Monday, October 1, 2012

Ideas are cheap. Here are a few for Facebook.

Facebook made a blog post about joint study with Datalogix showing that clicks don't really matter when it comes to Facebook ads.  What matters more instead, Brad Smallwood says, is number of times it's shown to unique users at optimal interval.

Facebook Director of Pricing and Measurement, Brad Smallwood, basically says
to trust Facebook and Datalogix because they know how ad works on Facebook.
Don't know you, but it doesn't sound like a winning strategy...
Here is the Facebook's problem.  Marketers are comparing Facebook ads with Google Adwords.  Although Facebook ads are in different category all together, marketers are used to dealing with and understands Google Adwords model.  The key difference between ads from two sites come from what users are looking for when they visit the sites.

Users come to Google to look for something, whereas users come to Facebook to catch up with their friends.  Many more users are open to discovering new things when they visit Google than Facebook.  As Susan Lyne summed it up, 'selling things on Facebook is like selling things in a bar.'

So here are some cheap ideas to solve this problem:

1. Don't sell ads.  Sell virtual goods.

Marketers are still confused about how to use Facebook ads as customer acquisition tool much like Google Adwords.  Why try to change it when they are not ready?  Accept the fact that they don't get it yet, and move on to selling virtual goods to users.  An early pioneer in social network, Cyworld, and Zynga built lucrative business model on top of selling animated gifs.

2. Sell Premium services.

Another option is to sell differentiated services to users.  It does not have to come with additional features like LinkedIn's Business account.  It could be an opt-out option from annoying ads.

3. If going to sell ads, feature only the best ads.

That leads me to another idea.  If marketers want to sell flexible customized ads, why not let them?  Don't let them be constrained by Facebook standards.  After all if Facebook were to get marketer's money, they have to cater to their customers.  Let them create funny and interesting ads that people are willing to watch, and compete for user's attention.  Each ad can have up or down vote, and allow people to share them for additional credit.  Uninteresting ads perish, while catchy ads go viral.

4. Sell it to enterprises.

Enterprises are adopting social largely because of Facebook.  MSFT Yammer, Salesforce Chatter, Jive, and IBM Connections are all thriving thanks to Facebook.  Why not go direct to enterprises?  As the default platform where people learn how to use social collaboration tool, it can become the next collaboration platform for enterprises who are looking for SaaS offering.

Ideas are cheap.  Executions are priceless.

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