ad:tech Delhi Day 2 Morning Session – David Fischer, Facebook

David Fischer Adtech New Delhi
Adtech New Delhi

After all the knowledge and insights gained yesterday, I was hungry for more and day 2 didn’t disappoint me much. After settling with my usual cuppa coffee, I sat down for a keynote from David Fischer who is the VP of Advertising and Global Operations at Facebook (these designations keep on getting longer don’t they?). David started his keynote by saying that Facebook takes you from “what to the who”. David shared an interesting fact that Indian users of Facebook spend 3 hours/ month vs. 1hr 50 minutes/month spent on Google. Deciding to let that stat sink in, David then showed a hilarious clip of a person getting married and as soon as the priest says “I pronounce you husband and wife”, the man pulls out a mobile phone and changes his relationship status on Facebook to “married” (that’s really cute).

Many of us associate Facebook with being a way to find old friends and make new ones too. But some people have used Facebook for social causes as well. David speaks of an incident when Beth was desperately looking for a kidney donor & found an angel donor who was ready to give a kidney for someone that person barely knew. So in case you thought that Facebook was just fun and games, think again.

Coming back to the topic of discussion, David draws attention to the fact that although there are around 90 million active websites, there are 500 million FB profiles. This stat shows you how popular Facebook is and also its reach and power.

Facebook and Indian Brands

Although the Internet in India is growing at a rapid clip, the rise in the numbers of Indians using Facebook has caused Major Indian Companies and Brands to sit up and take notice. Already, websites of the major brands in India have started implementing Facebook’s social pluggins and hence integrating facebook with their websites. David shared a few example of brands and companies which are doing this well.

  • The Times of India (India’s largest newspaper publication) allows users to post comments using their FB logins.
  • Also Cricinfo (a popular cricket portal) saw their referral traffic double after implementing the FB share button on their website.
  • Economic times used Facebook to find out what questions people wanted to ask the finance minister regarding the Indian budget and received a phenomenal response.

Website Vs Facebook which one is more popular?

Along with examples, David shared some interesting insights where a company’s Facebook page was more popular than its website. Hogwash you say? Then check these figures out for yourself

  • Coca Cola – 25 million likes on FB vs. 250,000 website visitors
  • Starbucks – 21 million likes on FB vs. 1.5 million
  • Oreo – 18 million likes on FB vs. 240,000

Wow I don’t know about you, but that was an eye opener for me. But there’s even more good stuff to follow in terms of case studies. Dig in!

Case Study – Amex using Facebook as a marketing platform. In the US they had an SME card that they wanted to market to the small business owners. Amex turned to FB where they took a day in November and called it “Small Business Saturday”. Amex backed this up with strong promotions and advertising through offline media and within 3 weeks they got 1.2 million connections. They backed this up with an offer & they were able to increase sales by 27% as a result of this campaign.

Closer to Home, Indian Telco Tata Indicom’s Facebook fan page has 300,000 fans and counting. David illustrated the benefit of all that fan power by saying that whenever Tata takes out an ad on FB, then people will be able to see if any of their friends like it or not. And according to research by Nielson, people are 68% more likely to click on such an ad ( with more social context) along with their purchasing intent going up by 4 times. This is because someone they trust has just endorsed the ad.

Q& A

Sensing a few queries from the inquisitive members of the audience, David fielded a few questions.

Q>One member of the audience asked that if a company’s fan page has 100,000 fans and it posts an update, will it be visible to all the fans.

A>I found myself thinking, good luck to finding an answer to that mate, but David Fischer jumped in saying that it really depends on Facebook’s Edge Rank algorithm which ranks a story based on the number of interactions, time decay (as in how recent the update is) and other factors. Hmm.. I had just heard of the Edge rank recently at another social media event I attended so I smiled to myself while there was a buzz in the crowd as most had never heard of Edge rank.

Q>Nikhil from Medianama jumps in with his question on how does FB tackle Black Hat practices like fake profiles

A>David acknowledges that there are issues with fake profiles however they are not a major threat. He goes further to emphasize that there is a team at FB which looks at such problems and the team systematically deals with these types of black hat practices effectively.

Summing up this extremely interesting keynote, David spoke on how FB’s personality has always been an informal one and companies would so well to keep this in mind. In case your approach to a FB company account is taking a week to respond to comments after routing responses through legal, then that’s not the way Facebook works. David urged companies to put a 22 year old or a junior employee in charge of a company’s Facebook account since that person will generally be on Facebook most of the time and will understand the pulse of Facebook fans a lot better. I personally would agree and also emphasize that maintaining informality seems to be the key to establishing a strong connect with fans on Facebook.

Please note: Credit for all the photos go to the photographer Naina Redhu.

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