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Virtual Events on Facebook [Case Study]

November 29, 2010 - 2 Comments

Inspired by the launch of the 2011 Ford Explorer.

On the 26th of July, 2010, Ford ended a decades old tradition of unveiling new models at flashy expensive auto shows, and took a leap of faith with Facebook. If you didn’t see this event as it happened, take a look on Mashable. In a nutshell, Ford used a dedicated fan page to build hype before, during and after the unveiling of the 2011 Explorer.

This event was extremely successful, surpassing its pre-launch fan target of 30,000, and I wanted to experiment with this concept. One of the Facebook pages that I moderated was about to surpass 100,000 fans and we were about to launch a new app exclusively for this community. I initially wanted to have live videos via USTREAM, but with limited time and resources, we narrowed the scope to text Updates, and Photo shares.

Tip: Always narrow scope before pushing dates, otherwise dates will continue to slip and nothing ever gets done. Check out this great post by Matt Mullenweg, 1.0 Is the Loneliest Number.

Objectives of this event

  1. Increase fan interactions
  2. Deliver valuable content to our fans
  3. Soft-launch a new application that adds features to our existing page

We created a custom landing page for new fans, as well as a new profile image to commemorate the milestone.

With our 3 objectives in mind, we focused on 3 types of posts:

  1. “Cisco Ripple” promotions
  2. Text posts in 5 different languages (Filipino, Russian, Portuguese, Chinese, Arabic)
  3. Story based on Inside Cisco building’s photos with captions that build up a story
  • What’s a “Ripple”? Any thoughts? Get your dictionaries! Who can explain that properly?    [8:00 am]
  • Rippling Fact #1: You don’t need to leave Facebook to try “Cisco Ripple”. You can access it from inside Facebook! Register and Connect now! [11:20 am]
  • Did you start “rippling”? – Hilal @ Cisco [11:40 am]
  • NetAcad говорит по-русски: Какую тему Вы изучали на этой неделе? Вам понравилось? [12:00 pm]
  • How do you find our “inside Cisco” photos until now? Are you planning to visit us anytime soon? [1:00 pm]

We have a global fan-base, so we wanted this all day event to start on Monday at 9 AM in Singapore. We targeted Monday because it seemed to be the most active day for our fans. This isn’t the case for most US users, so know your fans. Our assumption is the majority of our fans are students in the developing world with limited Internet and computer access. Thus they can’t check their Facebook page until they get back to school on Monday.

If you hadn’t realized it yet, 9 AM in Singapore is 6 PM on Sunday in California. We wanted hourly updates; similar to what Ford did, so we leveraged Spinrklr to schedule all of our posts for the 24-hour event. This allowed for us to focus on interactions and not the pre-planned updates.

The Results (Courtesy of @HilalChouman)

The results of September 20th, in respect to an average day, were awesome! Logged-in and unique pages views increased by a factor of 1.5 (150% increase). Likes and comments also saw an enormous increase, the most interesting finding was the ratio of likes to comments (almost 1:1). We witnessed 1500 likes (usual average 400), an increase of 275%, and 1250 comments (usual average 400), an increase of 212%.

Logged-in page views, unique page views, likes, comments, and .. unsubscribers

However, the day witnessed a slight increase in number of unsubscribers. A few people during the day complained about the updates filling in their newsfeed. This was a good sign that we had cracked into Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm, but we felt obligated to adjust to the feedback. The scheduled updates were adjusted, and a few of the redundant updates were removed from the schedule.

Another insight we had from this event was the value of rich media like photos. While on platforms like Twitter, photos don’t have much of an impact; on Facebook the results were astounding, almost 5000.

Further Analysis

We compared the responses to the three different types of updates, and it was clear that NetAcad students wanted to reply to posts made in their native languages. The feedbacks to the language posts outperformed the application launch and the inside Cisco photo posts.

Languages perform better than all other updates

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  1. Thanks for posting this informative article.

  2. Great insights on a successful marketing campaign
    Thank you for sharing