Opinion: Can Facebook compete with TV as a brand communication channel?
A view from Staff

Opinion: Can Facebook compete with TV as a brand communication channel?

The social-media network is seeking to become the platform of choice for brand advertising, and is hosting a summit for UK digital agencies in an attempt to ascertain what brands require.


No, and neither can Twitter nor the next dotcom of which we're yet to hear. That's not to say that a window or shop front on Facebook is not important - businesses will grow on Facebook as they have on eBay and Amazon. Brands will want to live there.

But you are not a brand until you're known. The guy next door has bought a VW Golf after watching years of great TV executions. I know why, and when he tells his 3000 Facebook friends, they will know why. That's what TV can do.

I do, however, believe that, at certain times of the year, Facebook will support the TV branding communication.

I had one of those advertising media 'moments' during The X Factor this year, when I suggested to my son that we could skip the ads. 'No,' he replied. 'I'm talking about each act live on Facebook with my friends.'

Odd that this incredible new company could be reinforcing the most powerful of brand communicators - TV.

Facebook is a second-screen medium with enormous revenue potential, but not branding.


The head of ITV sales would no doubt suggest that TV is a unique product that reaches a high volume of people in a way other media, including Facebook, can't.

Facebook would no doubt argue that it offers a more involved and involving communication channel that is more personal and bidirectional.

In the middle are communication planners, deciding how to split their budgets from a long list including TV and Facebook, in a way they would not have done a few years ago.

TV recognises Facebook's power to generate conversations and satisfy addictions. Just look at Glee. Content ready for you on-demand, the brand available to you long after the show is off-air. The ability to share with mates, to 'Like', to comment.

Yet their roles are different. TV is good at starting conversations and Facebook better at keeping consumers engaged and extending the brand campaign.

Facebook's role as a brand communication channel will only grow as our natural fear and hesitancy about exposing our content reduces.


On the surface, yes. However, the question of 'competition' is not necessarily clear cut.

The interesting area is convergence between increasingly advanced TV technologies and social platforms such as Facebook. This should serve not only to enhance the viewer experience, but also to improve the ways in which marketers and advertisers can measure the effect of AV content.

The differentiation between the two will soon narrow. Facebook is no longer a standalone platform but an enveloping eco-system that brings others in to breathe its oxygen.

Convergence will provide a chance to enhance measurement of a campaign. The old view of TV as a reach medium and Facebook as an engagement platform will become increasingly redundant as the gap closes between the two. The ability to bridge the gap beyond traditional reach and frequency measures, and real-time effects of AV content on page views, click-throughs and 'likes' could provide a fresh metric for a campaign's effectiveness.


Facebook shouldn't try - the channels do different things and can complement each other perfectly. The death of television advertising has been predicted for years. While targeting opportunities are limited, TV lets you communicate your brand message to a broad and passive audience. It will remain important for many years.

Social media, if harnessed correctly, can deliver engagement via a two-way conversation. Facebook has the double benefit of providing scale and being highly targeted. It's stripped-back layout, however, limits creativity. The ad space is small and works on the premise of teasers, incentives or offers - more akin to digital direct response.

The trick is to get the channels working together. For Foster's, our TV campaign features the Aussie blokes Brad and Dan. On Facebook, drinkers can interact with them while getting updates on comedy content such as the Alan Partridge series.

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