Devil’s Advocate on Facebook Advertising

Let's be clear: I have not ever paid for any type of advertising on Facebook. So, there are many people who probably have better insight on this than I ever will. That said, I ran across an interesting comment on an article about the "New MySpace".

What also makes this new venture interesting is that many bands (particularly the smaller ones who rely on exposure to their fans) are more than a little fed up with Facebook's throttling of their audience. Anyone with a Page on Facebook (whether band, fan or other) will have seen for a few month snow that anything they post will only "reach" (ie, appear on the timeline of someone who has opted to read your posts by Liking that Page) about 20-50% of their audience. Want to reach more? Then they have to "promote" their post by paying to reach more people, or begging those who do read their posts to spread them around for them – which is why Facebook is such a dreadfully spammy place to be right now.

From my perspective, I haven't thought about EdgeRank like this before. My viewpoint of EdgeRank has been that it "forces" marketers to create high-quality and engaging content. If the content is not engaging or relevant to the brand's fans, then that content will not be seen in a fan's News Feed. Makes sense to me.

Now what "FiniteMonkey" said in his above comment takes the glass-half-empty viewpoint. EdgeRank works this way to "force" marketers not to create engaging content, but to "force" marketers to buy sponsored posts and other paid media on Facebook. Smart perspective. I'm definitely not saying that I disagree with the perspective. In fact, I think it's naive to think that Facebook doesn't believe this is the case at some level.

To apply this argument to MySpace is also interesting.

Though it's been largely replaced by newer social networks, Myspace has managed to stay afloat thanks to the constant stream of musicians on the site, who still use it as a marketing platform.

A marketing platform. Exactly what Facebook is trying to become to make money, while avoiding becoming a marketing platform to avoid losing its main product: the user.

So from a brand / marketer / business perspective, maybe the new MySpace will have an easier time to monetize social media than Facebook has had as of late. The question on everyone's mind, though, is will there be anyone listening?

Inspiration and Goals

My wife and I traveled to Chicago two weeks ago to cheer on her younger sister's first half marathon. We had a blast running on Lake Shore Drive, finding the best place to see her sister, getting some good laughs and pictures along the way.

What stood out for me, though, was just how much I was inspired by being a part of a race, even if it wasn't my own. My wife and I did our first half marathons last year. Soon after, I developed bursitis in my right knee and it hasn't been the same since. My wife just signed up for the same half, but I won't be joining her on the course this year. Instead I'll be cheering from the sidelines.

What inspired me was just how excited everyone was and how supportive we were of someone else's goals and their achievements. I really believe we all need a little inspiration in our lives and to celebrate when we've accomplished a goal we've set for ourselves.

What inspires you?

Making Content Work for You and Your Business

I recently came across a great article on ExploreB2B by Susanna Gebauer entitled "7 Ways to Get Content to Work for Your Business". In fact, I've re-read it a few times now to take it all in and here are some of the takeaways I've had from my readings.

Here were Susana's 7 tips:

  1. Utilize Other Great Content
  2. Tweet Your Own Content
  3. Fuel Conversation on Your Published Content
  4. Use Content to Inspire Discussion on LinkedIn
  5. Run or Partake in Interviews
  6. Write an Article About a Person
  7. Make it Easy for Readers to Access Related Content

I could write a post about each of these tips, but I think Susana's done a great job providing examples. So, go read her tips. Now!

Okay. Back?

What'd you learn? What I learned is this: dialogue.

Dialogue you say, what are you talking about?

When you look at the theme that ties each of those tips together is about what you're doing as the content creator. Tip 1, Talking with the person who has inspired your content. Tip 2, Engaging your followers with content you've written. Tip 3, Conversation! Tip 4, Discussions! Tip 5, Conversation! Tip 6, Making someone else feel important. Tip 7, Get your readers to find more on the topic.

I'd love to have some dialogue! What do you all think?

Facebook Rolling Out Email- and Phone-Based Ad Targeting

Facebook Email- and Phone-Based Ad Targeting Available Next Week

TechCrunch has a good summary of the new features available to advertisers.

[It] starts with a customer list that a business has already created — for example if I’ve given my email address to the bookstore on my block so that I can hear about future sales and events. Businesses will be able to upload those lists of email addresses, phone numbers, and user IDs to Facebook…

[Businesses] will have the option target their ads at that group, or they can further target their content towards a certain demographic (say, females between 25 and 45) within the group. The simplest use case: Most businesses have loyal customers who aren’t Facebook fans, so they can create an ad for those customers asking them to become fans.

Two questions that arose from reading this article: 

  1. What does this do for the advertiser?
  2. How does this affect Facebook?

The Advertiser

At first glance, I think this is very good for businesses advertising on Facebook. The longtime advantage of advertising on Facebook is the advanced targeting features, allowing you to reach the niche demographics needed for your business. As the sample use case above points out, a main benefit of these new features will allow a business to reach real-world "fans" of a business to encourage them to become Facebook "fans" as well.

Two things this does for the advertiser:

  1. Increases number of fans of business on Facebook
  2. Brings highly engaged fans to Facebook.

The second point is key. Engagement is a large part of EdgeRank and how your Facebook posts are seen in your fans' News Feed. Reaching out to those people who are already fans helps create the highly engaged community that will be a part of your business' social media marketing success.*

The Facebook

On the other hand, I think for the average user of Facebook, this is just one more intrusion into their personal lives with advertising.  As Facebook continues to push for more ad revenue, it is finding more ways to alienate it's core product: you. Moving forward, Facebook needs to find a way to balance the need for satisfying shareholders and customers at the same time.

* Social Media Today has a great article about Engagement and the effect different post types have on Engagement. Basic Point: Photos are King.