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This is an excerpt of my interview with Fred Leach from Facebook leading up to the IIR Audience Measurement Event in Chicago May 21-23 where Fred and I will both be speaking. Through special arrangement, I can offer my readers a 20% discount to this event.  Just use the code AM12JR

The full interview can be found here.

Can you briefly describe, for those listening to the podcast, your role and your responsibilities at Facebook?

Fred: Thanks for having me. Nice to meet your virtually, as well. I lead the Partner Measurement Group here at Facebook. What we are is a group that is focused on working with top clients that Facebook has and really helping them capture and measure all of the value that they are creating with their marketing through Facebook.

Some marketers who may be are naysayers will say that people are not so willing to welcome brands into their world in Facebook. What would your response be to that?

Fred Leach: We have lots of evidence that shows that people really want brands in their lives and they use brands to describe themselves. So, we see people connecting to lots and lots of pages on Facebook every single day. It’s about 100 million people connecting to a page on a given day. I think the other thing here is that a lot of brands are on Facebook. We’ve got just over 2.5 million websites that are integrating with Facebook. So, users are really connecting with lots of different things and they really want a rich social world. Brands are part of that rich social world.

That suggests that, over time, marketers are getting more and more sophisticated at leveraging all the ways in which they can connect their marketing efforts and goals to their Facebook presence. Can you describe briefly how you’d paint the timeline of how marketers have evolved in their use of Facebook?

Fred Leach: Definitely. I think initially marketers really thought just to build up their fan bases on Facebook and so they were focused on building lots of connections. Lots of people liking their brands and they are really evolving more into engaging their fans and influencing them to think about new things about their brand to represent their brands in a new way. A lot of them have really focused on the changing way in which they have to communicate with social media, which is to say that where there used to be a standard one-to-many messaging strategy, now brands are having conversations with people who really like them and they learning from those conversations. So, they are doing things differently based on those conversations and taking marketing in a different direction or creating a new product based on input from fans. So, we are really seeing — whereas it used to be that it was just about counting likes and getting people connected,marketers are really evolving into having more of that two-way dialogue with their customers.

Are there any generalizations yet on what kinds of messages do work better? Or is it very particular brand-by-brand?

Fred: It definitely does vary brand-by-brand. There are a couple of things that definitely work. One is really nice, rich photos – to have the ability to display beautiful photos on Facebook. We see that users generally like cool photography or great images from brands. And they like videos, as well.

The other thing is back to what I mentioned earlier about brands finding their voice and talking not just about themselves, but about topics in which they have credibility. We see that posts that are centered around things that a brand is credible on get more people to share them. They tend to have more of that viral reach.

The last piece I would say that is related to that, brands that are talking about what is relevant right now, what’s actually happening in the world today in a way that works for them or is consistent with their brands, that’s another thing that people really like and it resonates. It’s just a more natural and authentic way of communicating.

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2 Responses to “My interview with Facebook about brand marketing”

  1. Larry Friedman

    Joel, interesting interview. Don’t know if you saw it, but I published an article in last week’s Ad Age with some views on brands and social media. Would be interested in any reactions you have.

    Here is the link:


  2. Toby Bloomberg

    Joel – thanks for posting the transcript. Nice to hear that marketers are finally understanding that social media/networks are most effective when they focus on providing ‘selfless’ content through conversation and not just collecting ‘likes.’ Also in light of the Pinterest explosion Fred’s confirmation of the impact of images is interesting.