Does Facebook advertising work?

Talk about the hype running away with itself. With Facebook executives saying that the site is on course to make $150 million this year you might assume that it is a brilliantly performing advertising platform. The reality it would seem is actually far from that. According to reports from Valleywag average response rates are at a shocking 0.04%. There are likely to be a number of reasons for this:

1) People are too busy interacting with eachother to click on adverts. They are creating and exploring social threads so don’t want to be distracted by corporate messages.

2) The ads are not relevant to them. As posted by Nathan previously, Why do I get dating services ads on my FB profile when I have listed my self as in a relationship?

So what can be done to overcome this? That is the question that any advertiser considering taking a presence on FB needs to consider carefully. I think there are two things (I am sure there are others, but these come to mind right now)

1) Create branded tools or areas that enable FB users to do more of what they are on FB for. In other words enable and align with existing behaviour instead of trying to force counter behaviour to what is happening on FB. Redbull’s Roshambull game is an excellent example of this. It allows users to challenge their friends to a game of “paper, scissors, rock”, provides profile status showing how much of a loser or winner you are. Even lets you “talk smack” eachother whilst playing. Hugely addictive and inherently community orientated.

2) Or alternatively, if you must advertise than define your audience and target them precisely using FB filters. Of course you are currently going to need a decent budget to do this with a minimum fee of $500,000.

Either way – the gauntlet is down to advertisers everywhere. The attraction of the growing user base projected to hit 100 million by early next year is irresistable. So, can you make Facebook work for you?

Don’t Google – Blackle instead

Blackle

Doingyour bit for the environment can start with simply changing your home page. Blackle is a version of Google that draws less power from your computer. It’s based on the brilliantly simple observation that it takes more energy to light up a white pixel than to leave a black pixel switched off. What a great idea. Wish I’d thought of it.

Aching for a Wii

I’ve been wanting to get a Wii for months. My excuse was that I should really get to know the product for the sake of understanding the latest trends in interaction and game design. But that was clearly a load of balls. However, this weekend I couldn’t resist any longer and bought one for my daughter.

Let me start by saying it’s wonderful. The problem is it’s made me realize just how unfit I am. I’m in real pain this morning. My right arm, stomach and lower back are all stiff from playing Wii Sports. So I’m thinking of making it my exercise regime. It seemed to work for this guy anyway:

Wii experiment

But there’s so much more to the Wii than just the games. I’ve spent quite a bit of time playing with the browser too. I can now watch YouTube on my TV and listen to my FineTune playlists. Like any good technology, it’s enriched my life rather than simply distracted me from it. And with any luck, it’ll help me fit back into my old 32″ waist trousers.

Digital Shoplifting

According to a report on the BBC News site, it seems like magazine publishers in Japan are getting jittery over the current trend amongst young Japanese women of sharing pictures of magazine content.

The publishers call it ‘information theft’, and it has probably be going on for as long as camera phones have been around, only it has taken this long for the publishers to find a reason to be scared about it.

Reminds me of the good old days, when Napster let the MP3 download genie out of the bottle. The recording industry fat cats caught on late, panicked and instead of approaching the situation with intelligence and creativity tried to stuff the genie back in by attempting to criminalize the activity, throwing lots of lawyers at the situation and drafting in the likes of Metallica (whose credibility instantly took a nose dive) to support their cause.

In the meantime, Steve Jobs (amongst others), realized that people aren’t necessarily motivated by getting something for nothing, a revolution was born and the fat cats retreated to lick their wounds (and sue the odd 13 year old for kicks). Or so the fairy tale goes.

The moral of this story: when the genie is out it’s already to late, time to get creative.

Follow this link for inspiration on how to survive beyond traditional publishing.

Beta Consumers

WiC Beta

Gaming is seeing a massive leap forward in participation marketing.

Video games that cost film budgets to produce are entering a new level of immersion and complexity. For years all games were sold through demo versions. Beta keys are what its about this season.

You let hundreds of thousands of gamers have an almost finished version of the game to do mass testing for free – each having a unique ‘key’ that unlocks the game. Free for you and free for them. OK a good PR strategy and careful promotion is needed but you make sure the game works when its released… and you get your rather amazing product into your customers hands.

With any luck, when you release the final game not everybody will download a copy off Bittorrent, boxes will shift and you get funding to develop the next installment of video gaming wonder… and smiles all round.

Check out…

World In Conflict: http://game-on.intel.com/eng/geekout/wic

Also see the what’s happening with Call of Duty….

Call of Duty 4: http://www.gametrailers.com/player/20975.html

Teams ain’t what they used to be

The creative team structure of an art director and copywriter has served advertising well for many years, because things used to be relatively simple.

Client has a product, planner writes a brief, team has an idea and production people make an advert. Team goes to pub.

Indeed the argument for a two person team structure seems to be over whelming. There are many examples of great two person team combinations from all kinds of creative fields.

teamsa.jpg Continue reading “Teams ain’t what they used to be”

The 6th P

The 6th P is Permission.

In a client meeting the other day where I was discussing what we meant by Participation Marketing with one of our clients and he said… there is of course a 6th P and that is Permission.

The classic 4 P’s of marketing, emerged in the 1960s. These were Product, Pricing, Placement and Promotion. Get these things right and a brand would have a sure fire recipe for success on its hands.

As this terminology came about in the traditional analogue advertising landscape, participation was never really an option. Continue reading “The 6th P”

Web Analytics has a new textbook

Google’s new Analytics Evangelist, Avinash Kaushik, has also been busy writing a book. Web Analytics an hour a day is a new resource to help us make sense of the masses of user data on the web.

Google has been making big news in this area. When they released their free tool Google Analytics it sent shock waves through the industry, suddenly any Tom, Dick or Harry could get involved and it significantly raised the industry’s profile. Of course many people are worried Google has increasingly too much data on us.

Continue reading “Web Analytics has a new textbook”

‘Citizen journalists’

People sending their ‘at the scene’ footage of events, as they unfold, to newsdesks is no longer a novelty.

The TimesOnline reports today on how the events of last week have served to highlight the increasing quantity and quality of first-hand, user generated content ‘Images of terrorism captured by ‘citizen journalists

As well as the increased participation of the general public in reporting on and helping to shape how news events are covered, it is also noticeable how the BBC is becoming increasingly fond of using satellite photography gleaned from sources such as Google. Presumably this is being done to add a kind of cutting edge ‘we have the technology’ aesthetic to the television reports. Whether or not the ability to zoom into the scene of a flood or attempted car bombing from space helps us to understand what has happened or is happening to people on the ground is up for debate.

I guess the natural progression is for the man or woman on the street to start licensing the syndication of photos and video captured on his or her mobile, geo-tagged and uploaded to flickr and positioned on Google Earth. Then the BBC can zoom us straight into that person’s living room from space, and, who knows, provide us all with the ability to instantly become friends of the content provider on Facebook by pressing the red button.