Brainstorming BB10: BlackBerry should out gun Samsung on Facebook

Brainstorming BB10: BlackBerry should out gun Samsung on Facebook
By Chris Umiastowski on 4 Dec 2012 03:53 pm EST

Last week I read a story about Samsung spending $10 million on Facebook ads and generating $129 million in sales of the Samsung Galaxy S3, directly measured against this paid traffic. This story was shared by a Facebook executive at the recent Business Insider IGNITION conference. There are people arguing over whether or not these numbers are real. Can you honestly measure the conversion of people who view a paid Samsung ad on Facebook and end up using a Samsung Galaxy S3 device?

I think you can do a reasonably good job of this assuming there is a way to track conversions based on people installing (and logging into) the Facebook app from that particular phone, and using Facebook data to confirm that they previously clicked on a Samsung ad. My point in saying this is I do believe advertising on social media platforms can generate great results.

So is Research In Motion advertising on Facebook? Are they building their brand using Facebook's tools? Yes. They are. If you look at the BlackBerry fan page, you can see they have 12.6 million likes and almost a quarter million people "talking about this" (however that metric is defined). Comparably, Samsung Mobile has 15.7 million likes and only 164,000 people "talking about this".

Seems to me that BlackBerry is actually doing better in terms of converting page likes into user discussion. Their viral power is stronger, if you prefer to think of it in those terms. Maybe this means BlackBerry advertising on Facebook should deliver an even stronger return on investment than it did for Samsung.

That is, if it's done right. I don't use Facebook that often, and I never noticed any S3 ads, so I have no idea what they actually used as a promotion.

I can see, however, that BlackBerry 10 is showing up as a promoted post in my Facebook timeline. I'm glad to see this, however I think RIM can do even better.

If you click on the BlackBerry promoted post, the text of the post simply says, "showing is better than telling". Below the post is an embedded YouTube video, which we've also embedded here for your viewing pleasure.

I have to say, I was disappointed with this campaign because it misses out on a huge opportunity to build more awareness and anticipation for BlackBerry 10. From a marketing perspective, here is what I would change: 

  1. Capture viewer attention immediately. It's a nice commercial and all, but in an online world attention spans are very short. This spends a full 5 seconds without anything actually happening. Instead, the first 5 seconds could be used with an attention-grabbing headline with a voiceover. As an excited customer, I'd like to see RIM tease me about the amazing and fresh new BlackBerry 10 platform that's coming soon.
  2. Focus on the best features in BlackBerry 10. This video makes me watch for 20 seconds before I see anything unique. Don't waste valuable viewer attention span by showing off standard features. Instead, get right into the hub and BlackBerry Flow. Show off the camera and keyboard sooner.
  3. Tease people with a date! The video just ends, making it so easy to forget about. What's the goal of the video? It should be to program my brain to know that come January 30th, the BlackBerry 10 launch is happening, and I need to stay tuned.
  4. There should be a call to action. On Facebook, for example, the video could be a request to "like this page". Or there could be a link to an optin form where interested viewers can sign up for email updates on BlackBerry 10.  

I'm thrilled to see RIM advertising BlackBerry 10 on Facebook. They've got almost as much of a fan base on there as Samsung Mobile, which is incredible considering their much smaller market share. Their audience seems to be more interactive. This is all very good. But I think they need to do a lot better than promoting a video that was likely made well before RIM really started pushing some of the awesome features in BlackBerry 10. It's time to redo the video, and launch a powerful campaign that can deliver Samsung-like return on investment.

Original artwork: DeviantArt

Reader comments

Brainstorming BB10: BlackBerry should out gun Samsung on Facebook


I agree with most of what you said, but there's one BIG difference in opinion. I don't think it's time to launch a big campaign. Like you said, attention spans are very short. If RIM starts advertising all out now, by Jan. 30 people will have lost interest. For a successful launch, I think RIM should wait to advertise 10 until the 1st of the year (Dec. 31 at the earliest).

I reckon anything right now is too early. Teasers and web stuff they're doing right now is perfectly fine especially when they're trying to get developers over to the platfrom.

personally, I think think a major campaign targeting consumes should really happen after the launch. That way they can explain all the features that are unique to blackberry and that way they can at least keep continue the momentum from the launch event and hopefully surprises that were in store.

By all means keep the traffic and the hype up building from Jan 1st onwards but any consumers advertising campaign now would be wasted dollars especially if someone tries to head in to see if they can get they're hands on one and leave disappointed because they're still waiting.

I just wonder if they did a teaser type ad with the Jan 30th date, it could catch people's interest and maybe keep some people from buying a different platform's phone during the holiday season. It isn't going to have much affect on non BlackBerry users looking at a non BlackBerry phone for xmas, but maybe some of the current BB users that are ready for a new phone, but don't want a BB7 phone, might be convinced to hold off a little bit longer.

I disagree. Before folks commit to a 2 year contract at Christmas with some competitor's device, RIM needs to encourage them to wait till end of January. Show enough cool stuff to get them to reconsider. Phones are all about timing (Christmas, Graduation, Back to school) and contracts (1-2 year terms).

Chris, I agreed with you. They should make the videos about the exciting features that other device makers don't have. Have the people in background jumping up and down exciting about the new features and tell their friends it is coming in January 30th,

Maybe RIM can do small ad campaigns showing some neat features of its upcoming OS in a fun way, like Get a Mac (Apple for Mac computers) (Time Shift Camera, BB Hub, true multitasking, peak, flow, etc...). It's enough to release them on Youtube and media and users will spread it like a virus. But it should be really funny, not aggressive to other OSs and with moments of charm :) More people talk about BB10 more potential users RIM will have. Just a thought...

LOVE the image :) Also agree on the video comments. I showed this exact video today to some iPhone users and almost lost their attention by the time keyboard action got going :(

Talking to a software developer yesterday, he said that for the iPhone and the iPad you have to assume that the attention span of the user is near zero. (Real software developer, real comment). He also pointed to the iPad in the corner and commented that you find rapidly you cannot do real work on it.

So yes, my feeling is that it doesn't matter; few iPhone users are part of the RIM market, unless their CIO/IT department decide that, despite the whining, they are just going to have to spend a little time learning how to do something.

May be a bit early for a blitz.. But a gentle nudge that the something coning on the horizon so you don't spend all your money at Christmas. I'm not a marketing person, but i use my facebook app more than the browser. When i'm on the browser I don't even pay attention to those ads. but for the people that do, I would agree, get the attention quick.. focus on the strong points and send them to where they get more info. It's like a movie trailer..

One thing to note:

I believe the ads on facebook are tailored to the user.

So if on your profile/clicks via facebook/other online activities have to do with Blackberry, you will tend to see more Blackberry banners. Maybe this explains the lack of GS3 ads?

I bring this up to say that ads people see on fb or google is not a good representation of the penetration of online marketing by companies as a whole.

I personally think companies over-emphasize the effectiveness of online marketing.
But that's another discussion

I follow BB on FaceBook but it seems to be largly a waste of time, quite frankly. The comments are merely lots of BB PINs and people asking for friends. Nothing constructive.


Totally agree.... its really a total waste of time in terms about learning or discussing the product.

Its more of a pick up joint for BBM ...

My only issue is that a lot of people are logged onto Facebook either by mobile web or app (and those don't allow for ads) and with Google chrome on desktop computers, and using a very popular extension Ad Block and Ad Block Plus like myself, I don't see ads, so for me, and I know others, RIM is losing out on potential clicks by just having facebook ads or ads in general online.

They need some serious TV and print ads to help get the word on the street. I have friends who are not as connected as I am still to this day (just yesterday I had a coworker ask if RIM was going to announce BB10 anytime soon) asking if and when BB10 will launch. So unless you are a diehard, and pay attention to the news, RIM hasn't gotten the public aware that they are now 57 days away from announcing new products.

lol trust me it isn't only your issue.

there's a reason why facebook's stock has been in the gutter: their inability to monetize from an ever increasing mobile space.

facebook ads are not worth the exorbitant costs that companies are putting into it.

GM is an example.

Beat me to it. Theres no proof that they are effective, and i highly doubt FB ads played any significant role in the popularity of the SGIII.

The thing RI should absolutely not do is spend money advertising on an unproven platform. Every dollar should go where ad dollars are proven to be seen by the most potential customers.

To spend money of any consequence on facebook ads is as bad an idea as I've heard and RIM can't afford to screw this up!!

i use adblock too and i don't see any ads too :p but i still can see on my timeline about samsung galaxy note's sponsored stories that my friends are liking. i don't 'like' their fanpage so the only way their status updates can show on my timeline is via sponsored stories that my friends 'like'. i don't like samsung galaxy, but i like their sponsored stories (though i didn't actually liking the sponsored stories i saw on my timeline). i like how they able to show the best side of the product that can make people wanting it, talking about it and suggest other to buy it.

i agree that if RIM want to get more sales they have to bombard (specificly targeted ad campaign) TVs, newspapers&magazines, and streets (busses/taxi/walls etc) with their ads. but i think that's not enough to drive people to go to store and buy it. they need to be brainwashed too. parents need to be persuaded by their kids to buy one for them. friends need to be told that it's great. young people are the best target for marketing, older people are harder to be convinced of what's the trend now. friendships, social networks can help making perceptions. if people see tv ads and at the time they watch it they are being told by their kids/friends that it's cool and everyone are saying it's good (because that's what they see on fb/twitter and become the talk at school/work for example), it can get a family to buy one for each of them, if they can afford it of course :p

so tv & street ads to target those who want to buy a smartphone, and facebook/twitter ads to brainwash the rest.

If RIM thinks those stupid ads they have on Facebook are going to help they are sadly mistaken, They will be broke by 3rd quarter.
I get more info of whats coming up with Blackberry on here than I do from Blackberry fan page on FaceBook. That page is a complete joke!!
They had better get their act together.
Thank god for Crackberry!!

Advertisments on Facebook and the TV aren't meant for CrackBerry readers, they are for the people who don't come to CrackBerry to hear all the breaking news. RIM doesn't want to waste money advertising to us, they already have us.

I'm not a huge user on facebook but I think it's a great way to leverage the hype for BB10 and get people talking about the launch before a major campaign starts rolling out after launch. Don't forget the region specific brandings for blackberry on facebook too.

I look forward to write ups from "umi". And this one was not different, however, I can't say I fully agree with what he implied, while I agree, RIM should do some ads promoting Blackberry 10 OS and devices, using the above video isn't a fair comparison. That video was made at Blackberry world in May as a sneak peak. The January date wasn't known yet. So that couldn't have been put that in. Matter of fact, this video was done pre having a CMO. I agree with the analysis that it isn't gripping, but remember, Blackberry World, folks was still under the cloud of doom gloom and not sure what to expect from RIM as it relates to Blackberry. I see this teaser as something to show the devs yes, we are here and we are working towards something, and here is a sneak peak into some of what we are doing.

Truth is, in that sense it work. combine that with everything that happened back in May, as reported, there was a genuine hype and happiness for Blackberry again.

If they take this approach when they do start to advertise, then we have a problem but the sneak peak vid wasn't meant for where Chris is point it at.

You are missing the most important point though. RIM should have a newer and better video out by now. Once they announced January 30th as the announcement date, they should have started an online/social media campaign around that date.

I've heard nothing but negative things about the ads in Facebook, including people saying they want to leave Facebook because of the number of ads.

Facebook ads are shit. Epic waste of money. Nobody engages with them. I've tried to use them several times and they had the absolute worst conversion rate (read: ZERO). Even raw adSense text ads perform better.

Hope RIM won't waste their money on it.

Perhaps in the US, but in places where the Christmas or New Year period is the big spend, not so much; people will assume any campaign is related to those dates.
BB 10 buildup is likely to begin in Canada, the UK, Europe and the Far East rather than the USA, places where RIM has market share, and where sales people will be willing to push something that isn't iPhone.

i agree on most of your points chris (and i've said about samsung's fb ads on an article here a while ago), but i have to disagree on two points.

first, i don't think advertising in fb has real/direct outcome on selling, to me it's more of brainwashing people, setting people's perceptions that what's being advertised is something good, something that people want, and you should too. but it's not always getting instant result/outcome on sales.

i've seen for a while sponsored stories about samsung's galaxy note's ads, not on my timeline, but from my friend's activity "liking" the stories, that showing up on my timeline. to me, the advertisement (or sponsored stories) will be considered having a good impact, if it gets lots of people liking it. and on those people who liking the ads/sponsored stories there are people who have position as hype people, the popular people, people who have lots of friends who replied/commented on their status updates, who set the trend to their friends. those people can make lots of their friends interested on what they like, and maybe then buy it. but the goal is not to get lots of people to buy it (you'll only get disappointments, waste of time and money if that's your goal). the goal is to set people's perception about something. if you want to get more sales, advertise on tv or giant screen on buildings/stores will get more sales than advertising on fb.

second, i prefer blackberry fanpage on fb to get more likes rather than getting lots of comments/people who talking about it. because like whitbags said on previous comment, most people comenting/talking about blackberry fanpage status are just sharing their PINs. but liking the status, if the status got advertised/become sponsored stories, it can go to the timeline of friends of people who like the sponsored updates. that's what samsung got. that's how samsung galaxy note's update could visit my timeline though i'm not liking samsung's fanpage.

i strongly suggest RIM to advertise on facebook, by making their status updates as sponsored stories. and each of the status should be like what you suggested in your article chris. i really hope RIM will do this. not to get more sales, but to brainwash people. that blackberry is not outdated. that it is cool. that lots of my friends are 'liking' it. that maybe i will want to buy one too.

i think "sponsored stories" on fb timeline is the best way to advertise on facebook now. people are using adblocks, so side/widget ads will be useless.

they should start doing ads before youtube videos etc. where it's just someone taking a picture of a couple of sexy women, and one of them has their eyes closed, and the guy taking it just fixes it; no mention of blackberry, just "coming soon," and maybe have a giveaway like clocks and calendars in the background with Jan 30 as the date, and say 10 o'clock.
another one where someone get's a message during a meeting (just the flashing red light), lifts up the phone, and boom, cinnamon toast (totally quiet except for the presenter, who mentions something about first quarter), again, just coming soon.
and perhaps another one, where it's a good looking person with a coffee in one hand, get's a message and replies to it, but just that (with a few hints), and again, coming soon.

start inundating people with these, and then when the phone hits, everyone will have a sense of how to use certain aspects of it, everyone will have at least some sort of awareness of what the device can do. Many will know it's bb10, many will not. But those who do not and search it out are likely potential buyers.

just a thought

Anyone else think they will have a major Super Bowl ad campaign as this is fairly close to their Jan 30th launch and when the phones will actually be available? Single most viewed TV event?

Makes sense to me.

Blackberry by choice.

00 yeah for sure Blackberry is going to have a Superbowl ad campaign. If they didn't theyd have rocks in there head and I know that RIM does not. it's gonna cost to a crap load of money to advertise on the Superbowl but the return for blackberry 10 will be unbelievable... and this is exactly what a new operating system and phone needs

I’d rather be a Black Sheep than an iSheep any day.

Usually the blackberry facebook page is spam with maybe 99% quarter million people BBM Pins?? and 2% of Iphone user saying Blackberry suck??

Blackberry's best advertisement will be it performance, word of mouth is more powerful than Facebook adds. And also... A Facebook app that works well on the device would be great, Android's Facebook app is a disgrace to smartphones, it often doesn't load...

While it may be early, we want people to know about it so they can let Santa know that they don't want an iPhone or Android clone but instead want a gift certificate for a BB10 phone.
They can start with the teasers, showing the functionality that is currently known and making that common knowledge. It may be common knowledge to us but apparently not the people who work at the NTSB.

Chris - Another rocking article! You've hit everything on the head again.

That video is too old and needs to be taken down with a new one. I'm surprised that RIM didn't have a new video ready to go post BB Jam Americas / release date accounement. Since then there's been so much new info given about BB10.

I certianly hope that the CMO has a rockin plan for just pre / launch / post. I feel this is where RIM needs to hit it on the head more than anything else. It's been much too push to the wayside and they're seeing the effects of it now (and for a long time).

Honestly, CMO its up to you, RIM is do or die on your shoulders. It's obivous that the software is rockin to everyone, I'm certain the hardware will be too. But RIM's comeback will be won over by publicity and winning back the consumer.

Good luck guys!

I'm not so sure about internet advertising. I've tried it and at least for local markets it doesn't come close to being as effective as radio or television. Unless you have highly specific market segments you want to reach that can't be reached in other ways I wouldn't rely entirely on internet or social media advertising.

It may be useful for generating awareness and managing perceptions. And obviously helps with analytics if you can track through to actual sales (which is not always feasible).

And it's tough for us as BlackBerry aware individuals to respond appropriately to ads. The people who build these things usually have a pretty tight grasp on human psychology and what works for their target market. Tell an Apple user right from the start you're BlackBerry and he or she may ignore the rest of what you have to say. Tell them nothing and they may not realise it's BlackBerry until they're already in love with the product.

And not much point in having a call to action if there's nothing to do (at least until it goes on sale). So right now any ad or video is really just about generating awareness and not much more.

Pretty sure that video has been around for several months so would have been executed with early devices. No doubt they'll have better videos when it counts.

My guess is Frank Boulben knows what he's about.

one word...TWITTER...reaches more...imagine kim kardashiang posting twetts of bb10 or ricky gervais using it to post pics.

I know what you mean but NEVER...EVER put an airhead dirtbag like Kim Kardasian in the same sentence as Blackberry.
I’d rather be a Black Sheep than an iSheep any day.

maybe hannah montana or the jonas brothers can be a better example. people who have die hard fans or something like that :p

Heh, I too, use adblock plus. Ads don't matter to me. I prefer to discover a product or service myself, on my own, without being told or suggested what to use/do.