How Do Brands Define Success on Facebook?

Yesterday I wrote about how brands can succeed on Facebook. At the time I suggested that success for me personally is having an application within the leaderboard. Commenters immediately suggested that this position was a flawed one and after thinking about it further, I agree. The first step in launching a social media campaign or an individual campaign on Facebook is defining your objectives.

Is Brand Building Important for All?

One of the primary objectives of many branded campaigns on Facebook is to simply build brand awareness. Just this morning I read about the 14 new campaigns launched by ContextOptional over the past two weeks. Yesterday I posted about Buddy Media’s strategy of appvertisements. Mike Lazerow, CEO of Buddy Media, posted a response in the comments which points out the flaw in my thinking:

The applications we build for our clients are marketing programs. The applications built by the top Facebook and MySpace developers are uber-funded entertainment properties that are continually cared for, improved, tweaked and refreshed with new content and features. This takes significant resources and talent.

I agree with Mike that branded applications aren’t the same as products that development companies are building out. This doesn’t mean that branded applications are right for everybody though. Does People magazine really need to build more brand awareness? While readership is going down, I would argue that piling money into Facebook applications would not necessarily increase their avid fan base.

The challenge for the media companies is not how they make consumers more aware of their brand but how to attract the attention of consumers to their content in an attention deprived economy.

How Do You Define Success?

If we are to assume that brand building is not the only thing to be accomplished through Facebook application campaigns, what should brands use when judging success? One commenter yesterday suggested that it’s the combination of strategies (external site, Facebook application, and advertisements) which is most effective.

Another commenter suggested that even low engagement levels with their applications is still successful. This means that different companies have different standards for success. This also means that there should at least be some initial questions to answer for determining success. I’ll start it off with 3 questions to answer when determining success, feel free to add to it below:

  1. What is your company looking to accomplish from exposure on Facebook? – This could be a increase in traffic to your company’s website or an increase in exposure to your brand.
  2. What metrics will you use to judge success? – Is “engagement” based on time spent within a branded environment the best way to measure your success? How about the total number of unique visitors? Are pageviews important to you? How about ROI? Is it possible to increase revenue directly from a Facebook application?
  3. Is this Marketing or Advertising? – Is your company looking to simply promote its brand or provide a valuable experience?

What other questions do you think should be answered? Ultimately I can’t effectively define success for all so I’d like to hear your thoughts on what success on Facbeook is to you.