Last week I was interviewed by Demand Gen Report regarding the recent IPO filing by Facebook and how it’s going to affect the B2B marketers’ world. (You can download the full report here.) I was thrilled to be a part of such an insightful feature and I wanted to expand on my thoughts since this could have major implications for B2B marketing.
As Facebook inevitably becomes better at lead generation, B2B marketers are going to be forced to spend more time and money on them as well as on social overall. With the unveiling of the company’s data regarding customer growth (845 million active monthly users is a staggering number) I think this is going to be the nudge that makes B2B marketers take notice and beef up their Facebook marketing strategy.
Facebook will raise upwards of $5 billion with their IPO filing. In preparation, the company released their current financials along with some truly astounding user numbers. With that being said, here are three interesting discussion points that could shape the future of how B2Bs use Facebook in their marketing strategies:
- What is Facebook going to do with that enormous influx of cash? I predict they will go on an acquisition spree buying up companies who have solutions to problems which they cannot address themselves, as in their recent acquisition of online location service Gowalla. In addition, I have seen reports that as many as a third of Facebook employees are going to become overnight millionaires, which could lead to a new breed of startups instantly funded by employees’ personal wealth. With the insights gained from working at Facebook, I would think that some of these new millionaires would branch off and develop new apps that would refine the already highly targeted advertising platform.
- Facebook is going to be under more pressure to increase profits month over month. To me, this means they will need to up the ante in regards to advertising options, and that includes catering more towards the often overlooked B2B marketers. This could come in the form of new, innovative, more engaging ads such as laser focused advertising based on the abundance of personal information in their inventory; and marketing messages inserted directly into users newstreams in a non-intrusive fashion through user-validated content. I think it will lead to some type of advertising packages catered to businesses of all sizes. The announcement of mobile ads starting next month will be an essential supplement to any custom advertising options they might be cooking up.
- Identity and behavior will become a type of currency with Facebook Connect. Facebook Connect allows users to register or login with their existing social network accounts and share content from the site or their activities with friends on multiple social networks. This technology can also be applied to filling out forms using a Facebook sign in app. A user who chooses to login to a site or complete a form using Facebook Connect will instantly offer up a wealth of data to be passed along. One way B2B marketers can take advantage of this is by displaying content upon login based on a users social influence, behavior, and their tendency to share. A second way is by making it much easier for users to download gated resources and register for webinars with one click letting Facebook pre-populate the form. B2B marketers will be able to capture leads in a frictionless fashion and drive a more compelling social ROI.
What are your thoughts on the Facebook IPO filing? How do you think it will affect B2B marketers?