Facebook is the biggest of the social media marketing outlets, and with the company’s recent $104 billion initial public offering in May, the attention has gotten even more intense regarding the value of the company to not only investors, but also to marketers. Although Facebook is the top visited Web site in the U.S., it has yet to fully realize its potential in advertising. This became very clear when General Motors announced in May that it is eliminating its display advertising on Facebook, citing a lack of measurable results from the campaigns. (Estimates are that GM spent roughly $10 million, out of a total $1.78 billion marketing budget, on Facebook ads last year.)
This brings up the topic of how companies should best use Facebook as part of their promotional tool box. For many companies, just having a brand presence with their own Facebook page may be enough to help promote the company. For other companies, sponsored ads seem to work fine. The difficulty comes from measuring the effectiveness of the ads, and the return on investment for the placements.
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Watch a Bloomberg video clip that discusses the pros and cons of advertising on Facebook: http://bloom.bg/J06RzM
- What are the best uses of Facebook for companies? What does not work when advertising on Facebook?
- Divide students into groups. Have each group select a company to examine its profile and advertising on Facebook. (Possible companies to examine include GM, Amazon, McDonalds, Proctor & Gamble, Coca Cola, Audi, etc.)
- What is the content on the Facebook pages? What is the main message? The target audience?
- In teams, have students develop a strategy for how these companies could use Facebook ads to be more effective in the marketing programs.
Source: Ad Age Daily, Business Week, Bloomberg News and other media outlets, 5/18/12