More Reason to be on Facebook- User Engagement with Brands Surges in 2012

Facebook has remained a hot topic for brands across the board this year. We saw some embrace it- such as McDonalds, who runs Facebook ads frequently- and brands critique it- such as a General Motors, who said they don’t see end conversions from users on Facebook. A recent report by Adobe, however, provides great support for brands who are using Facebook as a means to converse with and market to their consumers on the social network.

The report, based on the Adobe Digital Index, looked at Facebook activity and Facebook advertising data from nearly 340 companies. The findings are astounding. User engagements with brand posts on Facebook in Q3 2012 increased nearly 900% over those recorded in Q3 2011 (with a base of 100%).

What are these increases likely from? Adobe believes it stems from the new Facebook timeline, the use of new engagement metrics, and more effective Facebook marketing by brands.

Though these likely are a part of it, I think the increases come from other reasons.

First off, Facebook has pushed out new advertising solutions for businesses. These include log-out advertising that can include videos, new forms of standard marketplace ads (video, poll, etc), and increased sponsored stories, which display information about friends of the user who “like” or engage with the brand (ie “Jane likes Starbucks”). These have proved to be very effective forms of advertising for businesses.

Secondly, Facebook has increased the number of ads ran on their site. Ads are now smaller, allowing for more to fit on one page. Ads also appear on new pages within Facebook, such next to photos that user clicks on and videos that a user plays. Additionally, the release of sponsored posts within the Facebook newsfeed gives brands a better ability to tie their sponsored content in with organic content, making it much more likely that users engage.

Finally, Facebook has become smarter with its targeting. Now more than ever before are ads more relevant to users (so long as businesses use this targeting correctly). A combination of all of these has likely  helped increase user engagement and improve overall performance of Facebook advertising for brands.

What does this study mean for businesses? It means what social marketers have said all along- take a look at Facebook for your business. Is your audience there? Are your competitors there? If so, formulate a strategy for Facebook. Think about what content and value you can provide your audience on Facebook. Ensure you know how you’re going to promote your Facebook page. Realize that Facebook is real time and you’ll need to monitor your page for user comments. Create realistic expectations for what your brand wants to get out of Facebook. Do you use it as a customer service means? Do you use it to release products? Do you share industry links and reports? What kind of tone will your content take- humorous? Serious? Finally, how are you going to tie Facebook into the rest of your marketing efforts? Will it all be integrated? Will your Facebook page be a bit off the wall? All of these questions are ones you should be asking yourself and your business before you enter the realm of Facebook. As we’ve seen with the above statistics, Facebook is a great means to start conversations with your consumers and form long-lasting relationships- if done correctly.

I highly recommend businesses look at this strategy as we continue into one of the busiest Quarters of the year. You may see a huge payoff by making Facebook a part of your holiday marketing.

-Bryan Nagy

See the original report, as well as other important digital news, here.