Social networking giant Facebook is undergoing a marketing gold rush, with brands competing for attentions and users’ willingness to project a very public image through the companies they choose to like.
The site is at the centre of the gold rush of marketing spend. Brands are piling on to the site, interacting with users and chummying up to potential customers. They are using Facebook apps; running games, promotions, giveaways and all manner of tricksy marketing ploys If you "like" their page, their news pops up on your news feed.
"Rather than a top-down advertising model, it’s about an interactive, engaging, two-way communication channel," said Frank Lampen, creative director at Independents United, a London-based agency that has pioneered the use of social media. His clients include Asos and Vue Cinemas, and their Facebook pages are buzzing with people sharing views on clothes or films.
Asos, an online-only UK retailer, has 1.6 million likes. Up there in the top 20 liked pages, alongside Facebook itself and Rihanna, is Coca-Cola, which more than 40 million people officially "like".
Facebook is employing proximity measures, which look at how actively you engage with a brand, before allowing the news to migrate over to your newsfeed.
It earned $3.15 billion in ads last year. A report by Deloitte estimated that businesses are making $7.6 billion a year across Europe piggybacking on Facebook.