Facebook targets creatives

29 March 2011
PALO ALTO: Facebook, the social network, is rolling out new tools offering opportunities for creative agencies, brand owners and market researchers.

According to the Financial Times, the Web 2.0 platform is introducing a service specifically for advertising creatives, operating under the title Facebook Studio, next month.

Jennifer Kattula, the online giant's manager of agency marketing, hopes this digital space will alter perceptions among this audience.

"One of the biggest challenges that people talk to us about is that Facebook is not a place to be creative because the ad unit size is so small, and there's no sight, sound and motion," she said.

"The idea is that social is creative. It's more than just ads."

Facebook Studio's objectives include encouraging communications the sharing of best practices, lessons from previous experience and views on proposed advertising executions.

Kattula cited the example of Threadless, a t-shirt manufacturer which allows its Facebook followers to select their preferred potential designs, and then makes the top-performing choices.

"They're practically pre-sold," Kattula said.

Food group Kraft also made innovative use of Facebook when promoting Oreo, asking members to choose between the "cookie or the cream", securing 10,000 responses as a result.

It even attempted to set a record for the most "likes" received in a single day, requesting that Oreo's 16m-strong fanbase to declare their support for the "world's favourite cookie".

This initiative stimulated 114,619 such engagements, and while the feat was soon surpassed by rapper Lil' Wayne, it demonstrated the power of conversational marketing.

Anticipating Studio's launch, Facebook held an "influencer summit" in February, involving UK-based digital specialists like LBi, AKQA and Dare.

At the event, Andrew Bosworth, Facebook's director, engineering, suggested there is now a need to ensure both advertising and products are of the highest quality.

"For ad agencies that are good at what they do, it's Christmas," he said. "Because people will be talking about what you do and sharing it with their friends."

Nicola Mendelsohn, chairman of creative shop Karmarama, similarly argued models should change, although the financial implications for agencies remain unclear.

"We'll look back in time and think the period of the past 50 years was the most artificial ever in terms of how brands communicate to consumers," she said.

"There are question marks about our industry and remuneration packages," she added. "Because it's still so early on, we don't know what the value of a fan is."

Elsewhere, Facebook has unveiled an updated version of its Questions system, allowing users to ask other netizens for information like restaurant or film recommendations.

"For most of these questions, experts weren't going to be the best source for advice," said Adrian Graham, product manager, Facebook Questions.

"For more unusual questions, you can get advice from a broader group of people, but to keep it most relevant we filter the answers to show you first what your friends think."

Ben Grossman, a communications strategist at marketing agency Oxford Communications, predicted companies could leverage significant benefits via this route.

"We know from Nielsen that recommendations from friends and family and the opinions of online strangers are the top two most trusted forms of advertising," he said.

"Facebook Questions offers the perfect opportunity for brands to tap into exactly that."

Grossman added: "The opportunity to gain instant feedback from a brand's biggest fans is amazing," he added. "The best part about this is that it's in a trusting, social and real-time setting."

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by Warc staff
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