By adding new features and attempting to make Facebook a one stop internet shop, as well as aggressive outreach in new territories like Korea and Russia, Mark Zuckerberg certainly seems confident that FB can double its existing user base.

Given Facebook’s huge marketing and financial clout, it’s increasingly likely he might be right...

Facebook-homepageOne Billion Users.

That’s a significant portion of..well..everyone. And Facebook has been making plans to add them all to its network.

Is it possible? If it chooses the right marketing methods, then it’s inevitable.

The data Facebook collects is by far its most valuable commercial asset. From a commercial point of view, the  value of highly targeted ad revenue from a billion users would be almost incalculable (although I’m sure businesses will figure it out pretty quickly), so maybe it’s time Facebook decided to stop worrying people with privacy issues and instead reward some of its customers for their information?

Obviously a straightforward cash kickback is probably off the cards straight away.The sheer logistics involved in giving a fiver to a billion people would make it a hugely unwieldy enterprise, albeit one that might turn out to be a bargain for the company, but let’s face it, Facebook doesn’t have a particularly altruistic history.

However, there are plenty of other incentives the company and those using it as an advertising platform could use to incentivize customers and reward them for adding extra information to their profiles.

Group buying.

Companies like Groupon and LivingSocial have already had success by harnessing bulk buying power and passing it on to members and it’s a fair bet they don’t currently have 500m people backing them up. Even allowing for diversity and differing economic status, Facebook still has the leverage to offer its users some amazing deals:

In Game rewards

Love them or hate them, there’s no denying the massive popularity of the many online games Facebook hosts. By offering in game rewards (profile 80% complete? Have a handy upgrade to your weapons/herd of pigs/dance moves) they’d be harnessing the power of one of the most committed groups online : gamers.

Advance notice

Got a big promotion coming up? Wouldn’t it be nice if Facebook let your target users know about it in advance? Maybe they’d like to submit extra information in return for getting the jump on your latest deals? The big plus is that both you and Facebook get that extra demographic information, meaning you can tweak those campaigns for better results.

Referral awards.

Invited your email address book to join up or referred them to a group? Well how about a little kickback in exchange? Again, this would be more likely to take the form of online points rather than cash, but for companies it could easily be paid for in PPC freebies from Facebook, incentivizing brand marketers to engage their audience for Facebook’s benefit as well as their own.

Facebook is already the largest network and it still sees consistent growth. If it’s really going for the big numbers, then it makes perfect sense for the company to increasingly utilize its corporate users as expansion hubs.

Apart from the free signup the thought of giving things away may be anathema right now but given the right impetus it could be worth a lot of customer sentiment and advertising revenue and for better or worse give them the web domination they crave.

Matt Owen

Published 5 July, 2010 by Matt Owen

Matt Owen is a marketing consultant based in London. He was previously Head of Social at Econsultancy and currently runs Atomise Marketing. Opinions expressed are author's own.

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Comments (2)


Corporate photographer London

Very impressive figures for facebook- but does anyone else find twitter much more productive and instant? Grant

about 8 years ago


Robin Buxton

Good point Grant.

According to iStrategy, Facebook may be the biggest social-networking site but when it comes to business, Twitter seems to be the favourite; at least among the Fortune Global 100 companies.

A whopping 65% of the Fortune 100 companies, own a Twitter corporate account. On the other hand, about half of the companies own a Facebook page and/or YouTube channel.


about 8 years ago

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