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12 November 2015

A blueprint for rocking Facebook marketing - Day 2

In my previous blog post I already revealed insights that you won’t get without being in direct contact with Facebook professionals. My first day of a two-days session at the Facebook offices was about understanding your audience by digging into your data. The second day was about translating your brand purpose into storylines and content themes during a creative content hack.


After taking the brand team for a deep dive into the current situation in day one, the second day offers many opportunities as well. The first part of our program was to share the highlights of these newly acquired insights with our creative agency and our media agency. It’s important to foresee enough time for them to ask critical questions to these Facebook professionals. Interesting discussions on optimized bidding and effective targeting can arise as opinions of traditional media agencies are often completely the contrary of what the new media gurus preach.

During the second part of the day, we met with the EU creative director for a “creative content hack” session. As mentioned above, we were doing random stuff with the brand on social and we weren’t being at all innovative. Moreover, the time of ‘putting a cat on your content to boost its success’ is long gone and the urge to reinvent ourselves was never bigger. The core question that we were trying to answer in this session was “How does my brand fit into the consumer’s newsfeed?”

Let’s first take a step back. A newsfeed should be some kind of personalized newspaper with many interesting stories in it that ultimately are appreciated by the reader of this newsfeed. An average Facebook user is estimated to receive 1500 different stories in his or her newsfeed on a daily basis. If you’re in the 18-24 age group, this number even rises to 3000 different stories per day. However, only a limited number (about 20% of them) actually make it to a noteworthy place in the newsfeed. The battle for ‘the sweet spot in users newsfeeds’ is what experts call ‘storybumping’. The priority of these stories is determined by Facebook’s well-known (but very secret) edgerank algorithm. The reason why this algorithm has been called this is clear and summarized in “Zuck’s law”. Content gets created at a very rapid pace. However, our ability to consume this content is following the law of marginal decreasing returns and thus a prioritization should be made in order for you to consume the most interesting content first. Additionally the type of content is fairly important for winning your place in the newsfeed. Research has shown that users are 22 times more likely to remember stories than commercial facts and messages.

In short, we need a brand story that’s adapted to this highly competitive channel. And that’s exactly the purpose of this content hack workshop. The quality of the preparative work determines the success of this workshop’s output. Brand teams must be willing to share brand books, brand plans and strategic plans for the period to come in order for the Facebook creative people to be able to understand your brand to the fullest extent.

After discussing some great brand story building examples such as Red Bull, Oreo,  Budweiser, Nike and Dove, we analysed the TED talk of Simon Sinek on the WHY, HOW and WHAT (i.e. the golden circle) of your brand. So actually we were first bringing the content discussion to a higher level.

The objective is to go back to the basics and find out what your brand purpose is all about and how you should start translating that inside-out communication into brand stories that fit with the brand, but also fit in the user’s newsfeed. A pragmatic way to guide you through this journey is using the framework below and completing it for other aspiring brands first. This framework guides you through the brainstorming process with your creative agency.


BRAND PURPOSE Why does your brand exist? Nike wants to enable each one’s inner athlete.
CORE BELIEF What is your brand’s
role to play? What is
the underlying belief
for bringing this brand purpose to life?
Nike believes that if you have a body, you can be an athlete.
SETTING THE MOOD Imagery says it all and
its power on the social media is huge. So developing a proper ‘mood’ is already concretizing your core beliefs.
Light, sporty, energetic, powerful imagery fits Nike best. Also faces of many different people could go on the board.
VOICE OF THE BRAND Define a set of 4 to 5 keywords that best describe your tone of voice. Imagine your brand is a person or a mix of personalities. Who’s voice would it resemble? Nike could be represented by a mixture of many endorsers, e.g. Michael Jordan.
customer’s life cycle
and map the moments in which these people can encounter your brand. Define the key connection moments in which your brand could fit in their lives and add value in this manner.
Nike can fit in on different connection moments depending on the type of consumer to whom they are trying to bring their message. E.g. 6AM in the morning before breakfast inducing people to go for a morning run.
CAMPAIGN IDEA Based on the above
steps come up with a campaign idea that serves a specific objective.
#Riskeverything campaign
STORY THEME(s) Based on your overall campaign idea, you should identify ongoing themes with consistent signatures that are extendable for future actions. “The time and place is here and now” was a very prominent story theme during and after the World Cup period.

After setting our brand performance targets, crafting an action plan and running through these steps for our own brand, we drafted a 3-month content plan. This step is crucial as you immediately produce highly tangible results and future action plans. In order to be as productive as possible, we advise you to invite a hands-on creative person to the session to draw mock-ups and write rough copy.

Finally, we put our heads together with Facebook media planning specialists and our digital media agency in order to draft two budget versions. The first budget included an ‘ideal’ scenario based on the marketing goals that we’ve set for our campaign. We mainly focused on reach and frequency, thereby complementing our radio campaign that was on air at that time. The second budget adapted the ideal scenario to a more realistic plan. The secret of writing effective Facebook media plans is in the art of fragmenting your content over your total target audience and therefore applying  some highly logical reasoning:

  • Your ‘fans’ are your brand ambassadors and are intrinsically more interested in what your brand has to offer than any other group on Facebook so the frequency on this group can be higher. We’ve opted to reach these people about 8 times during a 4 week campaign. The CPM is typically lower than for any other target group.
  • The friends of your fans typically contain many similar profiles to your friends. Therefore you can assume that this group is more interested in your content than non-fans, but less interested than fans. Therefore we opted to reach these people about 4 times during the 4-week campaign period. Typically the CPM will be at the same level as you were targeting for non-fans.
  • Non-fans (the largest category) can be targeted in various ways. One approach is to aim very large and include for example all profiles in a certain country (e.g. Belgium) within a specific age group (e.g. 18-24). Other demographic parameters can be included based on the information you already have on your target group. You can even target on ‘fans of competitors’, people experiencing a certain occasion (e.g. becoming a father, changing jobs, etc.) in their lives, etc. Another approach is defining lookalike audiences. These profiles resemble existing profiles to a high degree. A prerequisite for applying this technique is an existing, high-quality database (i.e. installing a ‘custom audience’). In general, this group of people contains a mixture between highly interested people and profiles who are not in the target at all. Therefore we adopted a ‘seeding approach’, i.e. reaching out to a potential target audience with a highly mainstream, but very attractive and twisted message. This message installs a trigger with the interested profiles and does not cause any harm to your ‘waste audience’. In practice, we reached these people twice during the campaign period.

Don’t hesitate to contact The House of Marketing if you would like to learn more about writing efficient Facebook media plans for your target audience!