A day in Dublin at Facebook HQ

A day in Dublin at Facebook HQ

Getting to ‘jet off’ to Dublin to attend the 2017 Facebook Agency day was a great experience for myself and my co-jetter David, hereby known in the blog by his nickname ‘Pooly’, as evidenced by the poorly-taken photo below:

Arriving in Dublin at Facebook HQ

We arrived on the Wednesday evening to be greeted by a very talkative cab-driver, who happened to tell us his opinion on every political agenda currently taking place in the world, whilst simultaneously giving us a guided tour of the city: impressive multi-tasking skills. We then met our very hospitable AirBnB host, who was so incredibly friendly that she even left us fresh scones for our breakfast, what a legend!

The Thursday morning we arrived at Facebook HQ, to be greeted with a swarm of other ‘socialers’ from across the various EMEA countries, all vying for the attention of the poor receptionists, some of whom seemed to be exhibiting early signs of shell-shock as they hurriedly found our name badges and ushered us into a large, fairly dark room where the day was due to be hosted.

Pooly and I helped ourselves to their breakfast offering of pastries and orange juice, and after I filled my plastic plate with copious amounts of croissants hoping they would be enough to last me until lunchtime, we took our seats for the start of the day.

Facebook’s roadmap revealed

The morning talks were based on how Facebook, Instagram and various offerings have performed and developed over the past twelve months, however their ten-year roadmap plan was definitely an eye-opener. A roadmap including a number of very intriguing technological advancements not just within the social space but also with larger implications outside of social media, such as:

• Global internet access delivered through UAVs/Drones running on solar energy, bringing wi-fi capabilities to every corner of the earth, including the 4 billion people who still currently don’t have access.
• Advancements in AI among many technologies
• The utilization of AR and VR technologies.

The last point will impact the social media space massively, as Facebook has already started looking at VR ad formats, including the new 360* interactive video format due to launch next year, an example of which can be found here.

This development also highlights the fruition of their 2014, $1bn purchase of Oculus Rift, a pioneering tech firm working in the VR space, who have been helping Facebook develop their integration into VR technology. This could mean that with the concurrent surge in VR technologies, such as HTC Hive, Samsung VR and PS4 VR to name but a few, it won’t be too long until you’re hanging out with your mates in virtual pubs instead of real ones (although I hear virtual alcohol just isn’t as good as the real stuff…).

Launching a new Brand on Facebook/Instagram

Another morning talk focused on how to launch a new business on Facebook and Instagram which, having never needed to do this myself, was quite insightful. Broken down into four key stages:

1) Create buzz around the launch with key influencers
2) Drive trial among core consumers
3) Building awareness of the brand benefit with a broad audience
4) Closing the last mile and drive efficient sales

Essentially, in Facebook’s view instead of ‘going big’ straight away on a social media platform, the smart thing to do is to utilize influencers and your proven audience to help drive that initial viral awareness, through word of mouth and sharing content. Once that core audience has been established and learnings have been gained, we should then go broad and build that awareness to a wider audience.

An example of this tactic came from our very own Pooly’s client DNAFit, who partnered with Marmite to offer users the opportunity to find out whether their genetic makeup allows them to be a ‘Lover or a Hater’. He was pretty chuffed!

Facebook then continued to lay out which ad formats would be best suited for each of these stages to maximise performance at each phase:

1) Branded Content to create buzz around the launch with key influencers
2) Lead Ads to drive trial among core consumers
3) Reach & Frequency Stories for building awareness of the brand benefit with a broad audience
4) Local Awareness for closing the last mile and drive efficient sales

The Facebook IQ

After our lunchtime break, we then split out into 2 different lesson paths: The Strategy Path and the Action Path. I chose the Strategy Path, where one of the key presentations was on the Facebook IQ opportunities.

What is Facebook IQ you ask? It’s a range of studies, tools and services that advertisers can use to better understand their audience in terms of their usage habits, what content users are more likely to engage with etc.

They have three main tools on offer: Insights to Go, Audience Insights, and Cross Border Insights Finder. The Insights to Go tool is essentially a search engine that advertisers can use to search for specific ready-to-use data points to help us gain specific learnings about any potential audiences we may wish to target.

Although the Audience Insights tool has been available for some time, Facebook are updating this tool with several new data points to help us better understand our page fans and their usage habits.

In terms of the Cross-Border Insights Finder tool, this highlights opportunities for us to expand out from our own country, as well as how cost-efficiently our activity would be received within those countries.

Making Video content engaging – best practices

The final talk of the day was around how to employ specific best practices in terms of video content in order to maximise our range of objectives. The speaker here shared a number of great video tools that we can use to jazz up our content, a few of which I’ve included below:

• Adobe Spark Video
• Ripl
• Giphy cam
• Videoshop

This section showcased the top ten examples of how advertisers have been executing video across Facebook, and the best practices that those videos leveraged in order to drive that higher level of performance.

And that was that! For our final activity of the day, we were then all herded back into the main room of perpetual darkness, where we then took part in a fun little team-based exercise, where in teams of 10-12 we had to come up with the next big thing in Facebook, with the winning team winning a bag of swag.

Unfortunately, our team didn’t win, although for the record I thought our team’s idea was the best, just poorly delivered on the stage by yours truly (there were like 200-odd people!). Still, I bet if Zuckerberg was listening, he’ll be snapping the idea up in no time, and this time next year I’ll be reading about it in Campaign Live.

But win or lose the day was completely worthwhile and a fruitful journey made to spend time with Facebook sharing in what success looks like on Social.

Matt Woodman
Paid Social Media Manager

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