Facebook, first step to a better way

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facebook_small.jpgADOTAS — I’m still unsure that social network sites like Facebook will ultimately prove successful for marketers.

Outside of the difficulty of monetizing Facebook, trying to interrupt conversations with an ad, or Twitter, where do I start? it seems to me that a good advertising social network model hasn’t surfaced yet. Certainly the attraction is there.

The share of adult users who have a profile on an online social network site has more than quadrupled in the past four years — from 8% in 2005 to 35% now, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project’s December 2008 tracking survey.

While media coverage and policy attention focus heavily on how children and young adults use social network sites, adults still make up the bulk of the users of these websites. Though in September 2008, 70.2% of US Internet users ages 15 and older visited an online social network,  according to comScore World Metrix.

“The ongoing headache for marketers is that social networking is such a powerful consumer activity, but incredibly challenging as a marketing medium,” said Debra Aho Williamson, senior analyst at eMarketer.

Peter Madden had a nice rant about Facebook, calling it a “freak show,” adding that ” friends have become the new products.”

While I get that the social network is more about like-minded groups creating their own niches, and therefore attracting connected brands, I just wonder if a better mouse trap is waiting in the wings.

— Express your opinion, comment below.

4 COMMENTS

  1. My colleagues – stop putting so much thought into it. It is not as difficult as it sounds and far from a freak show.

    I’ve had great success marketing on twitter, facebook and myspace. The problem arises with marketers conforming too much to old paradigms and not realizing the value/commodity of friends and networking.

    The networks I’ve built consists of key taste makers and influencers, each with their own prominent sites or blogs with significant unique counts. Through nurturing friendships, and not forcing marketing messages via a spamfest of links and hardly interacted groups, you can create a powerful distribution network for content with a measurable ROI.

    I know I can make a relevant link post to my 500+ network, send a few facebook messages, and can consistently count on anywhere from 50k to 150k uniques on the low end to be exposed to the content I am driving people to.

    The mousetrap is already present, a change in the mindset of marketers using it as a tool is required.

  2. Certainly opportunity exists for out-of-IAB advertising. SocNets offer far better ROI and branding media with word-of-mouth, influencer media, ‘immersive advertising’, etc…

    However, the lack of standards, the unique opportunity each site offers and other hurdles create burdens to many advertisers/agencies, who simply don’t have the time effectively reach more than 1 or 2 social networks with that approach.

    The social networks must also learn how to play the game, and they can start by making it easy for the advertisers — aside from the IAB display stuff. Create products, introduce them to advertisers, do case studies, etc…

  3. Felt it appropriate to add a caveat: This is not a one-time drag and drop tool – which may express the frustration some have with using these sites as marketing tools. These sites: Digg, Twitter, Facebook, Fark, Myspace – and countless other niche sites with respectable unique counts require a time commitment to see the ROI I brag about in the previous comment.

    You must “do work” and make friends to see these benefits and can’t expect it as a quick and simple delivery tool. Each has its own culture with dos and don’ts that adherence to dictates the success I speak of.

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