Thanks to Dylan Fuller who, over in the Local Search Summit on LinkedIn drew my attention to this article. It seems that P&G are no longer interested in running advertising on Facebook. Ted McConnell, GM of Interactive marketing over at Proctor and Gamble said:
“I have a reaction to [Facebook] as a consumer advocate and an advertiser: What in heaven’s name made you think you could monetize the real estate in which somebody is breaking up with their girlfriend?”
Now there’s a hefty dose of rhetoric about the circumstances that McConnell describes, but the point is clear: he sees Facebook (and their peers) as C2C communications, not media opportunities. He feels it is arrogant to interrupt it.
I’m unsurprised by this reaction – and I tend to agree that banners on FB are not the way forward. But it’s nothing new. After all, ad placements have funded Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail, Gmail …. for years – and often quite successfully.
But it’s the placements that occur outside the composition and reading of the emails that works best – i.e. the log-on or log-off pages, or the pages that confirm an email has been sent in the old style webmail accounts. Which is logical: you’re not interrupting someone in the middle of another conversation.
Several years ago, when I was at Yahoo!, I devised a campaign for Vodafone that was deliberately designed to sit inside these types of C2C interactions. There was an obvious relevance to such a campaign that fitted with the creative tone. However, these types of campaigns have always been the exception rather than the rule.
Historically advertisers have been shy of placing brand sensitive advertising near user generated content. The risk of negative association has been deemed too great. Imagine, placing your family friendly cereal brank ad next to content that celebrates gore or porn. Not an attractive proposition.
Meanwhile the low responsiveness of such placements have made the inventory generated on UGC amongst the most commodotised online.
So what is a social network to do?
Invent a new model, is what. Old skool advertising is (Sandlines believes) never going to be the way forward for such businesses. They need to figure out a way of converting the obvious engagement they build with their user communities into a commercial proposition. And the starting point to that is to consider where the exchange of value can occur that benefits all parties: the community members, the marketer – and of course the network owner.
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