Privacy has famously been Facebook’s Achilles’ heel so its just as well that the social media giant isn’t making a foray into online banking, although as widely reported, Commonwealth Bank will be using Facebook’s API to expand their online banking services. Meantime, the social network continues to entrench itself as a legitimate platform for business to engage with customers. As any digital manager will tell you, engagement metrics like Time Sent, Active Users, Recency (“Parneet visited this website 7-10 days prior to this last visit”) and Frequency (“on average, Parneet visits this website 2.8 times a month”) are the holy grail for an online property. That said, cross-channel engagement (“Parneet banks with Bank A offline, manages her account online and pays her friend using Bank A’s app on the Facebook platform”) rules the roost when it comes to driving customer satisfaction, loyalty and revenue per customer.
Facebook understands this really really well, and as a result are focused on two goals as a long term revenue driver -
- Keep users on the site for as long, and coming back as often, as possible: That means seamless sharing – from pictures, music, events, life events and birthday dates, to games. Facebook also lets users message, chat (IM) and even video call their friends. All of this means that according to comScore, on average Facebook users spend 379 minutes a month on the website and frequent it 28 times a month. Any media company I know would kill for such engagement levels.
- Make it easier for business to engage with customers – existing and new – on Facebook: Per David Robinson, Director of Global Marketing Solutions at Facebook,
only about 16% of a company’s user base engages with the company’s Facebook pagethe average brand reaches only 16% of its fans. Purely as a CRM goal, companies would salivate at the chance to convert more existing customers into Facebook “friends” by offering a wider range of services (more up-sell/cross-sell opportunities!), and attract more new customers using Facebook as the acquisition channel.
Facebook recognizes that brands will not forever be satisfied by racking up ‘likes’ on their brand pages. A study conducted by The Appalachian State University found that while 75% of respondents liked a Facebook page, 69% rarely or never returned to the fan page. Needless to say, a like does not a customer make. Another study likewise points out (somewhat obviously) that ‘friends’ are more likely to stay engaged with brand pages that offer a loyalty or rewards program. It’s hard to offer a hard-working loyalty program without tying it to actual user information – after all, how else would a company judge what a customer’s specific needs are and accordingly, what offers would resonate the most?
Much as we feel that Facebook has violated our privacy, over and over again, make no mistake – as long as there are enough naive users who publicly broadcast their every move and location, and thieves who feel compelled to log into their Facebook accounts from the victim’s laptop, there will be individuals who use Facebook as a payment platform. And financial institutions that are happy to let them do so. Then consider that Facebook is now publicly traded with a very public taskmaster and under pressure to demonstrate new revenue streams. The conclusion? It is coming. The end.