The blog

Discover smart tips, personal stories and our take on the latest marketing trends
9 November 2015

A blueprint for rocking Facebook marketing - Day 1

I work as a digital marketing consultant for The House of Marketing at a large FMCG company in the food and beverages industry. The brand with which I’m involved has been doing great things with the largest digital platforms in recent years. However, performance, creativity and the ROI on media investments have decreased in the past few months: writing the same type of Facebook posts without a clear storyline behind them, bidding too low CPMs for our core target audiences, launching mini-websites and photo contests without being clear which brand objectives these efforts serve, etc. In conclusion, it was no longer doing the trick as our digital-savvy consumer was being bombarded by an enormous amount of other brands that were doing likewise! In order to solve the communication puzzle, we’ve put our heads together with the brand team and have decided to start a journey to ‘reinvent’ ourselves. Moreover we’ve set ourselves a challenging objective for 2015: pioneering digital!


One of the strategic channels we’ve defined for connecting with our consumer is Facebook. A couple of months ago, I met a guy working at Facebook as a client solutions manager. His job is to help local brand marketers do better things with their platform both on a content and media investment level. We’ve got into contact again and after a few call conferences we decided to have a “content hack” at Facebook offices in Dublin. The brand team has been invited by its client solutions manager to take a deep dive into its Facebook page audience, the current advertising and media buying strategy and its content approach. We decided this kind of gathering was not only interesting for the brand team as such, but also for our creative and media agency. Therefore we invited them to take part in the workshop as well.

So what is the ideal format for deep diving into your Facebook marketing strategy? Organize a two-days session at Facebook offices!

DAY 1: Understand your audience by digging into your data!

On the first day, you get a tour of the Facebook offices, meet a lot of interesting people working on a bunch of new technologies with which Facebook is experimenting and you make a five-hour deep dive into your current Facebook marketing performance. It’s of major importance that you do so without your creative agency and even without your media agency. As such you can evaluate your current strategy without pointing a finger at one of your partners for doing a lousy job in some respects. During this deep dive session on our page, we’ve acquired several insights that you won’t get without being in direct contact with Facebook professionals:

  • Our media agency’s servicing cost for buying Facebook advertising formats was considerable different from the industry’s benchmark. To give you an idea: these servicing costs can vary between 4% and 25% on the allocated media investment, so negotiation is key in order to boost your ROI.
  • In order to support an always-on strategy towards various target groups you should make smart use of the ‘unpublished’ post feature (called ‘dark posting’ before) as this is a perfect format for boosting your brand’s spontaneous awareness without irritating your broader target group.
  • You discover affinities that your fans have with other brands, music channels, artists, etc. This can be great input for developing a social partnership strategy and thus for increasing the relevancy for your target audience.
  • For some brands it might be an option to have limited paid advertising on Facebook because its organic reach is considerably high. However, if you’re trying to connect with a very popular target group (e.g. 18-24 year olds) there’s no other option than making considerable media investments. The reason is obvious: their newsfeed is so busy and thus so dominated that only the high (or smart) investment brands will show on top.
  • We were not using the Facebook bidding system’s potential to its fullest. In Belgium, an average Facebook user has 200 friends and likes 60 (brand) pages. If you’re reaching out to 18-24 year olds, it’s a completely different story. They have around 400 friends and like about 200 pages. In the first case, around 1500 stories are produced in these people’s newsfeeds every day. In the latter case, more than 3000 stories are created. And that’s the reason why there is so much competition in some target audience newsfeeds, immediately explaining a higher CPM for these profiles as well. In conclusion: if you want to interact with highly qualitative profiles, you should bid higher CPMs. If you don’t, you’ll end up in less qualitative newsfeeds and you will be reaching a high number of people (high number of impressions), but the quality of these impressions will be close to zero. The reasoning behind this is that ads to cheaper profiles (read: less active) are delivered first.
  • Facebook is aiming to become an unavoidable addendum to traditional media channels. Therefore it’s a strategic choice to introduce ‘reach and frequency blocks’ for buying ads. Even traditional marketers should comprehend this approach as it closely resembles GRP buying. On top of this, one should remember that Facebook offers the additional potential of actually interacting and engaging with your audience. Even on a one-to-one basis, in its most extreme format.

Read here the second day about translating your brand purpose into storylines and content themes during a creative content hack.