Category Archives: social

Cracks In The Facebook Advertising Facade?

Mark Zuckerberg f8 Keynote

This week General Motors announced plans to cease much of its paid advertising on Facebook but retain its various brand pages to “keep the dialogue going” and continue promoting its automotive products on the popular social networking site.

A GM spokesperson said, “paid ads on the site have [had] little impact on consumers’ car purchases”, suggesting GM’s social strategy on Facebook has failed to meet investor expectations.

This is an interesting revelation amidst the IPO frenzy this week, considering GM is one of the top U.S. advertisers in terms of ad spending, dolling out a mammoth $30 to $40 million alone to nurture its Facebook presence.

Regardless of whether GM is doing it wrong or not, or merely broadcasting instead of listening, one critical question being raised of late centers around the long-term viability of Facebook’s business model, which relies almost exclusively on paid advertising revenues.

The challenge for Facebook, particularly in the growing mobile space where people are typically less than receptive to ADs thwarting their small-ish screens, is in monetizing the more than 900 million users without significantly undermining the user experience to the point people feel compelled to leave.
Myspace quickly comes to mind as the poster child in this regard, illustrating the historically fickle nature of Web audiences and the staggering speed with which tech fortunes can rise and fall on the Net. Though Myspace never had 13% of the world’s population perusing their social network, so things could be very different this time around for Mark Zuckerberg and his talented team of 6 billionaires and 1000 millionaires.

But the question stands: Do Facebook Ads really work? And do ‘Likes’ and ‘Fans’ ultimately translate into product sales? Well perhaps not directly into car sales, but how about something a little smaller, like slices of pizza.

The story of Pizza Delicious out of New Orleans appearing on NPR this week is an interesting one because it paints a cautionary portrait of the challenges in running a successful Facebook advertising campaign. But don’t expect a mass exodus of advertisers just yet, Facebook is only 8-years old! Let’s give the platform time to mature.

#AskMadonna Was It Good For You?

MDNA booklet photo

The Material Girl (does she still go by that name?) graced the threads of Twitter Monday night to answer questions for 90-minutes. Billed as a “one night only” event, Madonna live chatted with fans at @MadonnaMDNAday who were encouraged to use the hashtag #askmadonna to help build interest in her latest studio release MDNA, her first album since 2008.

Meanwhile over at the design inspiration/lifestyle site fab.com Madonna is offering Web audiences a deluxe “web only” $7.99 version of her latest CD at almost 50% off the regular store price.

There’s also a giveaway with the digital music service Spotify for two listeners who play MDNA at least three times during the next two weeks who could then win tickets to one of her upcoming shows.

On Saturday (prior to the Twitter event) Madonna was on a Facebook livestream with late-night TV host Jimmy Fallon responding to fan submitted questions, again just for one night.

Hmm…smells like there’s a digital strategy at work here. All this activity indicates that Madonna is proactively taking steps to strengthen her social media following rather than rely on the traditional talkshow routes and news outlets to create buzz for her new album.
Consider Spotify’s recent integration with Facebook and the new Timeline feature which, among other things, allows people to view a small thumbnail of recently listened to albums and tracks. Madonna’s marketing people are clearly targeting the Facebook platform and things like the new listen with friends feature.

But the above mentioned events (the Twitter chat in particular) seem carefully choreographed—dare I say contrived, perhaps by one of Madonna’s PR marketing aides. After all, the 53-year old Madonna (is she a grandmother yet?) may have just a passing interest in connecting with fans on social networks. Why else would she engage with fans on Twitter for just one night? I suppose daily chats are out of the question, so how about once a week?

Check out the spike in the chart over at social media monitor Radian6 which reveals an interesting blip in Madonna’s recent Twitter feed exchange with fans.

The obvious comparison comes next: Lady Gaga, who arguably sets the bar for social media engagement with fans. No one does it better. With well over 21-million followers they don’t call her the queen of Twitter for nothing. Gaga is also fast approaching 50-million fans on Facebook and is in approximately 1.1-million circles on Google+.

The Material Girl on the other hand couldn’t possibly buy that kind of digital clout. Now could she?

The distinction one could draw between Gaga and Madonna is not simply the disparity between the number of Likes, Followers, and Circles (incidentally Gaga has 5-times as many Facebook fans over Madonna), but the consistency of engagement.
In Gaga’s case the fan engagement seems more authentic because it occurs on a daily basis and doesn’t start and stop abruptly to coincide with album releases as in Madonna’s case.

The Material Girl could learn something from mother mons†er —don’t you think?

The Social Skies Have Arrived

KLM Meet & Seat

Expect more airlines to follow KLM’s lead with ‘Meet and Seat‘ over the next few years. The new program allows you to share your Facebook or LinkedIn profile through KLM’s booking management system. Passengers who opt-in can view the profile details of other passengers and determine where they might want to sit on the plane.

Never mind watching in-flight movies or pre-recorded television episodes —content you’ve likely already seen at home. Wouldn’t you rather chat with someone you’ve recently met in the digital space? Perhaps someone with whom you’re casually acquainted but may never have the opportunity to meet face-to-face.

Does sitting next to a social media maven or someone sharing your interests mean you’re more or less likely to engage in conversation than if you were sitting next to some random person?

As a freelance art director I might want to sit next to a potential client based on their Linkedin profile or a digital strategist I follow on Twitter (though not included in KLM’s M&S) who’s resourcing creative for an upcoming campaign. Things could get really interesting if you decide to sit next to someone outside your professional field or immediate area of focus.

While aligning seating plans to social media profiles doesn’t automatically mean conversations are poised to blossom among passengers, it’s a great way to improve the flying experience.

If you’re concerned about sharing too much information about yourself, KLM says, “You can always choose to show less or more profile details, or remove your profile details from the seat map entirely”. Although, as more flights begin offering free wi-fi, once enroute you could easily Google the names of your fellow passengers.