All posts in “microsites”

Facebook: All Your Eyeballs Are Belong To Us!

Remember how we told you it was time to stop building microsites, think like a broadcaster and build channel? Well, big brands have been doing that very successfully. In fact, according to this article in AdAge, in many cases branded sites are being completely eclipsed by “owned” social media:

“Coca-Cola, with its 10.7 million Facebook fans, has three to four times… [the number of] Foursquare registered users. (There are at least 11 brands whose Facebook fan pages have quietly grown bigger than the biggest geo-location providers.) That certainly trumps U.S. unique visitors to Coke’s brand website, which fell by more than 40% to 242,000 in July compared to a year ago, per Compete.”

Of course the only problem is those eyeballs are not portable. They effectively belong to Facebook, no matter that Coke and others have spent millions in media dollars on the platform to drive membership (as they do to drive traffic to their branded sites) and the fact that those people have opted into membership on their brand page.

This of course leads to a very interesting concentration both in terms of audience (Facebook owns it) and media dollars (Facebook gets an increasing share since they deliver it to the right people – and measure the results). Pretty much a win-win for Facebook… but something that brands, accustomed to simply signing cheques, rather than helping shape the advertising platforms they’re using, need to start thinking about very seriously.

The article goes on to point out that Facebook is essentially morphing into a CRM solution – a “big list broker like Experian” – except that they are free. Of course the irony is that brands are subsidizing this new facet of the site, and if Facebook decides to change their revenue model, they could also end up paying for what they helped build.

Building Channel, or Why Microsites are a Bad Idea

I’m starting to repeat myself. We’ve been having very similar conversations about social media with virtually all of our clients over the last eight months or so, the main point being: “You need to start thinking like a media company. Your objective in this fragmented universe should be to build channel.”
That sounds great, but what does it mean?

1. Stop building temporary microsites and spending millions in media dollars to send people there, only to shut it all down (or leave it to wither) when the campaign ends. Attention is an expensive gift – think about how you can recycle it.

2. Who cares if companies like Honda have 2 million app users on Facebook? You should – they can engage with and activate 2 million qualified brand enthusiasts in the future, at virtually no cost.

3. Think like a broadcaster – if someone has spent time and money making channel 14 highly rated, are they going to launch a new channel to air their new show? No – they’re going to piggyback on the money they’ve spent and the eyeballs they’ve attracted. Knowing this, why are you reinventing the wheel every time you have something new to share or talk about?

4. Your plan should be to build permanent real estate (your own and on the social networks of choice for the people you are trying to reach) that can be strategically leveraged to let you connect with the people you want to talk to most and who want to talk to you.

Old habits die hard – we’re all still getting used to the scary fact that social media means millions of consumers are publishers – they no longer require a TV station or newspaper to get their point across to a vast audience. But business needs to take a breath and realize these new rules apply to them as well. This of course requires a re-thinking of where marketing and media dollars go; something that’s a lot more than scary for a whole industry.

“You need to start thinking like a media company. You need to build channel.”