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How Phones 4u used Facebook to increase engagement

How Phones 4u used Facebook to increase engagement


Phones 4u is one of the largest mobile retailers in the United Kingdom, and the leading independent mobile phone retailer among the youth market, with over 450 stores nationwide. Punktilio is the social media agency that handles its online ad campaigns.


For three weeks in April 2010, Punktilio ran a Facebook Ads campaign highlighting the launch of the HTC Legend handset in Phones 4u stores nationwide. There were several aims, including increasing brand exposure for HTC and providing a compelling advertising campaign with which Facebook users could engage.

The campaign also sought to encourage more users to connect with the Phones 4u Facebook Page – the free public profile that enables companies to share their business and products with Facebook users – and to increase levels of engagement on the Page.

Once a user connects with a Page by clicking on the ‘Like’ button, a company can send updates to the user on an ongoing basis.


For the HTC campaign, Punktilio used Facebook’s Premium Poll Ad, an ad type that enables advertisers to engage users by asking them a question about issues relevant to their audience and offering them several response options. For these ads, Punktilio capitalised on the “legend” theme by asking people to click to ‘Like’ the Phones 4u Page and then nominate their favourite musical legend.

The agency also aimed the ads at Phones 4u’s key 16- to 24-year-old demographic using Facebook’s targeting feature. Facebook’s targeting allows companies to reach their most likely customers based on information listed in users’ profiles, but does not reveal the personal data of the people who fit into the targeting categories.

After British rap star Dizzee Rascal was voted as users’ favourite musical legend in Phones 4u’s poll ads, Punktilio switched gears. The agency ran six new ads inviting users to click to ‘Like’ the Phones 4u Page for a chance to win tickets to see the rapper perform at The Lovebox Festival 2010 in London. The goal was to encourage engagement with the Phones 4u Page and increase HTC’s exposure.

 “This really drove click-through rates,” says Neil Higton, Phones 4u Project Manager at the agency. “The stages of the campaign were really clear to users and really appealed to them.”


At the start of the Facebook Ads campaign, 6,594 people had connected to the Phones 4u Page. By the end, three weeks later, it had 9,993 people – an increase of over 30 percent. Three months later, nearly 24,000 people had connected. • Over 5,000 people voted in the poll ads.

The ads generated a 7.76 percent uplift in impressions, which totaled 450,678 organic impressions.

“The thing about the Facebook Ads platform is that it operates like no other,” says Neil.

“The way that people interacted with the Phones 4u ads was largely via friends recommendations. I’m far more likely to click on a post that I see from my friend’s news feed, rather than the ad itself. The viral reach is very powerful and there aren’t many platforms out there that encourage this kind of earned media.”

Neil thinks that the effectiveness of a campaign like that of Phones 4u for HTC means that social media marketing is the future.

“It offers engagement and conversation within your marketing that normal ads can’t match,” he adds.

“There are 500 million people on Facebook. Facebook is where people talk to each other, digest news and communicate with their favourite brands. What people choose to connect with on their Facebook profile almost defines them. It’s really key.”

The Future

Punktilio has built a Phones 4u community on the company’s Facebook Page, thanks to campaigns like those for the HTC handset. The crucial thing, says Neil, is to maintain the engagement of that community through daily content and tailor any future Facebook Ad campaigns to the community.

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