Tag Archives: Facebook

You Are What You Like

Facebook: You Are What You LikeApparently Facebook has begun re-posting people’s likes at random intervals, usually a prominent product or brand, posted with a hyperlink to a persuasively worded “related article” (a.k.a. Sponsored Story) . On the surface these pseudo-updates look authentic and almost identical to regular status updates, but guess what, they’re published on your behalf completely unbeknownst to you.

Last week my partner mentioned how odd it was that my Facebook updates were routinely including likes for a well-known brand of take-out pizza and Mexican fast food. Conservatively speaking, let’s say this was happening several times per week. Now don’t get me wrong, I love pizza and a good Mexican burrito every now and then, but I wouldn’t say I eat the stuff several times a week.
As it turns out I had in fact become a fan of these particular products several years ago. Now it seems these fast food brands wanted all my Facebook friends to know I was liking these products every week—again and again—presumably around dinner time.

While impersonation might sound a bit strong, Facebook could be seen as taking significant liberties with our likes by making it seem as though we’re actively endorsing a product or brand on a recurring basis. Using our name and profile picture next to an Ad gives the appearance of a legitimate personal status update and makes others—that is, our friends—more inclined to stop and read the message.
From a digital marketing perspective this is a very clever appropriation of our Facebook identity. Although the mild annoyance one might feel when they learn their profile is being used to promote products on a regular basis (and without expressed written consent) could eventually turn sour if friends start formulating certain opinions about you based on what you’ve liked in the not so distant past.

Update: Here comes the enevitable class action lawsuit.

Via Gizmodo:

In October [2011], Facebook agreed to a settlement about this whole Sponsored Stories issue, wherein they may have used your likeness in a Sponsored Story ad without your permission. The settlement set aside $20 million for you poor, wronged souls, and now Facebook is starting to get ready to pay it out.

So, in the event your likeness was appropriated you can file a claim to receive a whopping $10 payout from Zuckerberg and company.

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?