As it turns out, February was a big month for Facebook. From “A Look Back” to the purchase of WhatsApp, it seems Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has no shortage of surprises up his sleeve. On February 4th, Facebook celebrated its 10-year anniversary by offering users a customized video experience that captured their most memorable moments since joining the world’s largest social media platform. The response, to put it mildly, was overwhelming.
Instead of publishing a timeline of Facebook’s history or pointing out the platform’s decade of success, Zuckerberg and his team decided to make individual users the star of the show. In honor of its anniversary, Facebook combined technology and profile information to create a 62-second video chronicling a user’s history on the site. Starting from the year joined, the video creates a custom presentation of a specific user’s top photos, posts, and other memorable moments shared with Facebook.
Slightly more than a week after the campaign launched, user-generated “A Look Back” videos received nearly 100 million shares. As Facebook’s VP of Global Marketing, Carolyn Everson, recently stated, “[This campaign] is the best piece of marketing we’ve ever done… it nearly broke the internet.” So far, even those involved in the pre-launch planning appear surprised at the results. Most experts agree that the team at Facebook outdid themselves with this idea, calling it the “most ingenious campaign yet.” In fact, “A Look Back” evoked some unexpected user responses.
While most users were delighted to view their unique history on Facebook, the campaign sparked a different type of reaction for family members coping with loss. Less than 24 hours after the campaign launched, a Missouri man by the name of John Berlin made a heartbreaking plea with Zuckerberg and Facebook to allow him access to his deceased son’s “A Look Back” video. Not long after going viral, the video caught the attention of Facebook. Facebook granted Berlin his request and, shortly thereafter, began to look at the existing policies regarding access to the Facebook pages of deceased users.
Thanks to Facebook’s success with personalized video, many brands are planning to follow suit. Both advertisers and video marketers agree that reaching customers in a memorable way is the end-goal. From enhancing customer engagement to providing viewers with highly targeted ads, video content is expected to play a larger role in marketing than ever before. For now, many top brands have not yet embraced personalized video, though adoption is expected to grow in the future.
In addition to its internet-shattering video campaign, Facebook purchased WhatsApp for $19 billion. Between the success of “A Look Back” and predictions about the company’s use of WhatsApp, Facebook continues to add innovation to the social networking process while inspiring competition from brands. Clearly, Zuckerberg feels WhatsApp will be instrumental in transforming the way users connect and interact online as he aims to provide his massive global audience with the ideal social sharing platform.
What do you think the decision-makers at Facebook will come up with next?