A Facebook logo is shown on a notebook in Ventura, California in this December 21, 2013 file photo. Photo by Eric Thayer, Reuters
SINGAPORE - With more than a billion active users worldwide, social networking site Facebook has become a useful tool for companies to target and communicate with their market.
Dan Neary, Facebook vice president for Asia Pacific, said that while Facebook's mission is not to generate revenues but to expand its network, it has helped businesses tap the right audience at the right time through digital marketing.
Currently, 30 million small businesses have active Facebook pages.
At the MasterCard Innovation Forum 2014 here on Wednesday, Neary presented five marketing trends for brands using Facebook.
Digital shift
Neary said that as more and more people use digital platforms for information and entertainment, there is a shifting trend in the dependence on mobile devices.
"What's fascinating is that 2013 was the very first year by which more people are now consuming information in a digital platform than on TV," Neary said.
"By 2015, more people will be consuming information on mobile device than they will from the traditional sources of TV."
Neary said that mobile "changed everything" because not only was it able to reach more people, it made it possible for data to reach the right people at the right time.
Now, primetime is all the time, Neary said.
"What comes with that are very interesting opportunities where historically, I couldn't get to someone during the day, but you now have that ability using mobile devices," he said.
Real identity
Neary said another trend in marketing is focusing on the real identities of the Facebook users.
Because of the specific information gathered by Facebook, brands now have the ability to understand what their target market wants.
"Why that's important is that it sets to create wonderful targeting opportunities," said Neary.
There is also an increasing demand for video on Facebook, which Neary said is skyrocketing as an advertising vehicle because of its potential to become "viral."
Videos posted on Facebook are viewed a billion times per day, 65 percent of which are happening on mobile.
Neary said that for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, for example, 17 million videos were posted from June to August, and these videos generated a total of 10 billion views.
Measuring a brand's popularity has also seen a shift from merely getting likes and fans to actual increase in sales.
Now, a business can also use Facebook to create awareness, promote an app, or launch a new product.
Despite its massive network, Neary said Facebook's ultimate goal is to get the next 5 billion people online.
"We're only 1 percent is done," said Neary.
In the Asia Pacific region alone, the number of Facebook users has reached 300 million.
In the Philippines, more than 30 million people are users of Facebook.
Facebook has partnered with MasterCard in its analytics tool Priceless Engine, which was also launched Wednesday.
Priceless Engine aims to help banks understand consumer sentiment based on social conversations; create and share content to increase scale; and to analyze data in real-time.
The platform was launched for the Asia Pacific region, where social media usage is fast growing.
"Asia is fast exceeding the rest of the world in internet and social media usage, with one out of every two social media users globally residing in the region. Given this exponential growth in social media, digital marketing can no longer just be about communication or engagement. MasterCard's Priceless Engine now has the ability to drive brand differentiation and significant revenue growth for our partners," said Sam Ahmed, MasterCard's vice president and group head for marketing, Asia Pacific.
Ahmed said MasterCard is spending $10 million over the next three years to develop its digital marketing platform in the region.


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