This is a short brief about how the marketing fits into Facebook’s Internet:
As of now, Facebook Ad Manager (dominant revenue generator) is less than optimal in its performance (as compared to the Google AdWords). Yes, the company is relatively new and with time its products will get better…but I have my reservation on that. Here is the reason why:
– Facebook ads are limited by the parameters defined by the users in their profile. As an advertiser, I do not have a lot of flexibility to tweak my parameters to get better result.
– Yes, I can target the audience by their age, location etc etc…but for me as a marketer, this much is not enough. Also, there are a lot of people on Facebook who just love to “like” things. For them its a game. Somehow Google has managed to keep its “clicks” very relevant. Facebook has its work cut out in that field.
– Direct Marketing is primarily run by ROI. If I am spending a $, I want some output from that. As a marketer, as of now, I rely more on Google to get useful leads than on Facebook.
Some people might argue that this is not Direct Marketing…but the branding that will bring chunk of revenue to Facebook. But I have my doubts over the effectiveness of Facebook even for Branding. Here are some small notes:
Interaction with the users and brands happen on Brand’s fan pages. Brands invite users to their fan pages using interesting campaigns and events. People “Like” their page and woooow…it flows into the stream. That is very very viral. Brands love it. Now the user starts getting updates/feed from the Fan page on his/her own profile page. This is a brand manager’s dream come true: Constant Interaction with the target customers.
This is where the situation becomes tricky. There is a very limited space on the profile page of the users. And the constant running stream is getting more and more complicated every day. To make things worse, many users have 100s of friends and 100s of fan pages. You can imagine the amount of activity being generated on their profile pages. In this much noise, brands again go back to the same problem of being buried in the constant noise around users. Yes, they can broadcast their message constantly…but in this situation there is a fear that the user might “block” them or “remove” them from their streams.
So, what should Facebook do so that it can provide a good solution to companies so that they can use it as an effective branding platform?
Here are some tips:
1. Make the stream on Users wall much more useful to the user. (Yes, that means intelligent filtering, blocking, positioning, and targeting of the content on users’ wall).
2. Use Intelligent ways to limit users from adding hundreds or thousands of friends. Also use some methods so that people do not “like” a fan page just for the heck of clicking it. Now these 2 points might sound counter-intuitive, but in long haul, they will be required to have a good experience for the users as well as brands. Remember Myspace and its doom? Some control on he content (either creation or positioning or targeting) is required for a good long term experience.
3. Give more tools to brands so that they can target customers not only just by their basic profile info..but also by their behavior. There might be a big opposition for this from the community, but we know that Facebook can get past that with little trouble.
4. Create new avenues where the user and brand interaction will take place. In Goggle’s context, it was the display partners (publishers who display google’s ads). Facebook can do something like this by saying that the users can take their stream anywhere they want to. Now..that would be something new. Also, publishers will demand some sort of control over the content being shown on their pages. Its going to be interesting, but it surely can be done.
There could be some more items….which we can discuss at a later time.