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360i & Expion Partner to Drive Convergence of Earned and Paid Media within Facebook

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Today we announced a strategic partnership with social software firm Expion that will result in a powerful integrated earned and paid Facebook platform and services offering, bringing together community management, advertising, social applications and advanced analytics to measure and improve our clients’ Facebook marketing efforts. Our parent company Dentsu Network West has also reached an agreement to take a minority stake in Expion to catapult the company’s growth.

This move underscores our agency’s firm belief that the success of brands in social rests heavily on a keen understanding of the interplay between paid and earned media. It’s a vision shared not only with Expion, but with Facebook as well, which is slated to announce a series of updates at the Feb. 29 fMC Conference that will further expedite this convergence.

Despite continued investment in Facebook by brands – marketers created four million brand pages and spent more than $3 billion on advertising within the platform in 2011 – there exists a technology gap that has prohibited brands from effectively managing and optimizing across paid and earned media. Our goal in partnership with Expion is to therefore create an environment that promotes seamless cross-functional collaboration and more holistic management of a brand’s overall Facebook program. For example, real-time community analytics will inform our ad targeting and bidding strategies, resulting in better advertising performance. We will also be able to more closely align advertising with content strategy to drive deeper engagement and fan acquisition.

Earned and paid media will continue to converge across the social ecosystem, with each having a multiplying impact on the other. This creates a need for an integrated approach to managing and measuring social programs across community, content and advertising. We look forward to working with Expion to advance this shared vision of the future of social media.