An Open Letter to Facebook from a Direct Response Marketer

Dear Facebook,

Congratulations! Your platform has accomplished what so many have tried and failed to do—you've turned a powerful social network into a hub for digital entertainment. Last month when you announced that you were entering the world of broadcast TV with the launch of Watch, it didn't come as much surprise. Pivoting swiftly from 'Facebook Live' to episodic shows and live event broadcasts makes sense, particularly in the world of digital multitaskers.

Before you leap into the lights, camera, and action-packed world of broadcast, here are some things I wish for you to think about, from the perspective of a long-time direct response marketer:

Help Marketers Avoid Becoming "Clutter"
When rolling out new ad real estate, it can be tempting to constrain space to a few advertisers. However, making enough offerings available to a variety of advertisers is going to be key to ensuring a given ad doesn't risk over-playing. Spotify is an example worth following; the platform caps the number of times a single ad can be served to a listener every day to 3 plays—making sure the ad stays evergreen.

Go Beyond CPMs
ROI and measurement are king for a direct response marketer, and you've got the tools to provide both. Just make sure you do. CPMs and reach numbers will help us understand whether we've hit a target audience, but metrics like time spent viewing are the true measure to a successful campaign.

Standardize Targeting and Reporting
Broadcast is still the gold standard for direct response marketing, but Facebook has an opportunity to use data to win traditional DRTV, well, away from TV, as long as it can prove its more effective. Direct response advertisers, a good match for Facebook with its call to act, data-driven roots, needs to be able to tell our clients who an ad will be served to, and then report on when and where a spot runs.

Pivot to Audio — Or At Least Advertise on Radio
While so many digital platforms pivot to video, they're leaving prospective audiences behind. Audio entertainment, including radio and podcasts, is still one of the most engaging forms of media, and an important potential revenue stream for direct response radio advertisers. As we shared last month, podcasting ad revenue is anticipated to reach more than $220 million in 2017. Not quite ready to get into the audio game? Consider buying radio media or partnering with like-minded podcasts to spread the word about intriguing new Facebook properties.

As the cameras start rolling on your first foray into scripted and live broadcast streaming, we are rooting for you, Facebook. We hope you plan to tap into the expertise of traditional broadcasters and direct response marketers who have been at the forefront of the evolution of broadcast entertainment and consumer conversion since the age of the tube TV.


Ed Crain
Founder, Kingstar Media

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