Facebook: behind the platform there’s always a person

16 February 2017

Outside, Villa Guastavillani is shrouded in a milky fog. Inside the monumental Grotto many ideas get clarified about the future developments of something that had started as a game to set up a network to connect friends and students and that has turned out to be one of the most powerful tools we have for advertising and marketing.

During the meeting entitled From Audience to Customer, which was held on Thursday February 2nd:  Facebook unveils itself thanks to Sylvain Querne, head of marketing for Italy.

It is a company that in Italy aims mostly at B2B marketing and at agencies dealing with communication. The consumer is still a distant customer. “Before we talk about conversion, we need to talk about targets” Querne warns us, as he offers the key points to connect with Facebook’s users: adopting a new visual language, understanding the purchasing process, improving the way to measure advertising campaigns.

And how do people behave? “There are behaviors we can observe” Querne continues. “They expect expressive communications. Emoticon is a word that entered our vocabulary. Images are easier to understand than any text. Our brain is 60,000 faster at analysing images versus texts.”

The idea is allowing people make different experiences. Getting inspired, like on Instagram and finding short and suggestive pieces of information. “Your thumb is your most powerful weapon, because it passes over information that is felt to be uninteresting. I have to give the right person the relevant piece of information at the right time.” The algorithm penalises untargeted and poorly structured messages. “The brand is known, the purchase is made and with trust in the brand re-purchasing is the aim. If the brand isn’t known the sale doesn’t work.” A logical chain to be followed step by step for successful advertising.

Too much attention has been paid to cookies, which aren’t people, but just the devices individuals use to get connected. “We measured hundreds of campaigns and there’s no relation whatsoever between clicks and online purchases. There are people who click and people who buy.”

Lorenzo Baraldo, BBS web and social manager and Alumnus, illustrates the doubt on a technological process that went from text messages to black boxes on cars, that can be applied everywhere, that record all our choices.

Maurizio Fionda, professor at Bologna Business School and Diennea-MagNews CEO, proposes an entertaining comparison between the conversion of users on Facebook and the conversion of the Innominato (a character is Alessandro Manzoni’s famous Italian novel ‘I Promessi Sposi’), convinced by an important influencer, at the time when the novel is set, that is cardinal Federigo Borromeo. “Back then there were no cookies, but the change of an internal state and the trust in those who propose these values has remained intact”. Profitability for a company only arrives at the end of the road when customers are loyal. Trust and value are the key words. Internal factors that don’t depend on technologies.

Davide Maggi, head of the Digital Marketing & Communication course, which will start on February 17th, and Ceo of Nima. “Today, all things digital in Italy are worth as much as the TV market. The digital is used for pageviews, it reaches users, it produces engagement, but how many amount to conversions? Only 1% in the best scenarios.” There you go then, this is the role of Digital Companies and trained experts, that need to be agents of editorial creations, exploiting their skills as communicators. “The topic is also being good at inventing sustainable business models.” Having a good product helps revenues through Facebook. Although we must always remember that behind a platform there’s always a person observing us.



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