Phil Johnson at PJA just wrote an interesting post for the Advertising Age Small Agency Diary blog, titled Facebook is Too Crowded and Your Analytics Aren’t Up to Snuff. He was encouraged by a previous rant from Peter Madden, who called Facebook a “freak show,” and assembled some of his own thoughts on social media and marketing. By the way, I absolutely loved Madden’s piece and emailed it to Mark immediately after reading it. We both had a good laugh, yet still eventually sighed in that “this guy’s totally right” kind of way.
In any case, Phil writes:
“The sacred cow is the belief that Facebook and Twitter are the premier platforms for this revolution. As those platforms become mainstream, marketers like us turn them into forms of traditional paid media and they become less valuable as social networks. Facebook is already starting to resemble a tacky mall cluttered up with unwanted advertising and promotional noise. As time goes on, I predict that people will want to protect their closest community of friends and will find ways to block out everyone else. They will leave mega networks for smaller, more focused communities. If you really care about the principles of social media, start looking for the next generation of platforms because as far as Facebook and Twitter go, the neighborhood is getting too crowded.”
I think he’s right about what’s happening due to the desire to use social networks for marketing, but I don’t think he’s right about what will happen to users as a result. Sure, the ways in which Facebook is getting spammy are truly annoying. Just today, the HubSpot blog posted questioning the “social actions” available to Facebook advertisers after “fans” of their Facebook page complained about being shown in HubSpot advertisements (you know the ones- so-and-so is a fan of such-and-such). But, I don’t think people are going to abandon Facebook as a result. I think Facebook will continue to give more privacy control to its users such that they won’t have to choose between being connected or being spammed. In fact, Facebook already gives its users the ability to avoid inadvertently “sponsoring” any companies or products, you just have to track down that privacy setting and enable it. Am I naive here?
Also, Phil also goes on to say, “Have mercy on the agency that goes into a new business pitch without a kick-ass measurement and analytic story.” For true, for true. On that note, check out our January newsletter, which will be all about how to use Google Analytics, which will come out this Thursday.