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The news about the Facebook and Nielsen Online partnership have already hit the press, but I wanted to share with you some interesting stats about the Facebook user base and what it might mean for advertisers, from the Facebook: Knowing is Better session at AdWeek:
Advertising through social media networks is a tricky thing. Brands have to be authentic, bring authentic offers and engage in ongoing communication. There are some advertisers out there who think that creating a Facebook page, or a Twitter account is enough. No, the company needs to listen and talk continuously and dedicate enough people resources to participate in social media. Brands should also instill the importance of social media from the very top to the rank-and-file. Papa John's Pizza's owner frequents their Facebook page to gather customer feedback and to announce specials. Howard Schultz of Starbucks personally updates the status as he talks to coffee growers in Rwanda.
It's exciting to see research firms like Nielsen Online partner with technology companies like Facebook to develop more sophisticated audience and ad tracking tools. However, this partnership does not bring scale (yet!) to other social media sites or publishers. I think it would require a broader partnership and collaboration across key industry players to develop something more scalable and more comprehensive. As consumers move more fluidly across screens (PC, gaming, mobile) and as they interact more in simultaneous activities (watching TV and IM'ing friends), both the technology and the measurement methodologies must catch up. But I do believe this partnership is a step in the right direction.
P.S. Follow event coverage with videos, blogs, tweet, photos and full replays of key sessions at http://advertising.microsoft.com/adweek.
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