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Facebook Sells Fish Oil

Confused about advertising on Facebook?

Join the club.

Here's a quick summary of my first hand packaged goods advertising experience wtih Facebook.

Post intersting content, try and attract organic "likes." Fail after Facebook stops sharing brand posts.

Plan a Facebook media buy only to be told by your media agency that all the precise targeting offered by Facebook is too expensive, and that you should target everyone since the "waste" is cheaper than precision.

Buy ads on Facebook to generate more likes because it feels good when the number goes up. Watch likes soar only to see content and contests fail to engage friends of friends. 


Facebook logo EspaƱol: Logotipo de Facebook Fr... (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Invest in technology to track it all only to see the most inane posts engage current fans. Think to yourself that you can reach more people with one airing of one well placed TV commercial with signficantly less effort while generating more impact.


Fast forward to today's New York Times which describes what happens when you work with Facebook in what they call a "publishing garage." For home gamers that's another name for a brainstorming session with agency, clients and Facebook personnel.

The client expects Facebook to provide advanced data analytics. Facebook suggests that targeting with this level of precision is too expensive, target everyone, but use ads that breakthrough, referred to as "thumbstopping" ideas. Plus use visuals. One day of brainstorming yields the "thumbstopping" visual of a grandfather pulling a quarter out of an ear. Nothing to do with fish oil, but will stop some thumbs.

 They run the "grandfather" image and it gets 18,000 likes and nearly 600 comments. Other more traditional images such as "ice and snow" which speaks to the arctic root of fish oil falls flat.

Results for MegaRed Krill Oil from Reckitt Benckiser:

- campaign runs for 8 weeks reaching 18.1 million women aged 45 and up (56% of available target audience)
- ROI - 200 (campaign earned $2 for every $1 spent on media). Data was compiled by Datalogix. (not sure how they know, but assume the Datalogix black box is accurate)
- The brand gained 1 point in share from all marketing efforts, yielding a 9.2 share (also did TV, sampling)
- ROI better than TV (although TV was running at the same time)
- TV continues to get majority of budget, but Facebook earns spot in the marketing mix for product
- Facebook earns a global role in Reckitt Benckiser advertising plans
- Ultimately, the MegaRed client decides to run video on Facebook

What The Study Proved:

-Facebook reaches lots of people and if you can reaach them with something that they will notice, anything, it can impact results. 
- Think of Facebook more like TV than a targeted medium (a conclusion that serves Facebook well since it maximizes the opportunity to draw ad dollars from the biggest pool).
- Lean toward interesting emotional visuals instead of advertising that delivers on the brand promise (pains me to say this since it goes against everything I've learned in advertising). One "grandfather" ad is worth ten benefit driven ads.

What the "Rogue Marketer" Would Have Done Differently:

-  The power of Facebook is the data. Reckitt Benckiser should have went with their first instinct.
-  Using a small sample of targeted consumers, Reckitt could have determined the actual change in buying behavior among current, marginal and consumers that buy from competitors. With this data in hand they could project the impact on the general population without paying the premiums in the long term.

I could hypothesize about why Reckitt didn't go with the "rogue marketer" approach, but that would be too cynical. Instead, I"ll just say that when selling fish oil, just know what you are getting. Also know that as far as Facebook packaged goods advertising goes, it should at minimum be considered as a way to extend the reach of the television buy using video.

A Facebook home run for packaged goods (and other) advertisers are video ads, that have something to do with the brand, that are so engaging that people take note and share.




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