Facebook privacy concerns may scupper their advertising

From an advertising perspective Facebook is a dream. With the data it has no it’s members it can offer a very accurate behaivoural targetting of it’s ads. And Facebook has made a great success of it. Whilst it was struggling to make money last year, in 2010 their advertising revenue has sored. Comscore measured Facebook as offering over 16% of all ad impressions online.
However, to the Facebook member, behavioural targetting, and more importantly, privacy issues are not a dream, but actually a nightmare. Many of the recent changes in profile status etc are aimed at improving FBs appeal to advertisers. This blog here, expresses some of those concerns. We may see a situation where FB is loosing as many members as it gains with it’s changes to their privacy and user settings. And I’m not making it up. Look at the huge traffic surge on wikiHow on how to delete a Facebook account.
Long term, if I was Facebook I’d be worried.

Too much information?

The thing that never ceases to amaze me is how much information people are willing to give out on social media. Top of the list for me is FourSquare, and here’s why:
I asked a number of random people to be my friend. A few (around 10%) accepted. I clicked on the profile of one woman who seemed quite active. In there it gave me her twitter account, email address and mobile phone number (just click to call!!!). The link to her Twitter account gave me where she works and her job title. Even more handy was the map showing her house (and of course, with FourSqaure I know whether she’s in or not). And even know what she had for lunch.
What I find fascinating about all this is that in spite of mobile being the most personal of channels, when it comes to social media many people are happy to offer up personal information by the bucket load. Maybe this world is much safer than I cynically believe, but frankly that is a hell of a lot of information to give out to a random stranger!!!

Twitter acquires Cloudhopper: new opportunities for mobile marketing?

Twitter announced yesterday that it is to acquire start up company, Cloudhopper. This will enable the micro blogging site to provide users with the facility to send tweets directly to mobile phones by SMS or MMS. Twitters move seems to be to allow anyone to interact with their platform even without an internet connection. Besides the huge potential to significantly increase the Twitter user base, it could also create a brand opportunity to send tweets as text messages directly to their followers phones. It will require brands to carefully work out their engagement strategy for it to work for them … and in the meantime Twitter will have to work out its revenue strategy.

Twitter using SMS to help brands to connect to users

A news report this week explained how a trial, run by a third party, on Twitter has allowed brands to connect with users through SMS.
Having read the article I can honestly say that I don’t really understand what the service is or how it works! The principle seems to be that it uses mobile marketing to get users to connect to their Twitter feed. But, if the service is unclear, who will use it?

In a month long trial the company claims that brands had an increase of between 66% and over 3,000% in user uptake. Of course, they didn’t say what the starting point was for each brand.

Apparently a major brand has now signed up for the full advertising service.

But I’m still confused! What’s the revenue model – ie who is paying for it and who is making the money? The companies involved haven’t said. I presume it’s the brands that pay for the advertising, but I am not convinced of the benefit. OK, more people sign up to your feed. Fair enough. But that in itself does not bring business. It comes back to my long-standing issue with social media, and Twitter in particular. I do not believe they are advertising media. Twitter itself has no commercial model (yet), and advertising is not welcomed by its users. Social media sites are good places for users to engage with brands, give feedback and for other CRM activities, but I don’t see it as a sales channel. I would love someone to show me where brands have achieved measurable sales from social media.

Personally I don’t see how this new Twitter service will take off.

Marketing and Mobile Social Media

I have just completed a webinar on Mobile marketing and mobile social media.

Not an easy subject to talk on. Talking about mobile marketing campaigns is easy. That is my area of expertise. Social media, fine. Not my greatest area of expertise, but I know enough about it. Mobile social media? Well what is there to say about it? OK, Facebook has 65million of it’s 250million subscribers accessing through their mobile phones. That’s quite interesting. Orange’s Exposure 2 study also showed that many people are accessing social media through their phones.

What about mobile specific social media? Whilst there are many dedicated sites, they are tiny in their usage. The most successful ones are essentially dating sites.
So what about marketing in mobile social media? Hmm. There really isn’t alot to say because it just isn’t happening.

One problem is that social media, is having trouble making money. Facebook has only just turned a profit and that is way out, the largest social networking site out there. Myspace is loosing money, and Twitter has no revenue at all!

When it comes to mobile, the advertising opportunities in social media are limited. Facebook doesn’t have any on it’s mobile site, and again, Twitter doesn’t have any at all. The best way that brands can engage is through customer relationship and reputation management. Southwest Airlines are an excellent example of this. They have a team to look for dissatisfaction and contact those people to resolve the problem. But that is not specifically a mobile issue, that is just brands engaging well with all social media.

So, what is the answer for marketing in mobile social media? I really don’t know!