There has been a lot of criticism of Facebook lately, mostly because a general manager of interactive promotion at Proctor and Gamble said, “I really don’t want to buy any more banner ads on Facebook.”
P&G, the world’s advertising leader, made a bold statement about Facebook. They tested Facebook’s sales pitch–that consumers can “interact” with brands via applications and pages. Conclusion? Not so positive.
Proponents of Facebook like using words such as conversation, dialogue, interaction, etc. Yet, I have not witnessed any promotion that has successfully had a “dialogue” with consumers that translates into conversions.
Example: Crest White Strips
Total engagements: 870 wall posts (30 per month), <100 discussion board posts.
Example: Bank of America, America’s Cheer
Total Engagements: <200 discussion posts
Dialogue? Conversation? To pay for the creative-build and maintenance, I estimate the cost per interaction well over $1. Also, consider the number of fans for the crest campaign:
The promotion began in fall 2006, when P.& G. invited Facebook members in 20 college campus networks to become Crest Whitestrips “fans” on the product’s Facebook Page. Facebook said it was a great success, attracting 14,000 fans.One could argue, however, that with the additional enticements that Crest provided — thousands of free movie screenings, as well as sponsored Def Jam concerts — a brand of hemorrhoid cream could have attracted a similar number of nominal “fans.” (via NY Times)
Why the lack of conversation? I believe it has a lot to do with the structure. Facebook pages are walled gardens–having a discussion on a Facebook page requires constant maintenance–it’s like chatting through blog posts rather than AIM or Gchat–not so efficient.
Thought Experiment: should a Laundry Detergent brand (i.e., Tide Ultra 2x) use Facebook Pages?
“ I have been saying these things for two years now…no one wants to be a friend of laundry detergent. I don’t care what you do, what you say, what you give me…I am never going to be friends with a cleaning liquid. BUT I AM GOING TO BUY THE PRODUCT…I LIKE CLEAN CLOTHES. ” (via Lotame Learnings)
If you’re going to have “discussion” or “dialogue,” it probably should not be centered around selling a product or advertising a sweepstakes/promotion. Would you post on a discussion board or wall for promotion of Tide Ultra 2x? I cannot think of a compelling reason.
Successful brand conversations, however, are occuring at record pace, especially on Twitter. Comcastcares should be a role-model for successful consumer engagement. Comcast does not focus on converting customers or engaging users in a sweepstakes, but rather seeks out customers already vocalizing their opinions of comcast through blogs, tweets, accounts, etc. Until Facebook understands this level of corporate engagement and builds the neccessary structure (i.e., something better than “Fan Pages”), I’ll stay short on Facebook.