Photo: Robert Scoble
Much of the scepticism surrounding Facebook has to do with doubts about its viability as a marketing platform.But let’s stop ignoring two crucial facts:
- Facebook is actually an incredibly valuable marketing platform. John Coleman, CEO of The VIA Agency recently told us that Facebook’s “platform” – the free stuff, like brand pages – is an “integral” part of his clients’ marketing campaigns. A new ComScore study suggests that’s smart. Peter Kafka summarizes one key point from the report: “Facebook users who saw Starbucks messaging in their newsfeed saw a 38 per cent “lift” in the purchase frequency – that is, visiting a store and buying something — over users who didn’t see the ads.”
- The people running the company haven’t figured out a way to capture that value yet. Coleman says his agency spends a lot of money on advertising that drives traffic to Facebook; he just doesn’t spend any of this money on Facebook ads. “We’ll use Facebook for apps and other engagement but we’re using other [paid] media to drive that.” The fact is, the world’s marketing apparaturs is slowly coming to depend on Facebook. Facebook just hasn’t properly figured out a way to tax that business for the privelege. Who knows: the answer might be as simple as charging for-profit brands with more than 1 million likes a massive quarterly fee.
One final point: There is some value in Facebook’s ability to capture its users’ attention and sell some of it to marketers. But Facebook’s greatest value in the long run will be that 900 million people use it as their online identity in the process of communicating, transacting, gaming, and sharing in the digital realm. If Facebook doesn’t blow it, that’s a resource more valuable than oil.