Segal brings Facebook to Canadian advertisers

Need to reach the 18-24 demo? Talk to Toronto-based Segal Communications. The agency just landed exclusive selling rights in Canada for advertising on Facebook, the current 'it' social networking site that's growing by 10,000 users a day.

Rob Segal, Toronto-based president of Segal Communications, tells MiC that when pitching Facebook to media buyers who aren’t familiar with it, he lets the site’s numbers do the talking. Facebook boasts well over 900,000 registered Canadian users – 69% of whom log in weekly, and 94% log in monthly. There are 1.88 billion total page views from Canadians each month, with each user averaging 2,721 page views. 25% are under 18, while 65% are 18-24.

Segal has set up a Facebook division within his agency and added five staffers dedicated to the unit to work with clients to develop custom programs, from traditional banner ads to building sponsored groups.

Facebook’s sophisticated architecture allows for highly targeted marketing. For example, a group as specific as ‘female university students in BC in their last years who like Nickelback’ could be targeted.

Segal says the best way for marketers to get attention on Facebook is to give users something of value, like content or special offers. Stateside, marketers like Apple, Crest, and Victoria’s Secret have had success setting up sponsored Facebook groups that users can opt into after seeing an ad for the site on their main log-in pages. ‘This is all permission-based marketing,’ he explains.

‘Privacy issues have been considered … that’s what makes it different,’ Segal adds, explaining why he thinks Facebook has more staying power than other social networking sites like MySpace and Friendster. For example, with Facebook, only a user’s designated friends can view their profiles, as opposed to other sites where profiles are public.

Prices vary greatly, from $20,000 to $1.2 million, depending on the scope of the effort as well as levels of targeting.

Segal says we can expect to see Canadian efforts roll out on the site within the next month or so.