The AirAsia Friendsy Facebook Campaign Teardown

Just ran the quick "rule of thumb" over the Publicis Mojo AirAsia Friendsy campaign that won a Facebook Studio award earlier today and I was somewhat surprised by the numbers. So I thought I would share them with you.

The headline numbers for the AirAsia Facebook campaign reads 2,291,483 uniques (i.e. 20% of Australians using Facebook). This figure represents about 50% of the Sydney metro area - the target audience. It also compares favourably with running a TV commercial during the National Rugby League Grand Final (i.e. est. 2,420,000 viewers).

The cost of running an ad during the Grand Final is between $70,000-$80,000. This represents a CPM of around $29-$33.

Now assuming that no Facebook ads or any other form of online promotion was employed to drive traffic to the Facebook page, and assuming the costs of creating and managing a social media campaign are the same as broadcasting a pre-existing TV commercial campaign, all we need to do is establish a costing on the competition prize as the base line for calculating the campaign cost. Assuming of course the prize was the hook that fuelled market interest in the Facebook page.

A quick calculation, based on AirAsia's own estimates of the value of the prize (See SMH) suggests the cost of providing the prize per view was $0.12, suggesting a CPM of $116.95, or 4x the cost of the TVC. Put another way the value of the campaign prize was worth 4 TVC's during arguably the most popular annual TV event in Sydney.

Meanwhile the cost per LIKE (apparently a key social metric) is estimated at $13.40.

Arguable the number of applications was a more significant measure of engagement than the LIKE. The cost per application was $21.44. Putting the CTR at just 0.5%. Well short of the direct mail average of 4%.

This would suggest, if you put aside the ongoing questions of bots, fake friends, click fraud and location targeting (i.e. just how many of the page views are from Sydney?), that the very best Facebook campaigns (i.e. the ones that directly leverage the network effect by gaming friendship - you need 2 or more friends to help you play this game) are now becoming more competitive with TV.

Assuming of course the campaign is lucky or clever enough to ignite the network effect. In this it should be noted the campaign received press coverage in the Sydney Morning Herald and across the blogosphere. Again an example of the newspaper industry "White Anting" their own business model through the promotion of Facebook as newsworthy.

It's been a while since we conducted a Facebook/Social Media campaign tear down. But, if you recall, some of the Pepsi campaign metric estimates from 2010/11 ran as high $50.oo per LIKE with CPM's in the $1000's. Indeed the Pepsi "Refresh Everything" Social Media Campaign proved so inefficient it has been hard to get excited about social media as a mass marketing medium. But clearly this campaign looks a very different. Except of course when it comes to the question of what is Facebook earning out of all this activity?

You see, assuming Facebook ads didn't fuel the growth in traffic and Facebook isn't collecting a fee for every invite for a friend to play, I am still somewhat confused on how Facebook makes money out of all this?

Which raises the question: Is this Facebook Studio award really demonstrating the effectiveness of Facebook as a mass media advertising channel or is it just confirming the obvious... i.e. if you are paying for advertising on the web today, then it is a sure indicator that your creative has seriously failed you?

In the end though, as you scan through the winning entries, you can't help but ask the question: What is there here that couldn't have been achieved using an old fashioned web site. Indeed what is there here that wasn't already de rigour by the time of the Dot Com crash. That moment when the online advertising CPM rates collapsed literally overnight simply because, by any measure, online advertising just wasn't proving to be an effective marketing channel.

The reason being of course the web site, as is the now the case with the Facebook page, was the destination, not the channel.

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