LESSON FOR MARKETERS
For small and medium-sized businesses, I absolutely LOVE the efficiency that comes with digital / social advertising. It's highly targeted, it's inexpensive and you control the costs. If it isn't already, it should be a part of your marketing efforts.
What are your success stories with digital advertising? What are the challenges you are still facing?
Advertising builds Brand Awareness. And you always need Brand Awareness. You need it when you're starting out and want to establish yourself, you need it when you're growing and want to steal customers from the competition, and you need it when you're the market leader (as Tim Hortons clearly is) and want to solidify your spot at the top.
LESSON FOR MARKETERS
To stop advertising when you feel like you don't want or need more customers is to make yourself vulnerable to those businesses that are trying to steal the ones you have.
What do you think? Is it a waste?
In my previous blog post, I listed the top 10 marketing highlights from 2015. In it, I (among other things) congratulate a brand -- Big Ass Fans -- that very cleverly poked fun at Kim Kardashian and her.... um.... well, let's leave it at that. Hoping that it might be an interesting post for business owners interested in marketing their business, I decided to post it on Facebook and boost the post with some advertising dollars. The image that I assigned to the Facebook post (shown above) was of her bare back (only!). According to Facebook's advertising guidelines, that was too much skin. I chose the image because my Facebook post described the blog post as "A look back at the marketing topics that are important...", and Kim Kardashian is looking back at the camera. See what I did there? Alas, the ad wasn't approved, and I had to change the Facebook post image to something far less clever.
It got me thinking, though, of the difference between Facebook and print media when it comes to marketing and advertising. On one hand you have Facebook who earned $16 billion in advertising revenue in 2015. On the other hand you have traditional print media (including magazines), who are suffering unprecedented declines in advertising revenue. This gives Facebook the flexibility and authority it needs to insist that advertising be done the proper way. This makes print media desperate for whatever ad revenue it can scrape together. Case in point: the Kim Kardashian image I am referring to is from a recent edition of Paper magazine who, as I'm sure you know, resorted to sexism for their cover photo and to full frontal nudity on the pages inside. It was clearly a desperate move to boost circulation, which would presumably attract advertisers.
Four thoughts on the matter:
LESSON FOR MARKETERS
Am I too much of a Facebook apologist? Am I overly critical of print?
Michael Sam, the first openly gay athlete to be selected in the NFL draft, wasn't fortunate enough to make the lineup of any NFL team. On Friday he found a home with the CFL's Montreal Alouettes.
The Huffington Post wrote about it and posted a link to their article on Facebook (image on the left), giving us the headline and the key information we needed to decide if we were interested in reading more or not. NFL.com, the click-baiters on the right, gave us nothing. They teased us, forcing (or baiting) us to click to find out which team signed him.
In the HuffPo example, they may not get as many clicks, but the click-throughs will be engaged readers, interested in all HuffPo has to say about this story. In the NFL.com example, they will get more clicks (probably the same number of engaged readers as with the HuffPo example, and a few more of the curious uninformed) which, presumably, allows them to sell advertising at higher rates. But at what cost?
In my case, I'm annoyed by NFL.com. They've given me so little information that I'm forced to click to get the basic information that I need. So annoyed in fact that I didn't click on that link. Instead, I continued down my Facebook feed and clicked on the HuffPo link to read the whole story.
LESSON(S) FOR MARKETERS
What do you think? Am I the anomaly? Is it worth it to annoy your readers to get more traffic? Comment below.
We've all had crappy friends.
Among the worst of our crappy friends is the friend that likes you when he needs something from you, but completely discards you when he doesn't.
Facebook needs you. They need your advertising dollars so they can please shareholders, so they roll out slick advertising apps that allow your business to target just the customers you want to target, and they make the pricing model very enticing. It really is a great advertising model that allows for real-time testing, tweaking, measurement and results.
But just as quickly as Facebook befriends you, they toss you aside. As Fast Company points out, your Facebook posts appear in the Feeds of your fans about 2% of the time. 2%. Unless you boost the post (give Facebook money to show it to people), brand posts are barely shown to anyone. Now you see how Facebook really feels about you. They don't really do anything for your business unless you have something to give them. Some friend.
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?
What do you think? Have you given money to Facebook? With any success? Are you succeeding without advertising? We'd love to hear your thoughts.
Teasing the social media audience just enough to compel them to click on the post to get the rest of the content promised in the tease.
I don't like it.
It's too antisocial.
Take the above Facebook example. "Unreal photobomb occurs at surf competition". The photo in the post is a stock image of an ocean. Wouldn't it make sense for the photo in the post about a photo to BE THE ACTUAL PHOTO?!
Instead, if we want to see the real photo, not the fake photo, we have to click through to the site. That's click-baiting.
The site wants traffic so it can capture the browser's interest in hopes of building brand association and loyalty. It also wants traffic so it can sell advertising on the site.
I get it.
Doesn't mean I have to like it.
Here's the antisocial part. They're using a social experience (in this case Facebook) for purely promotional means. They're engaging in tactics designed to boost revenue, within the social channel. That's not what the social channel is for! People already hate Facebook for the advertising they allow on the site (again, see image above), and now we add this advertising-tactic-in-disguise to the experience?
Imagine you're at a party and one of the guests says "Hey, I've got a great joke! But to hear it, you have to come to my place". That's bad social behaviour, and it's no different than click-baiting on social media.
What can we do about it? As social media participants we can ignore it, we can choose not to click, and we can accept the fact that it's happening. Web sites gotta make money, and they're going to use whatever means possible.
LESSON FOR MARKETERS
But as marketers, we can make change! Post the photo! Give away the content! Make your audience so happy to have immediate access to entertaining, enriching and enjoyable content that they will use THAT as the reason to engage with your site. Who knows, it may even be more effective than click-baiting in the first place!
What do you think? Is it a necessary evil for marketers starved for opportunities to engage with an audience? Or is it antisocial behaviour that needs to be combatted?
NOTE: Facebook is combatting this issue to the extent that they can. But it will be hard for them. Here's an article explaining their plan to stop... or at least diminish... click-baiting.
Facebook just rolled out a fairly significant change to users' home pages today.
This isn't the first time this has happened, nor will it be the last. However, this one feels different. It feels worse.
The primary difference in the redesign is the 'featured stories' emphasis. The prime real estate of the page is occupied by 'Recent Stories' and stories 'From Earlier Today". These 'stories' are posts from my friends and the Pages I Like that Facebook deems to be most interesting to me. Gone... or should I say pushed to the side... is the simple chronological feed of updates.
In the past I haven't made much of a deal about Facebook redesigns - there's a period of resistance and opposition, but eventually people get used to it and move on. But in this case things are different. Facebook has decided that it will decide what's important to me.
I'm not sure I like that.
How do they know what's important to me? And what gives them the right to show me just that? I'm sure they know a lot about what's important to me based on the Pages I Like, the comments I post, and other clues. But every once in a while I like to look at random things or read about topics that are new.
Before this redesign it was quite clear that Facebook was collecting these 'Top Stories' as they were called, but I had the choice to toggle between 'Top Stories' or 'Most Recent', and each was given the same amount of attention. Now, if I want the most recent, I have to scroll through the small, cramped window that's been dismissed to the corner.
Facebook, I don't agree with the liberties you have taken, nor with the implication that you know what I like.
I only wish there was something I could do about it.
What do you think? Am I overreacting? Will I just get used to the change like every one before this?
This blog is written by Glenn Cressman, Share Of Marketing's founder and Chief Share Builder (bio). It covers all things marketing. Feel free to comment!