Important New Online Marketing Trend: "Owned Properties"

Facebook announced a partnership with Nielsen this morning on a new social media ad reporting product called “Brand Lift.”   This will use opt-in polls to measure the impact of ad campaigns run on Facebook.

This is not a major development for Facebook, but it highlights a theme we’re hearing about at Ad Week: The development of “owned properties” that allow marketers to communicate directly with customers.  It also highlights the emerging power of Facebook as an advertising platform.


Marketers are squeezing agencies on fees from their traditional businesses (TV, print etc.) while putting a premium on products on new platforms that can often act as “owned” properties by the brands (such as web sites) where consumers visit and interact with their products consistently over time.  As a result, agencies will have to evolve and adjust to capture this form of digital media spending.

Many of these platforms or properties are being created by agencies for brands, so this is not spend that is being taken away from the industry (at least not the agencies).

But, as R/GA CEO Bob Greenberg pointed out, brands are finding new ways to reach consumers

Specifically, marketers are asking agencies to create sustainable platforms that consumers go to repeatedly, versus campaigns run in cycles on traditional media with the audience rising and following according to when campaigns are run.  

What are “owned” properties?  

Here are some examples talked about during Ad Week the past couple days:

3 of the top 15 Facebook pages are run by brands that communicate daily with their audiences, from tagged pages to direct response polls – all of which are sent out as updates to all of those friends’ friends, with the branding intact.

• Best Buy ran a campaign on its Facebook page this past Summer.  When it started in July Best Buy had 39,000 friends.  One month after launch it grew its base to 850,000 friends, all of which it continues to communicate with after the campaign ended.

Starbucks CEO updates the company’s page (ranked in top 10 of all FB pages) when he travels to Africa to research sustainable farms and asks customers/friends to send in questions/comments to the company’s page.

Facebook recently launched “engagement sampling ads,” where users go to brand pages and enter information to receive free samples.  The first test campaign run with Texas Pete’s Hot Sauce, gave out 5,000 samples in its first day – all to highly targeted potential customers.  Sure beats setting up a table in a couple grocery stores. 

Nike Plus is a platform developed by digital agency R/GA that users visit 3 times a week.  It helped Nike grow its market share of running sneakers 20% in the first year it ran.

Nike Head2Head is for high school football players (who buy most football equipment sold in the US).  It has interactive tools that let players compare their performance over any period with any other player at levels from high school to the NFL.  

These owned platforms are not sold on a CPM basis since the appeal to an advertiser is more about engagement than how many impressions it reaches.  The pricing comes down to how much an advertiser will pay for it.   We think that in most cases the effective CPM ends up surpassing most average CPMs on new and traditional media.  So, agencies and media properties that are able to provide more offerings like these owned properties will do well as the segment grows.  And so, obviously, will Facebook.

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