Live from ad:tech San Franicsco: Social Media + UGC

Inside Facebook is live here at ad:tech San Francisco for the panel on “Social Media + UGC” including:

  • Seth Goldstein, Co-Founder and CEO, SocialMedia
  • Mike Hoefflinger, Director of Brand Product Marketing, Facebook
  • Andy Mitchell, VP, Interactive Marketing, CNN Worldwide
  • Randi Zuckerberg, Director of Market Development, Facebook

Here are the highlights from the session.

Andy Mitchell: Regarding the Obama inauguration integration with Facebook, the fact that we were promoting CNN on Facebook, a different platform, shows the success we had promoting this idea within the company. We also promoted it in Spanish.

We pushed everyone to our Event page, because the power of Facebook is getting one user engaged, and letting them get their friends engaged. We tested a number of different ads as well.

We ended up with 1.2 million RSVPs for the inauguration. So at the last minute we scrambled and created a “waiting room” in case we couldn’t serve all those live streams. Anheuser Busch, Starbucks, and Sprint ran very successful sponsorships of the event.

Mike Hoefflinger: There are 200 million users on Facebook today, including 60 million Americans, 30 million of which logged in today. How does advertising blend into that experience? Engagement ads on the top right side. For example, here you see an event unit that blends very organically with the user experience even though it’s bought media. In addition, once users establish a relationship with you you get the opportunity to publish information to their stream and it’s perfectly natural, just like information from users friends is perfectly natural.

Our home page is the most engaging page on the internet in terms of total time per month, which means we’re on the right track in terms of designing the right product for our users. And as long as the advertising you’re building fits well within the user experience there are benefits to be gotten by everybody.

There is no single magic formula for every brand, but there are common success themes.
– ask questions, extend invitations.
– promos, incenstives, exclusive content (what’s in it for them?)
– align with cause/passion (is it something they care about?)

Some examples:

– Starbucks drove awareness of promotion and in-store sales. They used an event engagement ad reach block on the day of the event. Over 1 million people responded, 650k confirmed. Strong ROI and positive user response. They continue to feed the system with events as a way to promote in store promotions.

– Papa Johns and Coke are publishing into the stream from their Facebook pages, getting into asking questions. Papa Johns got about 4000 comments on a recent question they posted around March Madness. These are things you can do all day long as long as they’re consistent with user expectations. Engagement ad couples with free pizza offer. Grew fan base by 130,000 people in 24 hours.

– Adidas and Red Bull made available exclusive content about their athlete base, taking fans behind the scenes. Adidas is up to 1.5 million fans, which to them represents up to 250m annual consumer spending. It’s a good way to get their fan base fundamentally more engaged with their products and the athletes behind their products instead of just mailing out discount offers.

Finally, think 360, promote across all channels. For example, Vitamin Water is promoting their Facebook page in their TV advertising, and they are being very consistent.

Audience Questions:

Question: What did the CNN experience teach you about people?

Andy Mitchell: You definitely saw the gamut, but overall the fact that people are not anonymous on Facebook like they are on blogs made their contributions a little more thoughtful.

Question: Is there such thing as too much sharing?

Mike Hoefflinger: it’s important for Facebook to give users the tools to manage that. It’s up to the user to decide what connections they want to establish as well as to decide whose updates they want to see in their stream. We’re not going to try to algorithmically handle that for you, we’re going to give you the control to do that yourself.

Question: How did the concept of fans come about?

Randi Zuckerberg: We realized that there were a lot of people who needed one to many relationships because friendships are one to one and they were reaching their 5000 friend limit.

Question: What’s the difference between Facebook status updates and Twitter tweets?

Andy Mitchell: Twitter is about speaking to a lot of people, but Facebook is more about sharing different types of content.

Randi Zuckerberg: With the inauguration, there were 2 different views of status updates – what everyone was saying, or just what your friends are saying.

Question from Seth Goldstein: What do you think about advertising formats in products like CNN Live? You’ve socially enabled your content, how do you socially enable your advertising?

Andy Mitchell: Some of the things we’ve done is show people video clips of Barack Obama and ask people to comment and that showed up in their news feed. As a marketer for a content company i think the best thing i can do is use content as marketing.