Image via CrunchBase
I have argued against excessive reliance on social media; it is a stupid decision to hail Facebook and Twitter as the “next destination”. This is the problem with the marketing executives either from the mobile companies or handset manufacturers. For example, it’s not difficult to miss the blurb that accessing Facebook is “easy” by a “single click button”.
The experience on ground is different. Let’s assume, for a moment that there are over 600 million users. How many of them are active? What is the “engagement matrix” on the web site? What is the actual cost retrieved by
Image via CrunchBase
Facebook from it’s advertisers; i.e. how effective is advertising on the platform? Is social engagement really effective? I mean, it’s stupidity to see links from Facebook friends streaming in Bing (which has implemented the feature and live on to crow that they are up in the pissing game with Google).
If you dissect the issue further, accumulating a number of “likes” on the platform does not mean that it likely to translate into action. I was moved by this interesting blog post and they
Image via CrunchBase
gave explicit reasons why they are moving away from facebook hype: (emphasis mine)
1. The Facebook API changes too often. The plug-ins are buggy, the API changes without notice rather often, and there are too many rules constraining how developers can use the API in building applications. As a platform, it is unstable, period. ……
2. Facebook is overhyped. Personally, even though Facebook actually has 600 million active users, developers still tend to overestimate how many people actually 1) have a Facebook account, 2) use it regularly, and 3) are comfortable using it as a third-party authentication method. Many consumers across different niche markets are simply not familiar with how Facebook works; developing Facebook-only applications marginalizes this segment of users, who may be substantial in number.
3. Facebook is still mainly social for most, and exclusively social for some. We are still not completely convinced that Facebook can be an effective platform for any commercial activity…….Of all the new variants of ecommerce, the one that might actually take off is, in our view, mobile commerce.
More interestingly, Facebook and other industry “leaders” are opposing the proposed bill to protect the user’s privacy. I am not sure how this is going to pan out but this is good enough indication that some sense has dawned to protect the users from advertising onslaught.
California could force Facebook and other social-networking sites to change their privacy protection policies under a first-of-its-kind proposal at the state Capitol that is opposed by much of the Internet industry……social-networking sites would have to allow users to establish their privacy settings…
….like who could view their profile and what information would be public to everyone on the Internet – when they register to join the site instead of after they join. Sites would also have to set defaults to private so that users would choose which information is public
These measures would not apply to India or it’s privacy laws though I heard they have been tightened in recent times; the impact on end users has not been discussed.
There’s one more compelling reason to avoid reliance on Facebook; falling traffic. Countries that were on the path to early adoption is seeing a fall in the traffic (perhaps an indication of slow and waning interest).
The average decline over months has yet to become negative, though. There are other possible factors at work, too, such as bugs in the Facebook ad tool that we get this data from…. in order to identif the long-term directions here is crucial for planning how to capitalize on Facebook’s success, or lack thereof.
It is most likely to be argued that India would perhaps be a “fantastic growth opportunity” but is corporate gibberish. Even if the “dark populations” are lighted up, in absence of aggressive promotion of localized content, it is unlikely to see a massive expansion. It seems that most of the companies keep their “outposts” in India to hire cheap labor for “translation” efforts. It’s not a generalized statement, but thats the reality. Again, there is NO reliable data to break up the traffic specific to the sites or universally agreed metrics to track traffic to popular sites (however, Opera Mobile‘s stats are likely to be more reliable).
Where do we go from here? It is important not to rely completely on the “social aspect” of the net. It is a matter of time before it fades away for perhaps a better “personalized approach” (more so as semantic web matures and we have better ontology) to deal with. That also comes as a rider but there is no “perfect ideal approach”. This is something that the next generation access devices and advertising agencies should keep in mind before they can actually deliver better “value added services”.