Harlem Globetrotters Can’t Score With Facebook Direct Marketing

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

Basketball showmen say they aren’t getting any action on Facebook when it comes to direct marketing efforts

Super-skilled basketball circus crew the Harlem Globetrotters has big doubts about  the value of direct marketing over Facebook, after finding it had no luck whtasoever using the social network for advertising efforts.

“We have had zero luck with direct marketing on Facebook. We will keep trying to figure out how to do it,” said David Ball, the Harlem Globetrotters’ director of Internet marketing. “But we use social media to assist email.”

Harlem 2Speaking at Salesforce’s Dreamforce 2013 conference in San Francisco today, Ball showed data indicating people still much preferred to be contacted by marketers over email, rather than Facebook.

Harlem Globetrotters slam (dunk?) Facebook marketing

He did admit it was a good platform to learn about customers and for gathering data that could then be filtered into direct marketing campaigns via email.

It has run campaigns over Facebook, such as asking people to vote for their favourite player, but would use that information to customise emails where possible.

The Harlem Globetrotters have found success in “activating” fans over social media, with one campaign on Twitter asking users to determine rules of the exhibition matches. That vastly increased its Twitter follower count.

This is not the first time Facebook has faced doubts over its ability to support advertising efforts. General Motors gave up advertising on the social network last year, claiming it wasn’t worth it, before reversing its decision.

A BBC study questioned the value of advertising on the platform, claiming fake profiles had been damaging.

But this year Facebook has continued to boost its ad offerings and is thriving after a poor initial public offering (IPO). It has seen its share price bounce back above its original offering, whilst revenues and profits are growing.

Twitter, on the other hand, had a hugely successful IPO, but many are wondering how it will turn a profit in the future.

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