What a difference a year makes! Facebook appears to have really turned around their advertising strategy and offering. A recent survey published in #AdAge Digital identifies some 74% of ad budgets including a line item for Facebook and most indicate that ROI has increased in the last 6 months.
The article brings an interesting thought to mind… why do we refer to ads placed in a site that is primarily social to be social media marketing? Do we indicate that ads placed on Yahoo! or through Google somewhat social media marketing? Of course note. I may be standalone here but that identification needs to change. Social media work done by brands and agencies on Facebook is distinctly different that their advertising work on the same property. The role of the efforts are different, don’t lump them together.
In a blog entry last March, Is Social Media a Consumer Haven or Marketing Channel?, I discussed the disconnect in value exchange between social properties and their consumers. I went so far as to identify the pressure Facebook will feel when they become subject to quarterly earnings expectations after their IPO, and hypothesized the situation where they will increase the exposure of personal information to encourage marketers to spend with them. Well… the game is getting started…
Today, Digiday featured the article “Brand View: Facebook’s New Targeting Options” and identified new elements of consumer data that will be available for marketers to leverage. I’m a firm believer in data driven marketing, this blog entry is not a comment about that. Rather, I point back to my initial conjecture that Facebook will do this and emphasize that this action will end up making no sense to consumers. Opposed to content rich sites like Yahoo or Microsoft properties, Facebook has no content, consumers create all of it but don’t yet recognize that it is their content and their profile are being monetized.
Mark my words… within three years, we’ll either see a Facebook with a dramatically new approach to monetizing their platform or a dramatically smaller company. Maybe both.
While reading an #AdAge article today, it dawned on me… we have yet to see how social will really play in the marketing mix. The article – “Facebook Warns Brands that Scale in Social Won’t Come For Free” – explains Facebook’s position that marketers are going to need to increase their expectations of cost when it comes to reaching the large audiences they’ve amassed. Here’s a provocative question, do consumers agree to the value exchange? Do they believe in giving up their personal information and being exposed to ad impressions? Sure, they agree to terms and conditions, but do they reciprocate that interest by clicking, buying and advocating the advertisements?
My prediction… the game has hardly started, we don’t yet know the players and it’s too early to calculate the final answer… but todays’ consumer will win.
My humble opinion… social media sites are perceived differently than other consumer tools and destinations. It’s a very personal experience that will prove to result in strained relationships as technologist and marketers attempt to monetize. Consumers add content, share it with others and increase their networks… for themselves. Intervention by external forces who attempt to shift the value equation for the consumer, from participation to monetization, will result in flight to the next “cool” thing. Search engines, blogs, portals and commerce sites have familiar business models and rather predictable consumer interaction and reception. I don’t purport to speak for all consumers but it seems to me that the familial, personal interaction with social sites serves a vastly different purpose on the part of the consumer.
I’m just say’n… but do mark this date on your calendar:-)