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Marketing Strategy of Facebook

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Marketing Strategy of Facebook
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Anjali Khurana
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Marketing Strategy of Facebook - December 7th, 2010

Facebook is a social network service and website launched in February 2004 that is operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc.[1] As of July 2010[update] Facebook has more than 500 million active users,[6][7][N 1] Users may create a personal profile, add other users as friends and exchange messages, including automatic notifications when they update their profile. Additionally, users may join common interest user groups, organized by workplace, school, or college, or other characteristics. The name of the service stems from the colloquial name for the book given to students at the start of the academic year by university administrations in the US with the intention of helping students to get to know each other better. Facebook allows anyone who declares themselves to be at least 13 years old to become a registered user of the website.

Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg with his college roommates and fellow computer science students Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes.[8] The website's membership was initially limited by the founders to Harvard students, but was expanded to other colleges in the Boston area, the Ivy League, and Stanford University. It gradually added support for students at various other universities before opening to high school students, and, finally, to anyone aged 13 and over.

A January 2009 Compete.com study ranked Facebook as the most used social network by worldwide monthly active users, followed by MySpace.[9] Entertainment Weekly put it on its end-of-the-decade "best-of" list, saying, "How on earth did we stalk our exes, remember our co-workers' birthdays, bug our friends, and play a rousing game of Scrabulous before Facebook?"[10] Quantcast estimates Facebook has 135.1 million monthly unique U.S. visitors.[11]


On August 26th, 2008 Facebook, Inc. reached the milestone of 100,000,000 active users. Since then, its growth has continued to grow exponentially into emerging markets and additional countries. At the same time, the company has remained a relatively untapped oasis for internet marketers.

I recently had the chance to meet Facebook engineers Andew “Boz” Bosworth, creator of the much talked about News Feed, and David Fetterman, lead engineer for the Facebook Development Platform, and took to the opportunity to find out exactly how the website could best be used by internet marketers and SEOs. The features we talked about are below.

Facebook Search

According to Bosworth, Facebook operates the largest people search engine on the internet. It is run by ten engineers (two of whom work solely on people search) and directs traffic for millions of people a day.

People Search’s secret sauce is its ability to employ the searcher’s social graph to find the most relevant Pages (business profiles) and people to a given user. Once the people search engine narrows down the users list of Facebook friends and Pages, it returns five related results in an alphabetically ordered drop down menu. This built in search engine is heavily used and currently underutilized by SEOs.

Facebook Search
Facebook Search

TIP: Note the opportunity to take advantage of the inherent flaws of returning results in alphabetical order. It is not a coincidence that so many companies named themselves with alphabetical order in mind in the days when yellow pages were popular. (Ex. AAA Plumbing) The same tactic can be used to drive users to a given Facebook Page.

The search function also has a lesser known feature that has the ability to drive traffic outside of the site. When a user types in a query that doesn’t match anything in their social graph, the search bar provides the ability to search Microsoft’s Live search index.

Facebook Search The Web
Facebook's Search the Web uses Microsoft's Live Index

Performing a search of the web through Facebook returns search results and ads that are exactly the same as those returned by Microsoft’s Live.

Facebook Search
Facebook Search Engine Result Page (SERP)

Live Search
Live SERP

TIP: Consider double dipping. Although Live drives less traffic than Google, it might be worthwhile to target Live in SEO and PPC campaigns to automatically encompass Facebook.

Marketers can also take advantage of Facebook’s wealth of domain juice to raise references to their brand in the major search engines' SERPs. Facebook’s Pages are publicly indexable and quickly rise to the top of many search queries. (Note: Apparently, this has changed and brand names on Facebook are no longer ranking highly. Thanks wiltonbiz in the comments. That said, Facebook profiles still rank highly for individuals names.)

Facebook in SERPs
SEOmoz's page on Facebook.com being returned high in the Google SERPs

News Feed

News Feed is a feature on Facebook that highlights what is happening in a user’s social circle. It does this by analyzing relevant actions taken by a user's friend on the site and presenting the most relevant actions on the given user’s homepage.

The News Feed processes nearly every action taken by every user on Facebook. According to the Feed's creator, Andrew Bosworth, this is over 1.1 trillion actions daily.

Bosworth had this to say about the underlying algorithm:

“First, it gets a list of all my friends and acquaintances on Facebook and considers how often I interact with them. Then, with full respect for all privacy settings, it gets a list of all the things my friends have done on the site since it last checked. It also looks up all the stories it could have published the previous week in case one of them needs to be updated. After looking at all that information and considering my News Feed Preferences, it picks just the few stories that are good enough for publication and puts the rest in a safe place until it gets back to me again. It does all of this for me in 0.00023 seconds." Source

He also said “[News Feed] is keeping track of whom we seem to be keeping an eye on recently as well as remembering whom we have cared about in the past. It is very discreet and never talks about this secret information to other people or systems, it just needs the information to do a better job picking stories”:

His comments and my own research have led me to believe that the News Feed’s algorithm uses the following factors to return results:

Outward Facing Data:

* User's Friends
* Fan Pages
* Group Activity
* Photo Albums
* Photo Comments
* Photo Tags
* Wall Posts on other user's Wall
* Wall Posts on given user’s Wall
* Event Activity
* Notes
* Relationship Status
* Friend Requests
* Friend Request Response
* Profile Text Changes
* Status Updates
* Posts
* Videos
* Application Activity
* Application installations
* Facebook tools, e.g., “People you might know”
* Privacy Settings

Internal Data:

* Profiles that the user views
* Photos that the user views
* Friends of Friends
* Recent activity of the given user
* Last login of given user

“It doubled the amount of actions taken on the site within the first week, and that boost never went away,” said Bosworth.

This massive amount of user-specific data combined with the incredible amount of traffic Facebook receives on a daily basis clearly have incredible potential for internet marketers. Organic rankings can be gained in the News Feed by performing the actions listed in the factors above while being friends with given users. Alternatively, marketers can buy sponsored stories (called social ads) to appear in users’ News Feeds.
Facebook Social Ad
Facebook's Social Ads are displayed inside the News Feed

Facebook Advertising Platform

It should come as no surprise that Facebook uses its wealth of user data to match advertisers with very specific user groups. The self service advertising platform is very similar to Google’s Adwords. (In fact, it is now run by Google’s former Vice President of Global Online Sales & Operations, Sheryl Sandberg.) The system allows advertisers to create small 150px by 155px ads which can contain a 110px by 80px image with 135 characters of body text and a 25 character title. Users can run both ‘Pay for Clicks’ and ‘Pay for Views’ campaigns targeted by any of the following attributes:

* Country
* State
* City
* Sex
* Age Range
* Keywords in profiles
* Schools
* Workplaces
* Relationship Status
* Interest (gender)

To fully understand the value of the advertising on Facebook, I ran a mock advertising campaign. I created a company and website and, at the risk of derailing my post, gave it the need to hire models.

For new customers, each ad is hand reviewed to ensure quality.

TIP: The approval process is surprisingly strict. It took me 3 times to get my ads approved due to errors like irregular capitalization (Ex. “Submit A Candidate” instead of “Submit a Candidate”). It is also important to note that the ad reviewers take the time to follow the link associated with the pending ad and decide if the webpage it points to is legitimate. By examining server log files I saw that the person who reviewed my ad not only viewed the landing page but clicked through the navigation to other pages on my website as well.

I eventually got the following ads approved:

Chas Ad Danny Dover Ad Mel Ad Mike Ad
Chas Williams Danny Dover Mel Gray Mike Thompson
Timmy Christensen Ad
Timmy Christensen

To make this campaign more fun, I found ugly pictures of my fellow developers and held a competition to see whose ad got clicked the most. The results were as follows:

Facebook Ad Dashboard
Facebook Ad Manager (Two columns removed)

Facebook’s advertising platform is a great value. Currently it has relatively small competition (compared to the major search engines) so its prices are very reasonable. To run a CPM campaign targeting the 23,280 Facebook-enabled 18 to 25 aged people at the University of Washington, it cost me $20.33 USD for 53,368 impressions. The results were not phenomenal but did establish the Facebook advertising platform as a viable marketing option.
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Re: Marketing Strategy of Facebook
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Jitendra Mazee
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Re: Marketing Strategy of Facebook - June 24th, 2017

Quote:
Originally Posted by anjalicutek View Post
Facebook is a social network service and website launched in February 2004 that is operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc.[1] As of July 2010[update] Facebook has more than 500 million active users,[6][7][N 1] Users may create a personal profile, add other users as friends and exchange messages, including automatic notifications when they update their profile. Additionally, users may join common interest user groups, organized by workplace, school, or college, or other characteristics. The name of the service stems from the colloquial name for the book given to students at the start of the academic year by university administrations in the US with the intention of helping students to get to know each other better. Facebook allows anyone who declares themselves to be at least 13 years old to become a registered user of the website.

Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg with his college roommates and fellow computer science students Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes.[8] The website's membership was initially limited by the founders to Harvard students, but was expanded to other colleges in the Boston area, the Ivy League, and Stanford University. It gradually added support for students at various other universities before opening to high school students, and, finally, to anyone aged 13 and over.

A January 2009 Compete.com study ranked Facebook as the most used social network by worldwide monthly active users, followed by MySpace.[9] Entertainment Weekly put it on its end-of-the-decade "best-of" list, saying, "How on earth did we stalk our exes, remember our co-workers' birthdays, bug our friends, and play a rousing game of Scrabulous before Facebook?"[10] Quantcast estimates Facebook has 135.1 million monthly unique U.S. visitors.[11]


On August 26th, 2008 Facebook, Inc. reached the milestone of 100,000,000 active users. Since then, its growth has continued to grow exponentially into emerging markets and additional countries. At the same time, the company has remained a relatively untapped oasis for internet marketers.

I recently had the chance to meet Facebook engineers Andew “Boz” Bosworth, creator of the much talked about News Feed, and David Fetterman, lead engineer for the Facebook Development Platform, and took to the opportunity to find out exactly how the website could best be used by internet marketers and SEOs. The features we talked about are below.

Facebook Search

According to Bosworth, Facebook operates the largest people search engine on the internet. It is run by ten engineers (two of whom work solely on people search) and directs traffic for millions of people a day.

People Search’s secret sauce is its ability to employ the searcher’s social graph to find the most relevant Pages (business profiles) and people to a given user. Once the people search engine narrows down the users list of Facebook friends and Pages, it returns five related results in an alphabetically ordered drop down menu. This built in search engine is heavily used and currently underutilized by SEOs.

Facebook Search
Facebook Search

TIP: Note the opportunity to take advantage of the inherent flaws of returning results in alphabetical order. It is not a coincidence that so many companies named themselves with alphabetical order in mind in the days when yellow pages were popular. (Ex. AAA Plumbing) The same tactic can be used to drive users to a given Facebook Page.

The search function also has a lesser known feature that has the ability to drive traffic outside of the site. When a user types in a query that doesn’t match anything in their social graph, the search bar provides the ability to search Microsoft’s Live search index.

Facebook Search The Web
Facebook's Search the Web uses Microsoft's Live Index

Performing a search of the web through Facebook returns search results and ads that are exactly the same as those returned by Microsoft’s Live.

Facebook Search
Facebook Search Engine Result Page (SERP)

Live Search
Live SERP

TIP: Consider double dipping. Although Live drives less traffic than Google, it might be worthwhile to target Live in SEO and PPC campaigns to automatically encompass Facebook.

Marketers can also take advantage of Facebook’s wealth of domain juice to raise references to their brand in the major search engines' SERPs. Facebook’s Pages are publicly indexable and quickly rise to the top of many search queries. (Note: Apparently, this has changed and brand names on Facebook are no longer ranking highly. Thanks wiltonbiz in the comments. That said, Facebook profiles still rank highly for individuals names.)

Facebook in SERPs
SEOmoz's page on Facebook.com being returned high in the Google SERPs

News Feed

News Feed is a feature on Facebook that highlights what is happening in a user’s social circle. It does this by analyzing relevant actions taken by a user's friend on the site and presenting the most relevant actions on the given user’s homepage.

The News Feed processes nearly every action taken by every user on Facebook. According to the Feed's creator, Andrew Bosworth, this is over 1.1 trillion actions daily.

Bosworth had this to say about the underlying algorithm:

“First, it gets a list of all my friends and acquaintances on Facebook and considers how often I interact with them. Then, with full respect for all privacy settings, it gets a list of all the things my friends have done on the site since it last checked. It also looks up all the stories it could have published the previous week in case one of them needs to be updated. After looking at all that information and considering my News Feed Preferences, it picks just the few stories that are good enough for publication and puts the rest in a safe place until it gets back to me again. It does all of this for me in 0.00023 seconds." Source

He also said “[News Feed] is keeping track of whom we seem to be keeping an eye on recently as well as remembering whom we have cared about in the past. It is very discreet and never talks about this secret information to other people or systems, it just needs the information to do a better job picking stories”:

His comments and my own research have led me to believe that the News Feed’s algorithm uses the following factors to return results:

Outward Facing Data:

* User's Friends
* Fan Pages
* Group Activity
* Photo Albums
* Photo Comments
* Photo Tags
* Wall Posts on other user's Wall
* Wall Posts on given user’s Wall
* Event Activity
* Notes
* Relationship Status
* Friend Requests
* Friend Request Response
* Profile Text Changes
* Status Updates
* Posts
* Videos
* Application Activity
* Application installations
* Facebook tools, e.g., “People you might know”
* Privacy Settings

Internal Data:

* Profiles that the user views
* Photos that the user views
* Friends of Friends
* Recent activity of the given user
* Last login of given user

“It doubled the amount of actions taken on the site within the first week, and that boost never went away,” said Bosworth.

This massive amount of user-specific data combined with the incredible amount of traffic Facebook receives on a daily basis clearly have incredible potential for internet marketers. Organic rankings can be gained in the News Feed by performing the actions listed in the factors above while being friends with given users. Alternatively, marketers can buy sponsored stories (called social ads) to appear in users’ News Feeds.
Facebook Social Ad
Facebook's Social Ads are displayed inside the News Feed

Facebook Advertising Platform

It should come as no surprise that Facebook uses its wealth of user data to match advertisers with very specific user groups. The self service advertising platform is very similar to Google’s Adwords. (In fact, it is now run by Google’s former Vice President of Global Online Sales & Operations, Sheryl Sandberg.) The system allows advertisers to create small 150px by 155px ads which can contain a 110px by 80px image with 135 characters of body text and a 25 character title. Users can run both ‘Pay for Clicks’ and ‘Pay for Views’ campaigns targeted by any of the following attributes:

* Country
* State
* City
* Sex
* Age Range
* Keywords in profiles
* Schools
* Workplaces
* Relationship Status
* Interest (gender)

To fully understand the value of the advertising on Facebook, I ran a mock advertising campaign. I created a company and website and, at the risk of derailing my post, gave it the need to hire models.

For new customers, each ad is hand reviewed to ensure quality.

TIP: The approval process is surprisingly strict. It took me 3 times to get my ads approved due to errors like irregular capitalization (Ex. “Submit A Candidate” instead of “Submit a Candidate”). It is also important to note that the ad reviewers take the time to follow the link associated with the pending ad and decide if the webpage it points to is legitimate. By examining server log files I saw that the person who reviewed my ad not only viewed the landing page but clicked through the navigation to other pages on my website as well.

I eventually got the following ads approved:

Chas Ad Danny Dover Ad Mel Ad Mike Ad
Chas Williams Danny Dover Mel Gray Mike Thompson
Timmy Christensen Ad
Timmy Christensen

To make this campaign more fun, I found ugly pictures of my fellow developers and held a competition to see whose ad got clicked the most. The results were as follows:

Facebook Ad Dashboard
Facebook Ad Manager (Two columns removed)

Facebook’s advertising platform is a great value. Currently it has relatively small competition (compared to the major search engines) so its prices are very reasonable. To run a CPM campaign targeting the 23,280 Facebook-enabled 18 to 25 aged people at the University of Washington, it cost me $20.33 USD for 53,368 impressions. The results were not phenomenal but did establish the Facebook advertising platform as a viable marketing option.
Hey anjali, i really liked your effort that you made and i am sure that everyone would appreciate your work. Moreover, i have also got some important information on Facebook and going to share it with you.
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