We went up to Chicago yesterday to the “Facebook Fit” bootcamp. Every event at 5 locations through the nation has sold out- with about 900 people getting a peak at what will probably turn into a much more efficient system of teaching the masses how to serve as their own media planner/buyer.
If you can make it to the one in Austin- which still has tickets available (it’s their home base for this roadshow) go.
Facebook is far from being the first to self-serve sell media- Google and Yahoo have had automated systems in place for years. What Facebook has done is made really complex targeting based on huge amounts of psychographic, demographic, geographic, economic data tied in with buyer behavior information- accessible to all. Forget Nielsen, Arbitron, Media Audit etc- their data is in real time, and the tracking is precise.
John Wanamaker famously said “I know that half my advertising money is wasted, I just don’t know which half” with Facebook analytics, it’s really easy to tell what works and what doesn’t. And when it comes to reach- while other online advertising has a 38% effective reach- Facebook is claiming studies show they have an 89% reach.
When you also realize that all you need is a smartphone with a camera to make “a Facebook ad” with a visual and a few words of copy- ad agencies grip on “media buying” is almost as obsolete as Wanamaker’s dictum. If everyone was on Facebook- many marketers problems would be totally solved, but sadly- internet penetration isn’t what it should be in the US- and smart phones aren’t in everyone’s pocket.
Which brings us around to old school conventional media and media sales. There are a ton of options for every business to buy media- with or without the help of an ad agency. Of course, there are also people who think because they can rent the Adobe Creative Suite- they can instantly make great ads. Newspapers in our area did away with the agency discount decades ago- and the 15% commission model never really worked that well- encouraging buying quantity over quality to pad agency revenue. The real question is if media sales forces are still relevant?
We’ve seen massive consolidation in both TV and radio- with the idea that having a sales force sell multiple stations makes better business sense. Often agencies find they are competing with media reps trying to go to clients directly- with deals to make quotas and fill airspace. The Next Wave is wondering why media outlets haven’t gone to self-service online buying systems- with a totally automated sales and insertion system. Long gone are the days when reps picked up tapes from agencies- and why are they still serving as go-betweens to enter in schedules into a computer to see “if it will take the offered price” - when online dutch auctions have been selling space online for years.
Media properties should be focusing all their efforts on building relationships in their local communities and providing invaluable information in real time- be it news, concert info, local events etc. The return of the DJ, VJ, real news person is here- as always connecting with social media and web. If done right- local media can have a a renaissance. If done, business as usual- there is no hope for local media when going against a verifiable advertising media provider like Facebook.
Facebook stock is being hammered. Wall Street and even Facebook itself, doesn’t understand the value of the business. It’s not an ad platform- it’s a social site, a private party. When advertisers stop thinking they have the right to interject themselves in everything, they may start having some real success. The key for businesses on Facebook is to be invited to the party. The secret to that is better market research- and that’s where Facebook is the holy grail of consumer data. We know who your friends are, where they are, what they are doing- all from the aimless chatter.
Facebook needs to monetize data, not users.
Reading in the New York Times:
For its stock price to go up, Facebook has to convince Wall Street analysts and investors that the personal data its 955 million users share about themselves can be better used to make money. Despite the fact that Facebook has information about a user’s friends, habits and photos, advertisers are not convinced that Facebook ads are more effective than online ads appearing elsewhere.
So far, its revenue comes largely from advertising and from proceeds of virtual games that people pay to play on the Facebook platform. On both counts, Facebook has struggled, as the company reported slower sales in its earnings report in late July. Its users are increasingly logging in to their accounts on mobile devices, where Facebook has only recently — and cautiously — started selling advertisements.
Facebook has to be careful about intruding with ads in the limited screen environment. With customers facing data caps on mobile devices, the only way advertising will be welcome is if those advertisers subsidize their data plans, or offer real services or additional value in return for their interruption. If you need a case study of an internet behemoth failing because they refused to respect their users and community, just study the fall of AOL.
While advertisers still believe they should have the right to engage for supporting “free content” they have to realize that now, more than ever, you can only earn that right by offering a premium service in return. Look what the iPod did to CD sales, or what online music services have now done to the iTunes store. Is it becoming clear?
Facebook is social media- stop trying to turn it into commercial media.
America has changed a lot since “Honest Abe” ran for president. There were no Madison Avenue types involved in politics in his day, no spin doctors, no data mining, psychograpics, demographics, Facebook graphs or Google Zeitgeist- a politician had to be convincing, charismatic, trustworthy and most of all honest.
There was a lot of door knocking, face-to-face time, speeches on town squares and debates- true debates. The candidate didn’t know his numbers- he knew people. His word (and yes his- there weren’t female politicians in Abe’s day) was his bond.
As advertising as we know it today was in its infancy, one agency, which grew to be the largest in the US- McCann, introduced its tagline in 1912- “Truth well told” which is still in use today. When it comes to great advertising, the most powerful tool at a copywriters disposal is still the same- find the one unique, universal truth about your client- and hoist it as high as you can. If there is one thing that consumers are on to these days its when they are being lied to in advertising (unfortunately- they haven’t figured out how to do it in politics yet).
Yet, a few days ago, I was a speaker at a social media conference- and looked around the room as I watched the back channel twitter stream fill with those buzzword bingo winners that spew out at an amazing rate of about 1 every 3 minutes. These “Big Ideas” get condensed down to 140 characters or less and copiously get sent into the twitterverse to have a half-life of about half a day (yes, Twitter is very temporary- as the service has grown, the length of time your tweet remains in their system has shortened exponentially- see this post of ours “Note taking at tech conferences is passé”) and include such nuggets as “EC=MC” which translates to Every Company is a Media Company- which all sounds great and wonderful, except that “EC≠MC” in my experience- which is Every Consumer is not a Media Consumer.
How do I arrive at that? I’ve run for office, something few people in advertising do- but lots of politicians are becoming more media savvy than us advertising folks- and here’s why:
We have reams of research and data telling us exactly what consumers are like, but it’s easy to get caught up in myths of popular culture — the focus-group-of-one trap — and assume just about everyone owns an iPad, tweets from their phone and times shifts TV.
Because everybody needs a reality check sometimes, we decided to take a decidedly non-scientific look at some Madison Avenue myths.
And yes- I tweeted a link out on this story as yet another social media experts (the biggest lie of all- as this has become so big, so fast that no one can truly wrap their head around the whole thing) tell us more about how our strategy should include at least Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Foursquare, Linkedin, Slideshare, blogging, and whatever else is trending that week. No less than 5 speakers used both the new Gap logo gaffe (it was in the last 3 weeks) and the Old Spice “Hello Ladies, I am the man your man could smell like” which ended with the hopelessly odd- “I’m on a horse” line.
Yet, despite all it’s success at viral exposure- as I walked through WalMart (where real Americans do shop- as we “on Madison Avenue” hate to admit) there was a video screen mounted vertically with the man on the horse running an endless stream of “Hello Ladies, I’m on a horse”- driving home the message at the last inch of the sale.
And all those people in marketing and advertising, who have an iPad, smart phone, eat organic, sip latte from Starbucks, has friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter- haven’t actually met mainstream America- up close and personal- like a politician knocking on doors, shaking hands and kissing babies. As an ad man who has, let me share this insight (and remember, I was only knocking on doors of those most likely to vote, because I’d be stupid to knock on every door)- there is a digital divide in this country- where people don’t have computers, don’t use them at work, don’t even have an e-mail address. Our country still is embarrassingly strong in illiteracy (even though we have “no child left behind” we’ve forgotten about all the functionally illiterate people we’ve produced over the last 60 years- the US is 27th out of 205).
Those “consumers” that we know so much about- don’t have health care coverage- so all those direct to consumer drug ads may fall on deaf (and illiterate) ears, they can’t jump online to get a custom video from Mustafa-they don’t time shift shows on their DVR, or order Blu-ray quality video from your streaming server.
What they do have is an increasingly smaller wallet (the economic gap in the United States has grown at an alarming rate thanks to our slick media spinning political types) and a tighter grip on their cash. They may be fooled once, but they won’t be back to buy your body wash twice if they don’t end up with the same magnetic personality of “The man your man could smell like.”
Unfortunately for marketers they don’t enjoy the same return purchase habits that politicians do- once selected, an incumbent product doesn’t almost automatically get re-selected again and again. There has to be something more in the equation to buy- like “truth told well.” That’s why this ad agency, with its worn shoe leather leader, has the insight to get buyers to buy more than once with your marketing budget. We know our mission statement has one extra word- “Create Lust • Evoke Trust” than McCann’s and that our promise to “Make you more money than you pay us” seem to come from the less is more school when compared to the mega-global agencies, but we still believe that “the consumer isn’t stupid, she’s your mother” (attributed to David Ogilvy) and that in all this social media mess of buzzwords and “new media” things haven’t changed much since Honest Abe.
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