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Thursday, 13 September 2012

Influencing brand decision making through Facebook

Everyone is talking about how brands can influence customers through presence on Facebook. Whether it is targeted ads, Facebook pages and likes, or getting discussed/ shared, brand custodians are keen to leverage the power of the world's largest social network to touch the customers' purchase decision. But how does it really work?

For an answer, it is totally worth it to read Wired's interview with Gokul Rajaram, advertising product director at Facebook. To quote from the interview;

Facebook’s advertising mission, then, is not to inject commercial messages into social discussions, but to amplify the messages that are already there. And it’s not to drive immediate purchases, as Google’s contextual advertising does, but to influence buying decisions a little further down the road.

The purchase decision is viewed by Rajaram as a funnel. At  the upper funnel stage, you have not really decided to buy anything but you are consciously and unconsciously consuming information that will impact your purchase decision. At the lower funnel stage you are actually searching for what you want to buy, and will pick it up. 

Facebook operates at the mid funnel stage, where you are interested in a brand or purchase in short term but have not yet made the actual decision to buy it. Think of it as the stage where you ask people which phone you should buy, or check with a friend if the new iPad is really worth the extra money. 

So how can you monetise the mid funnel? Rajaram lists a host of interesting initiatives including  coupons, promoted posts, mobile sponsorship of brand mentions to make them stickier, app recommendations and more.

The whole idea is to work along with the way that Facebook works and to seamlessly capitalise on the flow of opinions and sharing of information that people do anyway on the social network. 

Facebook is now large enough to necessarily figure  in a brands digital strategy. How to monetise your presence on Facebook is an area we are still figuring out and Rajaram's interview provides a lot of insight into this emerging space.

Source : Wired Magazine