Photo: Nicholas Carlson
Facebook is hosting a big marketing conference today in New York. The mission is simple, if unstated: reverse the creeping deceleration of Facebook’s advertising revenues.
To do that, Facebook will need to get the suits in the seats to stop spending on 30 second spots and start experimenting with Facebook ads.
This shouldn’t be hard! The amount of people who visit Facebook every day is four times larger than the Super Bowl’s audience.
We’ll be posting updates here and on SAI throughout the day, so stay tuned.
If it’s not in quotes, it’s not a quote, just a paraphrase.
12:58 – They are asking us to take our seats! Big press contingent here. PandoDaily, the Verge, Erick Schonfeld, etc. We saw Facebook execs Grady Burnett and Carolyn Everson in the halls, schmoozing.
1:01 – Big crowd in general. The LeFrank theatre we’re in sits 944 and it is basically full. Here’s the theatre:
1:05 – The news already announced today was new Pages for brands. They will get to use the Timeline you have in your profile. From the release:
Facebook announced a new design for Pages, giving brands and businesses more ways to tell their story. The redesigned Pages are more personalised and complementary to the look and feel of individual profiles. Now, when you visit a Page, you can see your friends’ interactions with that Page as friend activity, making the experience more dynamic and relevant for Facebook users..
1:08 – The lights are dimming, here we go! Sheryl takes the stage to rock music. Heavy guitar riffs!
1:09 – Sheryl says: We’re at the natural history museum because there are elephants and whales here, and Facebook is always thinking big.
1:10 – Sheryl just pulled the state of the union trick where she tells the story of a Facebook user, and then points out that the user is in the audience. The first story was about a user who had her baby’s sickness diagnosed through Facebook friend. Now we’re hearing about an Eygptian protestor.
1:12 – The stories mean: technology is powering us. Sheryl is talking about how the Internet has changed our lives.
1:15 – Sheryl is good with a crowd. She’s being funny: “I used to look things up in a card catalogue. There are people who don’t know what a card catalogue is. And I’ve chosen to work with all of them.”
1:17 – “I know that people think technology tears us apart. We think technology brings us together.”
1:18 – This speech reminds me of that Mad Men scene when Don Draper goes through the slideshow, talking about memories.
1:20 – The big concern brands have with Facebook is that it is a hard place to tell a brand story. So Sheryl is telling stories. She’s talking about how Victor Cruz (the Giants wide receiver) published his music playlist on Facebook before the Super Bowl so fans could get pumped up with him.
1:21 –The pitch: People don’t expect to be just talked at anymore, they want to be a part of the conversation. Your customers are listening, your customers are talking. Engage them.
1:24 – Facebook is a partnership company. As social media tranforms different industries, we’re not doing it. Partners are doing it. Zynga did it in games. Spotify is doing it in music. If marketing is going to be social, it won’t be Facebook “it will be the people in this room today.”
1:25 – Here’s Chris Cox, VP of product. He’s talking about his interview. That day in 2005, he didn’t think Facebook was the real deal, or that it was working on a serious product that matter.
1:27 – But a Faceobok cofounder (Dustin Moscovitz) told him: “If you think of Facebook as a blue and white dating site, you’re incorrect. It is a collaboratively-built directory of people, places and things.”
1:30 – Now he’s talking about the Facebook Timeline. He’s re-using a lot of his speech from when Facebook announced the thing. It’s about turning Facebook from a 5 minute conversation about the people you know and your interests, into an hours long conversation.
1:31 – Chris Cox is talking about Marshall Mcluhan. The number of publishers are going up toward the size of the population. Some company needs to help people find what’s interesting. That’s Facebook, in this story.
1:34 – Chris says the best thing in fashion magazines are the ads. He says Facebook advertisers are getting better at doing that.
1:35 – ZOMg! Chris just hinted that Alicia Keys will be performing at the after-party tonight. They really are pulling out all the stops.
1:39 – Now a Facebook advertising products guy is on stage telling the story of Gillette.
1:41 – He is telling the crowd to think less about “ads” and more about “stories.”
1:42 – He’s showing off Facebook’s new brand page. It looks more like a user profile with the timeline and everything:
1:45 – New feature: Brands can be “messaged” just like a user.
1:46 – This guy has the cadence of William Shatner. This. New Page. Will. Excite. Your. Customers.
1:47 – We just watched a video that scrolls down a brands facebook page. It was very dramatic and exciting – zooming and full of video. If Facebook Timelines were 25% as cool as the videos Facebook makes to promote Timelines, they would be as cool as Facebook execs want the rest of us to think they are.
1:49 – This guy says Facebook can build a product to help brands reach 75% of their fans every week with “stories.” It’s called “reach generator.” You can move “stories” that are posted to the brand page timeline into an ad unit on the Facebook home page.
1:52 – Butterfinger did this and doubled the amount of people talking about them on Facebook. Their brand favorability increased 6% during the two month experiment.
2:00 – Brands can also put the ads in the news feed, in mobile, and on the Facebook logout screen.
2:02 – This guy keeps calling the Facebook brand page “mission control.”
2:02 – Here’s David Fischer, who is Sheryl Sandberg’s right-hand man.
2:05 – He is talking about…well it’s hard to tell.
2:06 – Ah, he’s bringing execs from Walmart, Aegis, and 1800-Flowers.com on stage.
2:07 – The Walmart EVP and CMO, Stephen Quinn, says he used to tell his younger colleagues that they would have to understand Internet marketing for their careers. He thought he’d make it to retirement without having to. He now says he was wrong.
2:12 – This just in from Facebook PR:
After introducing a new design for Pages this morning at fMC in New York City, Facebook introduced Offers and new placements for premium advertising and Sponsored Stories.
Premium ads and Sponsored Stories on Facebook can now appear in two new places: on the Facebook log-out Page and mobile News Feed. Sponsored Stories for mobile News Feed increase the visibility of stories related to a business or organisation to help Pages share their fans’ activities.
Offers are a free and easy way for businesses to share special discounts and promotions to their community through Facebook. Offers let a business share a discount or promotion directly from a Facebook Page.
2:13 – These guys are just saying that its important to use Facebook for marketing.
2:14 – 1-800-Flowers.com grew in 4 major waves, says Chris McCann, President. It went from a storefront, to the 1-800 number, to online, to social. Social commerce is a fourth major wave.
2:17 – The Walmart exec says “social by design” needs to be built into the entire company.
2:22 – Still here. But these guys are saying things like, “any brand is a manifestation of the stories told about that brand,” and you don’t really want to read that, right?
2:24 – OK, Turns out that’s it! Video coming.
2:25 – The closest Mark Zuckerberg will come to this ad event is a big-headed video. Very big head. Think 1984 big.
2:28 – Ah, an ad for an ad!