushed out of a custom experience on Facebook (by either a user or a page). Both can be activated and engaged with directly within the News Feed.

Even into Q2 of 2013, these are rare for brands, but they are extremely effective at engaging users. Some, like Dunkin Donuts, Rovio, and Lexus have leveraged such units in their social repertoire. At Stuzo, we make sure that clients are intimately aware of the possibilities; one of our most successful Rich News Feed Experiences was for People’s Choice Awards this past season, which enabled fans to explore all of the award categories and vote for their favorite nominee. This gives users the full voting functionality in-stream and exposes them to the main business metric for the People’s Choice Awards — votes — without having to leave their News Feed browsing experience.

Another example is AutoTrader’s social inventory search feature, Decide My Ride, which enables users to share out three cars that they’re interested in and have their friends then vote on which they believe the user should purchase. This voting is all done in in-stream in the News Feed, and below, we can see examples on both the desktop and via mobile. This is rich branded interaction and storytelling that is cross-device and directly in-stream.

When do you, as a brand, want to consider these Rich News Feed Experiences on Facebook? Here’s a simple list of questions to ask yourself. Do you have:

• A CRM conversion point, like an email sign-up?
• An engagement conversion, like a social vote or poll answer?
• An awareness conversion, like a social good campaign?
• An off-site traffic conversion with teaser content?
• A lightweight social game that users could preview in-stream?
• A product that could be interacted with via News Feed?
• An inventory that users could explore in-stream?
• A service that customers could reserve in the feed?

The list goes on, and the above should serve as thought-starters. There is an array of potential use cases for Rich News Feed Experiences on Facebook, and to maximize engagement and conversion of your audience, these mobile-accessible, mobile-optimized products are an extremely powerful solutions for your digital and social marketing toolbox.

Jed Singer has been studying, advising, and executing in social since 2006, and has worked with brands across verticals including the National Football League, National Basketball Association, Toys “R” Us, Coach, Procter & Gamble, Anheuser-Busch InBev, MasterCard, CBS, ESPN, and HBO. As director of client engagement at Stuzo, one of the original five Facebook Preferred Marketing Developers, Jed specializes in social strategy, management, and application development.