Facebook helps with market research

One of the main challenges marketers nowadays have is the question how to utilize all these social networks to the advantage of their marketing campaigns. Of course, one can listen to the conversation, influence the conversation (dangerous, please don’t) or start a conversation by yourself. At Facebook, they see more possibilities.

DigiRedo was in New York where we spoke to Kevin Colleran, Director National Sales at Facebook. We talked about the growth of Facebook, their business model and innovative marketing tools using their social network.

Kevin told us that Facebook now outpaced MySpace with a daily growth of 400,000 subscribers per month. This growth is mainly coming from international expansion. Interesting aspect in this is that Facebook wanted to use traditional translation agencies for localizing their software. Once they found out that this was too costly and took too much time they asked the community to help them with the translation: everybody who wanted to translate in their language could give it a try. Within weeks they had French, Spanish and Dutch sites up and running.

One of the most intruiging options is the use of polls. As a marketer we have executed several marketing surveys. Necessary and justified in many cases, but also expensive and time-consuming. Facebook has introduced last year their ‘Quick & Dirty’ approach to market research and gave the meaning ‘fast’ a whole different meaning in this respect. Funny to see that they never really gave a lot of noise to this feature.

Imagine you want to know which anticonceptive pill is the most favorite amongst your target audience ‘young women between 18 and 25 years’. With this new feature you can create your own poll (1 question, 5 answers), select your target audience and the time by which you want to receive your results. Within 20 minutes it will costs you $1 per reply, if you can wait 24 hours it  drops to $0.25. After the necessary creditcard checks Facebook does its thing. It sends the poll out to the network of 90 million people. No doubt 1,000 people of the chosen target audience are online and receive the poll. Usually they reply immediately.

As said, the poll stops when 1,000 respondents are reached. In our case that costs us $1,000 in total. The most striking is that you can actually see the results coming in ‘live’. As if you were watching a competition which brand is going to win. Check out the video for a demonstration.

I can imagine that this kind of market study is not suitable when you want to do some serious studies. However, I have been in many marketing discussions whereby such feauture would have helped us tremendously in guiding the discussion if we would have known how our target audience thinks of a certain topic.

Yet another feature Facebook is working on is the ability to check what the conversation is saying about your brand. For a fee you can enter your brand in the system after which you receive a detailed analysis of the health of your brand in the social community. Interesting times.

It’s still a long way to the semantic web, or Web 3.0. However, I firmly believe that these kind of innovations certainly pave the way towards this future web.

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