January 30, 2012

Facebook Campaigns: More than Just “Likes”

Originally posted 1/25/12 by Kimberly Smith,

Marketers place much emphasis on the Facebook “Like” these days, with resource after resource explaining how to get people to “fan” your Facebook page, how to rack up more Likes on your content, and how to up your chances of landing in the News Feed.

More often than not, those resources suggest running contests and giveaways to motivate that kind of click behavior; and more often than not, Facebook users are seemingly happy to oblige—if the prize is right. Offer an iPad, and watch the fans roll in, right?

It’s time to get real. The Like is not the be-all and end-all of Facebook campaign success; it is merely the first step. One study has found that fewer than half of the people who Like your page will revisit it, and those who do are primarily on the lookout for additional discounts. Moreover, 55% of those who Like a brand page say they later “unlike” or change the settings so that the brand’s messaging doesn’t show up in their News Feeds. The winner of your “Like Us for an iPad” contest? Yeah, her loyalty isn’t any stronger… unless you have more iPads to give away.

The truth is, Facebook contests work—but they can also work harder. They can do more than attract fans or motivate them to interact on your page. They can support broader marketing objectives as part of the mix.

American Express’s Israel division gave it a go… and, sure, its contest resulted in more fans and a 500% increase in fan activity on the company’s page. But it also produced deeper brand engagement, customer insight, cross-channel engagement, and other advantages that will continue to inform and assist the company’s marketing initiatives beyond Facebook and well beyond the Like.

Read on for the full scoop.


American Express (AMEX) is the world’s largest credit card issuer by purchase volume. It maintains operations in more than 130 countries.

In early 2011, the company’s regional marketing team in Israel sought both to increase its share of meaningful social media interactions with area card members and to encourage them to become brand ambassadors via the use of social media.

“We pride ourselves in our ability to provide meaningful rewards to our card members in return for their loyalty,” said Irit Batat, vice-president of marketing for AMEX Israel. “We saw this as an opportunity to continue to evolve our reward program and create brand ambassadors through effective social media engagement.”


Working with FanGager, a New York-based social media management firm, AMEX Israel launched a special rewards program for Israeli card members on the Facebook platform.

Via e-newsletters, messaging on card members’ monthly statements, Facebook advertising, and employee networking, AMEX Israel encouraged card members to “fan” the American Express Israel page to partake in the program and earn points for participating in various activities and challenges, such as the following:

1. Uploading photos and videos from their vacations

2. Viewing and answering videos from their vacations

3. Voting on their favorite ads, messaging, and cardholder offers

4. Completing customer surveys that touched on their experiences and satisfaction with AMEX products and services

5. Checking in to the AMEX website

6. Registering for one of the company’s e-newsletters

7. Signing up for AMEX’s Global Shop service

Checking in to the AMEX website

Accumulated Fan Reward points were redeemable for coupons and gifts, including books, movies, and a grand prize trip for two to Barcelona.

The more that fans played, the more points they earned and the more user-generated content they consequently pushed out to their own networks of friends, which further fueled campaign promotion and brand awareness.

The Results

Since April 2011, when the program launched, the fan count on the American Express Israel Facebook page has increased 36% and the fan activity rate is five times higher, according to Batat.

In addition, the company has benefited as follows:

-Deeper brand engagement: By incorporating a reward points system rather than a one-time prize, AMEX persuaded fans to pay close attention to the company’s commercials, opt in to receive ongoing brand communications, and willingly interact with the brand over and over again.

-Customer advocacy: The beauty of Facebook marketing, when done right, is that a company’s campaign can be promoted to those who aren’t fans of its page. Each action that fans took on the AMEX Israel page was potentially promoted to those fans’ personal networks, like a third-party referral, via the Facebook platform.

-Customer insight: AMEX was able to gather direct feedback on ad messaging, product preferences, and the customer experience by empowering fans to make fun “boardroom” decisions and rewarding them for completing surveys. “These activities not only kept our fans engaged but also provided our brand managers with an inside look into the behavior and interests of our fan network,” Batat said.

-Cross-channel engagement: Participants also earned points by signing up for the company’s newsletters and checking in on its website, enabling AMEX to advance the fan relationship beyond Facebook.

-Cross promotion: The campaign gave the company’s Global Shop and travel-booking services a shot in the arm by encouraging signups and user-generated content (e.g., fan vacation photos and videos) posted in connection with the brand.

Lessons Learned

The real lesson here is that Facebook promotions can do more than attract fans or convince them to interact with your page. They can be integrated with other channels and they can support broader objectives.

Present fans with something they find compelling, and they’ll prove that a click of the “Like” button is only the beginning.

How will you enhance your company’s Facebook promotions to generate even more value for your brand?

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