Facebook Lookback movies

Yesterday my friend Jess commented on Facebook about the phenomenon of their personalised Lookback movies. Her phrase was 'mind-blowing' and it gave me pause because I'd discounted it as sentimental narcissism, in part because their choice of moments jarred with my own sense of my life. Though I liked the use of the format to comment on Vladimir Putin's Russia, see video above.

Here was an advert, Jess observed, that didn't work to demographic data like sex, age, salary, ethnicity or location. "Lookback is nothing more than an advertisement for Facebook itself, but it's an ad made just for you."

This innovation seems significant. It's mass-marketing at a micro level.

It kinda unsettles me, I replied to Jess, because it underscores how much they know about me and the potential for them to mine that data. Then again, I often think if advertising is going to get better then maybe that'll be good because they rarely interest me at present. I can think of only one advert on Facebook that gave me pause, when I watched a video about improving productivity when making electronic music.

The thing I learned reading Jess' thread was that a friend of hers had found she didn't have a Lookback movie to watch because she posts too infrequently on the site. "...There was just a polite but vague message about how they look forward to seeing more of her in the future, and she told me she is now planning to post more actively..."

Which leads me to see the purpose of the exercise as relationship-building. 

At present I think Facebook is the best social media platform because it has the biggest audience. There are a lot of people who I only manage to keep in contact with through the service. Google+ doesn't have that despite being thrust on me a number of times. Twitter is interesting for entertainment outside of my personal networks, and email is becoming a thing of the past.

Engagement is Facebook's advantage and to maintain it they will need to continue to innovate. Lookback is an interesting step and one that shows skill in repackaging individual data on a massive scale.

It was interesting that another aspect of their 10th birthday was a message to advertisers thanking them for being part of Facebook's life, envisaging this milestone as 1% of their journey. A Facebook millennium is an ambitious statement, possibly designed to shake comparisons with MySpace, but it also comes soon after their response to recent 'research' from Princeton and it's interesting to see how much they used Google's resources for that.

Another interesting aspect is Lookback shows Facebook can produce video content. Previously I posted a video called The Problem with Facebook where the commentator made an observation that they would have difficulty running video adverts because this was lacking.

I've seen good results from using Facebook advertising at work, in part because their metrics beat anything from traditional media. They can reach people in ways that others cannot and I hope they use this power responsibly.