Social media seems to get all the attention nowadays. From TV commercials to radio and everything in between, businesses both small and large are seeming to push their social media sites on consumers at an almost annoying pace. Being told to “find us on facebook” or “follow us on twitter” is something everyone is used to hearing and many companies actually favor promoting their social media sites over their actual websites. But why is all the focus on facebook?
Facebook is huge, especially over the last 2 years as it blazed past MySpace to take the lead as the most popular social networking platform with over 500 million active users, making the facebook community the 3rd largest country in the world. Reports show that many of those users log in multiple times a day to interact with friends both local and abroad, which definitely offers a good chance for businesses to gain the attention of their target market at little or no cost. But what can a business really offer to those who befriend them on facebook? Well, updates for one – and lot’s of them. But typically, most of those updates always end up pointing to the website of that company anyways. So the conclusion is simple – facebook is a great tool for generating extra leadsto a website in an attempt to create brand awareness or sell their products or services. And of course, if done correctly, it works.
But is the thrill of social media and the “liking” of a facebook page just a fad? Will people begin to be annoyed by the continual bombarding of their profiles with updates from businesses trying to push products? Only time will tell; or maybe it already has.
Facebook recently announced the introduction of Titan, a next-generation email service combining SMS and instant messaging capabilities that according to facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg “handles messages seamlessly across all the ways you want to communicate”. Could this be a sign that facebook sees a future where social media becomes less popular or is it just another attempt to monopolize all platforms of communication? Is facebook making an early attempt to create a stronghold on its users before they wander off? It’s a good question.
As the popularity of facebook has soared to new heights, so has advertising. But some companies are seeing a decline in the return they are receiving from advertising with facebook. Many smaller businesses are suspecting favoritism of facebook towards big spenders due to ad rejection and surprisingly low click rates. Some are claiming that when directing ads to offsite URLs, they are showing less than 30% of supposed click-throughs actually appearing as page visits to the site. A handful (or maybe a few hundred handfuls) of advertising firms seem to swear that facebook advertising is useless for anything than to gain “likes” from users. Some are showing independent tests yielding a repetitive ROI of less than .02% – and these are experienced marketers using proven methods of tracking.
Is facebook ahead of their own game? Do they know that they can’t make money with advertising forever as it begins to feel more like spam while numbing the message of the ad? Are they creating this new email system to lure in users so when certain users decide not to frequent facebook as often they will still be presented with ads via Titan? Nobody knows for sure. However, with the current questions regarding facebook privacy, it may not be the wisest idea to compound all of your personal information into a “do it all” communication platform such as Titan.
While it could pose a threat to gmail and yahoo mail, there’s no telling if Titan will be a hit with users. One thing is for sure – facebook is popular, and it’s probably not going anywhere anytime soon. But just like MySpace, it can only remain the biggest and baddest for so long.