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Facebook Statistics and its use in Marketing

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Last week we were up at the Technology for Marketing Exhibition in Earls Court, London.  All good fun and nice to put some names to faces.  Amoung the speakers: Blake Chandlee, Commercial Director for Facebook.  A very popular speaker, he had some interesting things to say about Facebook, encouraged us to use the new social ads service, and spoke about the future. 

Despite recent reports that Facebook use is finally leveling off in the UK and USA, worldwide growth is expected to sky rocket, due to an innovative way of translating the site for other languages.  Usually this would involve hiring translators and engineers in the country involved, which can prove expensive and time consuming. 

So what do Facebook do?  Get the users to do the work for them - already tested out in Spain where they had a core of users despite the site being in English, Facebook made a new app that encourages users to help translate the site into their native language.  Users each get a small snippet, then vote on other snippets to see which one will eventually get the site.  They've worked out it only takes about 5 positive votes for the snippet to probably be accurate.

Pretty clever, and must save the company millions.  Its also totally transferable seeing as English is the predominant language on the net, and expect to see Arabic, Urdu and Cantonese versions of the site soon.  With such worldwide appeal, there is life in the old Facebook yet, despite perhaps a backlash starting in the US and UK.

And they need it: the hosting costs alone to support the massive bandwidth they must need needs to be paid for somewhere. 

Here are some stats from the horses mouth from Blake Chandlee presentation called "The Power of Social Media for Brands"

General Facebook stats:

Facebook serves 9 billion impressions (I guess per week???). Bigger than Yahoo! & Microsoft combined.

65 million users
250,000 new users per day

46% Male
54% Female

29% Europe
13% Canada
37% US
21% Other

Sweden 1.1 Million users
Norway 954,000 Million users
France 1.4 Million users


6 Billion photos on Facebook viewed 60 Billion times per week(!)

Social Media Use (not just Facebook)

25,960,000 people use social media every month
85% internet population
55% UK population

Using Facebook for marketing

In addition to using Microsoft for display ads, Facebook concentrate on using social ads for their main revenue source.

Blake said Facebook is important because Friends and Family are most influential in terms of recommendations 85% of taken up offers are recommended by friends and family. (Basically, Facebook lets you spam your friends with offers ;) )

Traditionally brands project message, now consumers becoming brand ambassadors. (Not sure I like this dystopia of us all being consuming marketeers for brands!)

(But seems people already are: Blake says:)
268,955 mention Coca Cola in profiles
150,000 mention McDonald's (lets remember folks - the data you put in your profile is owned by Facebook to use as they will ;) )

Blake also mentioned something about how the "news feed" in Facebook works - it doesn't select all of your friends actions (apprantly the average user has 100 friends) as you'd get drowned in feed spam; instead it uses algorithms to decide which actions you see - the friends you visit the profile of most often you see more info from. But rest assured, if a friend uses a commercial app/group, you get the message, encouraging the viral spread of messages via "Social Ads".  To counter accusations and backlash from the Facebook users, Social Ads carries one advertisement per day per user in new feeds, advertisers have exclusivity and advertiser can only market to consumer once per month.

He also mentioned Facebook polls, where you can pay to get some market responses targeting specific Facebook user niches; these can be very useful since the general info is freely available for everyone (so you can know how many UK users interested in cars with conservative views there are using Facebook - its a bit strange the let you target political views - is this in anticipation for political party campaigns embracing social media? *shudder*)  The more you pay, the faster you get back your results.

100,000 developers building Facebook applications
12,000 applications (Many more apps coming then I suppose? Hopefully of better quality than most.  Only Scabalcious so far has been any good, and they got sued by Scrabble.)


Overall, it was a very interesting talk and I'd like to thank Blake for his time and insight.  It certainly made me consider Facebook more seriously for marketing, although as a result I'm a lot more cautious in using it personally.

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