Facebook Sponsored Group Analysis: Target vs Wal-Mart

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Web Strategist Connie Benson pointed out the Target Wal-Mart Sponsored group in Facebook isn’t getting a warm reception. As I cruised through the group, I noticed a much higher degree of interaction, amount of members, and community engagement.

[Target and Wal-Mart have both deployed a Sponsored Group within Facebook, each deploying contrasting strategies with different results]

Here’s a comparison of the two groups as of Sept 10th, 2007:
Please note, it’s impossible to tell who’s really behind some of these comments and threads, some could be hired on various services.


Marketing Strategy
The timing is right to launch these site, as it’s back to school season

Wal-Mart: College students, dorm rooms
Target: College students, dorm rooms

URL to view live group:

Wal-Mart: Direct lnk (Facebook account required)
Target: Direct link (Facebook account required)

PR Firm:

Wal-Mart: Edelman
Target: ? (update: AKQA)

Launch Date, estimated:

Wal-Mart: Early August
Target: Early July

Features:

Wal-Mart:
“Your Personal Checklist” eCommerce links to Walmart.com
“The Roommate Style Match Quiz” Personal persona wizard, eCommerce hooks, very clever
“Mix it Up” Mix and match roommate styles
“SoundCheck” Media samples of popular bands
“College Store” Green products, Freshman tips
Target:
“Tip Me” Product Marketing images
“Is it edible” interactive animation, I found to be clever
“Not your mom’s checklist” eCommerce selector
“Find your soul furniture” customized product wizard
“Snoop for inspiration” Design ideas gallery
“Good roomate” Media animations with tips

Number of current members:

Wal-Mart: 1196
Target: 7106

Number of Discussion Threads:

Wal-Mart: Sadly, None, as feature is disabled
Target: 33 Discussion threads
Most are under 5 responses, however “Tips from someone with experience” (started by Target employee) has over 55

Number of Pictures:

Wal-Mart: 27
Target: 396 Photos, many appear to be CGM (can’t confirm)

Wall Posts Quantity:

Wal-Mart: 426
Target: 462

Blog Trackbacks (Technorati:

Wal-Mart: 6 Tracbacks
Target: 51 Trackbacks (most are from Marketing and PR professionals)

Anecdotal Opinions:

Wal-Mart: Very negative, details on this post
Target: Majority positive on wallposts

Other Metrics
I need data to check interaction levels, only Facebook and the respective companies will have this. I would want to see, time on site (attention), interaction levels, spikes and trends, and other information.



Screenshots

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Screenshot: Target’s Sponsored Group, “Dorm Survival Guide”

walmart
Screenshot: Wal-Mart’s Sponsored Group “Roommate Match”


Web Strategy Analysis: Embracing customer interaction yields Target as leader
Last month, I published a White paper on Social Media Measurement (co-authored with Matt Toll) and I could easily quantify these numbers are return a score card, if I had more time (or if it was my job) I would measure and score. Regardless, it’s clear that based upon engagement and interaction that Target is performing much better. Students even linked to their “Dorm room tours” on YouTube, whereas Wal-Mart lacks a discussion feature.

[Brands that “release control” to customer involvement have an improved chance from brand stewardship, customer ownership, and consumer advocacy. Let go to gain more]

What’s the difference between the two strategies? Target is clearly involving students to shape and be part of the group, whereas Wal-Mart’s strategy appears to be more of interactive web design, which is evident as the discussion forum is not enabled. I also suggested to Wal-Mart to consider an authentic evangelism program, the comments suggest a female evangelist would be best.

Update: If you want to know more about Facebook, read my Web Strategy: What the Web Strategist should know about Facebook. Also, I’ll be Keynoting The Seattle Facebook Conference on Dec 5th.