7 Reasons Brands Are Using Television to Drive Facebook Activity

I had the pleasure of speaking to a Digital Marketing class at Arizona State University last night (thank you, Bret Giles). I was asked to cover social media for business topics such as regulation, branding in social media, influencer marketing, market research via social media, etc.

Among the real-world examples I chose to discuss with the class was the recent usage of a Facebook call to action in television commercials. More and more brands are inviting TV viewers to Like them on Facebook. Here’s a few examples (and yes, I took pictures of my television):

Here’s one more example that includes photos of outdoor boards in Times Square that also are promoting the Facebook presence for a new video game from 2K Sports, NBA 2K11.

After showing these examples to the class, I invited them to provide reasons why this brand in particular decided to drive traffic to its Facebook page as opposed to its corporate website, a microsite for the video game, or even a number of retail chains (Walmart, Target, Best Buy, etc.) to go purchase directly. In other words, we discussed what specific advantages Facebook has compared to other potential destinations. Here’s what we came up with:

1. Less Pain for the Customer – How hard is it to hit the “Like” button? What’s more, due to the likely comfort with Facebook and its interface by over 500,000,000 people on the planet, the customer will probably not be confused by their destination. Sending them to a landing page they have never seen before, no matter how sound it may be from a usability stand point, will never be as “easy” as a site they visit every day.

2. Less Pain for the Company – Don’t let anyone tell you social media is free as time still equates to money. However, the time to create a Facebook page, design the landing tab (essentially a really nice jpeg) and populate the page in setup phase is far less than would be required for custom landing page development.

3. Demographic Information – With the demographic information captured in Facebook Insights, 2K Sports can utilize Facebook as a measurement tool for who views and acts on the television spot. This information can be used to make decisions for future media placement. Thanks to Facebook, 2K Sports has captured age range, country, city and language.

4. Still on the Path to Purchase – 2K Sports is not really losing anything by not providing them a landing page with links to purchase the product. Those links are still available and prominent on the Facebook page.

5. Viral Component – Considering the social nature of playing video games, this seems to be a perfect fit. Once a potential customer “Likes” the NBA 2K11 page, that action can be shared with her network along with all the other actions (wall post, photo, video and other comments/likes) she takes on the page.

6. Find Out What Content Resonates – Chances are, 2K Sports has only started its media push with the holidays approaching. If they are smart, they have incorporated some flexibility into their media plan with respect to the creative and message they can use later. Why not use Facebook as a focus group to find what videos will make really great commercials? They can see what aspects of the game and playing experience should be emphasized. By sharing all these items and assets with their 400,000+ fans, they can determine what resonates based on comment and Like activity.

7. Remarketing Opportunities – One student in particular noted that, “once they Like you on Facebook, you’ve got them.” As noted above in #2 and #4, 2K Sports has captured demographic information and the chance to be shared among friends. In addition, there are great opportunities for the company to reengage this audience when NBA 2K12 is released next year. The company can also promote other sports gaming products to this audience.

Overall, I thought the class did a great job of pointing out some clear advantages to using Facebook as a destination from offline media. It’s also interesting to see so many big brands rely on Facebook so heavily.

What other factors should we have considered?