Cartoon Network Focuses on Facebook Engagement

Cartoon Network is looking to Facebook to promote its programs, but it’s not getting too hung up on click rates.

Cartoon Network has launched multiple campaigns with ties to its Facebook presence, ranging from augmented reality games online and offline to features like a Ben 10 game creator which encourages viral UGC from younger children. Cartoon Network also recently created a social media aggregation tool called Buzz, which pulls Facebook and Twitter conversations around specified content into a single hub. Creating a bridge between fans’ social media identities and Facebook is a key part of Cartoon Network strategy, according to Scott Thomas, vp of 360 consumer marketing for Cartoon Network.The campaigns have helped to grow a healthy Facebook fan base of 4.6 million.
According to Thomas, Cartoon Network looks at engagement in a way that approaches the Web GRP concept. The network looks at time online, the amount of viral content shared and the frequency and content of social conversations to judge the effectiveness of their campaigns. This approach is becoming increasingly common for major brands, and Thomas believes that looking at engagement should be the first step in judging ROI.
“Facebook isn’t a platform that we judge on click-through rate,” said Thomas. “Cartoon Network is a brand advertiser and we look to deliver the most effective impressions with our marketing dollars.  Facebook’s Sponsored Stories are a perfect example of how no matter what the CTR is on the ad unit, the ability to deliver an impression that shows someone’s friend’s affinity for our brand is very impactful and powerful.”
Thomas believes that Facebook’s Sponsored Stories are a key component of a successful online brand awareness efforts on Facebook because they deliver brand messages on the basis of relationships and mutual interests.  A strategy focused on building brand awareness and engagement, according to Thomas, also allows communities to form organically around branded content.
“Our ads can create connections with our fans that will live on past the advertising campaign,” said Thomas. “Facebook’s Sponsored Stories has allowed us to amplify the passion of fans who connect and share about our brand to more of their friends.”
Facebook display media, Thomas believes, works when it is used as part of a larger social strategy to increase and amplify the impact of brand-related actions taken by consumers. Social media strategy should be consumer-focused, Thomas noted, building a responsive strategy around the interests and behaviors of brand enthusiasts.
While Cartoon Network won’t comment on specifics of their ad spend, Thomas affirmed that the network’s shift of ad spend towards Facebook is dependent on its continued positive performance.
“We measure all our mediums by the same criteria, how it affects our brand awareness and drives users to tune-in,” said Thomas. “The more digital is able to help us achieve our objectives, the more money we will spend in it.”
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