Top 5 Social CRM Implications of the New Facebook Platform
At the recent F8 developers conference, we heard Facebook announce a ton of new features, namely the new profile layout called “Timeline”, a new class of apps for marketers called “canvas apps” (largely relevant for news and media brands) and a new set of plug-ins that leave the “like” button in the dust. Whereas these features will have some major sex-appeal to consumers and brand marketers alike, what gets our juices flowing aren’t so much the features themselves, but what the new platform will mean to social CRM focused marketers who care about things like consumer insights, targeting, and value. Although Facebook hasn’t yet explicitly defined how some of this will work, we’ve thought about it and are pretty excited about the possibilities...
- The new class of “Zuckerverb” plug-ins will create new and improved targeting opportunities: The new and totally customizable plug-ins combine any “action” [verb] and any “object” [noun]. The possibilities are endless for consumers to engage with brand content, media, etc. It could be as vast as whatever combinations you can come up with in this sentence: “Heather [action] + [noun]” (and yes, Facebook WILL be approving these before developers can release). This takes Facebook | Site integration possibilities to a whole new level – no longer will consumers be forced to just “like” something or even push a button. This new layer of plug-ins makes interacting with the Facebook open graph much more natural, expressive and flexible. What that means for marketers, then, is a much more relevant way to target social consumers with messaging based on their social behavior. For instance, as a marketer, I could target people who have indicated they “want” one of my products, with special offers to bring them over the line, versus people who have just “used” or “tried” a product with targeted feedback messaging.
- Relevance becomes more important with the new Timeline and Graph Rank: Just because marketers can create these new engagement points doesn’t mean that brand posts and consumer-to-brand engagement will automatically show up in the new consumer “Timeline” newsfeed. Zuck and team have alluded to a new algorithm that will determine when a social activity makes it into just a “lightweight activity stream,” known as the Ticker (these will be things like “Heather just read an article on Washington Post” Or “Kerri just listened to the new John Mayer album”), or whether it makes it into the actual “Newsfeed” (now called Timeline). Facebook has indicated that to make it into the Timeline, they’ll be using something called the “Graph Rank” to determine what content will be most interesting to users. The score will be based on a series of variables like shared activity, likes, engagement recency, frequency, impressions, spam reports, and total Timeline behavior. Moreover, the Graph Rank algorithm will decide who to share specific activity with. So in the case of “Heather (user) ate (verb) pizza @ Parisis (place / object)”, that will have a higher graph rank for people who have also liked pizza and Parisis, and a lower one for those that don’t. What does this mean for marketers? It means that relevance is more important than ever. Mass messaging is dead. Marketers will need to target content based on social behavior and insights.
- Sponsored stories just got a whole lot more powerful for acquisition focused marketers: With the new verb+noun plug-in formula, Facebook advertising just got way more powerful. The targeting combinations on sponsored stories are HUGE – and so far, unchecked as far as competitive targeting goes (they’ve said they’ll be “keeping an eye on this”). This graph-targeting allows for much more flexibility from a marketer’s standpoint, which means more effective fan acquisition. Let’s go through an example. Heather (FB user) visits bestbuy.com and says “I want [action] the Nikon d300 camera [object]”. Target, who also sells that camera, could send Heather a targeted “story” to drive her to the Target page to purchase, or engage with the camera. Sorry BestBuy.
- Timeline API data could support a new layer of integrated socialCRM lifecycle behavior insights: although the Timeline API is not structured or available yet to marketers / developers, the implications to CRM insights are huge. Imagine shifting from an understanding of a few likes, interests, etc. to a time stamped, longitudinal “Social engagement” lifecycle of your fans and customers. As a marketer, wouldn’t you like to know what the individual social lifecycle behavior has been with your brand? When did they first like you? Share your content with friends? What happened next? And then here comes the best part…wait for it…. Imagine if we could take that data set and overlay that with other individual and longitudinal marketing behavior like site behavior, email engagement or purchase patterns. Then we could start stitching together the integrated social CRM lifecycle at a customer level to begin predicting marketing events like purchase activity, etc. And from that, a marketer could create marketing programs designed to trigger those key lifecycle inflection points - mitigating low value social activities and driving higher value activities.
- New plug-ins have potential to drive new class of social commerce programs and analytical insights: now that you’re probably more comfortable with this new plug-in concept, let’s talk about the commerce implications. Facebook has said that it will likely create a universal set of commerce focused plug-ins for developer / marketer use like “Want”, “Wishlist”, etc. They’ve also said that to trigger an “activity” in your ticker or newsfeed, a user doesn’t necessarily have to push a “button”. These engagements can be triggered based on other events on a brand page like playing a movie, listening to a song, viewing an article on a news site. The action will automatically trigger that activity update “I read it”, “I watched it”, I “listened to it”, etc. Think then, about the implications of that to a commerce setting. Imagine if a user “browses”, “searches”, or “carts” a product. Theoretically, this means that a marketer could then target that user based on those activities in Facebook, with a triggered email series, or with targeted site content (keep in mind these things require a new one-time permission set). Now think about the implications to understanding ecommerce behavior like optimal purchase path, etc. If that data becomes available to a marketer through a new combination of expressive Facebook plug-in behavior on your site PLUS site analytics and purchase behavior, the customer level purchase behavior insights will be extremely valuable. They’ll allow marketers to understand social value drivers in a whole new way, and target prospect and customers based on those insights.