The world’s biggest social network made its fortunes by convincing the marketers to devote their advertising budgets to internet marketing. However, now Facebook is embarking on its own advertising campaigns and the most unique part about this is the social network has chosen to use old-fashioned formats such as television and billboards to do so. A campaign had been launched by the company in February in the UK and the ads appeared almost everywhere, ranging from the most popular TV channels of the country to the London Underground. According to the data available, more than £6 million had been splashed around by Facebook on traditional media in the UK in this year alone, which is a major increase from the £16,000 it spent in the previous year.
While this spending may seem really small in the face of the annual revenues of Facebook, which are about $12.4 billion or even when compared to the £18 billion advertising market in the UK, it is still a change in the approach of the social media company. Until recently, the social network had depended on word of mouth advertising for building its business and hadn’t spent much on traditional media for this purpose.
Analysts think that this is quite ironic because Facebook has been trying to convince brands that its platform can offer a greater degree of efficiency as compared to traditional media and yet is opting for the latter in order to advertise. The strategic rationale of the campaign wasn’t detailed by Facebook and it only said that the ads were aimed at ‘celebrating’ the connection that people develop via the social network and the different types of friendships that enrich lives on Facebook and off it too. Some experts are of the opinion that Facebook has decided to shell out so much in out-of-home advertising because mass media is a vital tool for building a brand and trust with consumers.
They said that in the next few years, the social network would emerge as one of the major advertisers. From 2012 to 2014, Facebook almost doubled its expenditure on global advertising as last year’s earnings showed that it had spent about $135 million. Last autumn, the company also launched its first ever billboard advertisements when it promoted its Messenger App in Chicago and Los Angeles along with some TV spots. This year the company also began purchasing mass media ads in Australia and Canada.
As far as the UK is concerned, the campaign is called ‘the friends’ as it shows scenes of friends spending time together and having fun. Light branding is done in these ads as they include only the small logo of the social network and the in-house team of the firm called The Factory designed it. Since the campaign began in February, more than £1.5 million have been spent on outdoor media, £600,000 on press, and £3 million on television and about £900,000 on cinemas. The move of Facebook towards traditional media is no different from the ones made by Google and various other digital media companies.