Thursday, 21 August 2008

more fragments


Why is advertising in social media not really working out? Because of a silent assumption that got forgotten in the move from trad to new media.

You can deploy car and beer spots during football matches; ads for age-defying cream and Heat during How to Look Good Naked; stuff for DIY during Grand Designs...I could go on.

And this makes a lot of sense. By knowing what your audience is like you can be more selective and hope your ad is hitting a bigger group for whom it is more relevant, rather than just splattering it randomly across the schedule.

This model has been carried across to the Internet, with superb success for Google who worked out how to automate the process with AdSense.

However, one of the things the traditional model never had to worry about was what the audience were doing. It didn't have worry because it knew: they were listening to something, or watching a show, or standing on the Tube, or whatever.

Because the model had this silent assumption when it was transferred to the new medium it got forgotten. The hidden fragment got left behind.

What are the audience doing online?

When people use Google, they're looking for information. When they use Amazon, they're buying (or researching). The ads are working here because people want information, it's welcome if its good enough.

When they use Facebook (or any other social media) they're expressing, communicating and interacting with others (being social not being cognitive). The same ads aren't working here for the same reason you'd be a bit miffed if someone marched into the pub, dropped a sausage in your pint, yaddered on about how delicious they are and, by the way, how they are half-price at the moment.

So what people are doing online is probably as important for click-through rates as who they are.

I haven't thought about specific examples yet for social networks, but essentially companies selling in this space should assist with communication and expression, not clutter it.

The Internet isn't one medium, it's fragmented media - and not just by who, but why what.

No comments: