Driving Traffic to Facebook?

Driving Traffic to Facebook?

Television advertising is evolving. Instead of laying it all out in 30 second on the small screen, many advertisers are using that spot as a launching pad for consumers to continue their experience with that brand online. This isn’t a new trend, but one thing I’ve been noticing more is the call-to-action steering customers towards a Facebook URL instead of a brand’s own homepage. Is this hip approach the sure-fire way to engage with those coveted twenty-somethings full of disposable income, or are you sending valuable consumer traffic to a black hole that is beyond your control?

WHY WE LIKE FACEBOOK

1. Facebook is the darling of the social media world. It is the most visited site in the U.S. and accounted for almost 64% of all social media traffic this past week (according to Experian Hitwise). If you’re trying to send the message that your brand is hip and in-touch, Facebook is the way to go.

2. Facebook Insights track lots of metrics we care about. In addition to tracking obvious things like the number of fans your page has, you can also use Facebook Insights to look at Interactions, Post Quality, Page Views, Media Consumption, Discussion Posts and Demographics. Essentially , if there is a stats that has some meaning to your campaign effort, Facebook Insights can probably help you track it.

3. The interface is familiar to consumers. If you want to get customers to engage with your brand, it helps if you are sending them somewhere that feels comfortable to them. Despite the fact that you can customize your Facebook page, the interface still feels the same to users. They already know how to leave comments, sort through threads and share your content with their social circle.

WHAT WE DON’T LIKE

1. You concede control of your consumer base. Facebook is the most popular site in existence right now. Right now. What about 5 years from now? Does it make sense to spend your marketing dollars to build a relationship with consumers on a site that could fade from popularity in a few years? What if you had done this years back with MySpace? Would you still want that to be your primary customer destination?

2. Red tape could screw you. I remember when Facebook started offering customized domain registration – a company I was doing work for at the time spent months trying to convince the powers that be at Facebook that they had the rights to the domain being requested. After a long time, Facebook relented, but it reminded me how much brand power you concede by investing resources in this type of strategy. Sure, they eventually allowed the use of that domain, but what’s to stop them from taking it back? What’s to stop another larger, more powerful company from issuing a challenge and getting this whole thing tied up in red tape for months?

3. What if Facebook is acquired, bankrupted or just changes direction? Sure, those things seem unlikely, but things can turn on a dime in the tech space. Before you bank roll a campaign that relies mostly on a third party platform, make sure you understand the risks and think through them. Facebook will always look out for their own interests. What if theirs no longer align with yours?

DO YOUR RESEARCH

Am I advising you not to use Facebook? Of course not, you’d be a fool to not take advantage of the credibility and reach that Facebook can provide to your marketing efforts. Instead, I’m asking you to do some  homework before you go all-in on any one tactic. Make sure you understand the pros and cons of each path and make sure that your overall strategy provides coverage across as many channels as possible to mitigate any possible risks.

I’d love to hear about some of the Facebook campaigns you’re working on that have performed well, or not so well, for you.