Back in January I noted Facebook has a frequency problem — the basic fact that every Like happens only once, and one touch is not enough to spur consumers to action. In advertising, frequency is the number of times you reach a person with a message, and in study after study a frequency of 3 to 4 ad impressions per week is required to break through resistance to get people to respond. This typically maximizes the “response rate curve,” as shown above. So the basic problem with Facebook “Likes,” the one click of a human saying she digs your product, is that it is only one real impression. What happens next?
Which brings me to the solution — Facebook should sell retargeted advertising outside its Facebook ecosystem. This wouldn’t be hard to do; Facebook would simply tag the computer of any user who “Likes” something with a cookie, and then via partnerships with ad networks or direct bids into ad exchanges, Facebook would enable the serving of downstream ads against that user.
This would provide an incredibly powerful new ad format, combining social media engagement (one Like) with multiple followup contacts (banner ads served across the Internet to maximize frequency) to drive real response (which is not a silly “Like,” but rather when someone actually buys your product).
But it would mean Facebook would have to admit users do things outside the Facebook ecosystem.
The downside is this would remove the perceived brand imperative that you must build response mechanisms inside Facebook, just as 10 years ago you had to have keywords inside AOL. Sad. Because Facebook serving retargeted ads outside of Facebook would work beautifully. What do you say, Facebook, want to give integrated advertising a try?