Once upon a time ago, Mark Zuckerberg may have fought the advent of ads on Facebook. But the social media giant has since changed its mind to the tune of $12.5 billion in ad revenue in 2014 alone. Mobile ad sales comprise 70 percent of Facebook’s business, and to say that the company is dependent on advertising feels like something of an understatement. On Monday, Facebook announced the winners of the fourth annual Facebook Awards, crowning the 12 best Facebook marketing campaigns of the past year.
Awards were based on such criteria as creative content, social strategies, use of targeting technology, and results, and were chosen from an enormous pool that represented entrants from over 160 countries. Taking home the Facebook For Good prize was the inescapable ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which seemingly saw participation from everyone and their mother. If you managed to miss the viral challenge, it involved people choosing between donating to the ALS Foundation or dumping a bucket of ice water on their heads to raise awareness for the disease. Ultimately, there were 17 million videos made from 159 countries, resulting in 70 billion video views and $220 million raised.
Another gold winner was Procter & Gamble’s “Like A Girl” campaign, which sought to “drive an emotional connection to Always, build awareness and boost purchase intent.” By challenging the notion of what it meant to behave “like a girl,” the ad was a heartwarming and empowering representation of what it means to be a young woman in the 21st century. With 76 million global views, it was the most watch P&G ad ever made.
Also successful (and female-focused) was UnderArmour’s “I Will What I Want” ad, which starred power women Misty Copeland, the ballerina; and Gisele Bundchen, the supermodel. The campaign “celebrates women who defy expectations and ignore the noise of outside judgment,” UnderArmour explained, and was responsible for 5 billion impressions and $35 million in free media. Traffic to UA.com also experienced a 42 percent increase.
So if you’re looking to create the next great Facebook ad, take a page out of these companies’ books, and take advantage of Facebook’s greatest offering: its audience.