Advertisers don’t belong on Facebook…

Advertisers don’t belong on Facebook, says Ted McConnell, Digital Guru at P&G.

Social networks may never find the ad dollars they’re hunting for because they don’t really have a right to them.

he continues. A provocative statement made to the Digital Non-Conference, a program by Cincinnati’s Digital Hub Initiative. His feeling is, that most social network activity is rather private in nature:

„I have a reaction to that as a consumer advocate and an advertiser,“ he said. „What in heaven’s name made you think you could monetize the real estate in which somebody is breaking up with their girlfriend?“

These private conversations are, well, private. But these ads are just as obtrusive as all the advertising in the pub your spending your time with your friends at. We’re used to having social interactions in surroundings covered with advertising. We just don’t want to be interrupted or bothered by it. Most facebook advertising isn’t interrupting. It’s small banner ads on the side of the screen, which I, quite frankly, rarely notice.

And while we talk about moving into places that are largely made up of consumer generated media, he states:

Consumers weren’t trying to generate media. They were trying to talk to somebody. So it just seems a bit arrogant. … We hijack their own conversations, their own thoughts and feelings, and try to monetize it.“

True, but I guess most marketers don’t want to buy regular adspace for the very reason that most people will not notice (nor click) it. So, if they could find more interesting, more effective ways to leverage these communities – e.g. by providing something of more added value, they would happily try it. Like the little ad supported postcards you get in most german pubs. They are widely accepted and people look forward to looking at them every time they pass by the little postcard rack on their way to the rest rooms.

These added value things could be, for example, small applications that enrich your social network profile:

He cited Facebook applications as a potentially valuable vehicle for advertisers, one in which they can create an environment that’s favorable for their brands and consumers alike.

Facebook Apps are just one things. Groups, product profiles, etc. are other possibilities. Imagination and social skills are key to finding these new value adders for social networks…

10 principles for consumer generated ad campaigns

Pete Blackshaw and Max Kalehoff have put together a list of 10 principles for ad campaigns leveraging consumer generated content, which are, in short:

1. Connect The Program To Larger Business Goals
2. Keep It Authentic
3. Be Transparent
4. Encourage Advocacy
5. Empower Syndication
6. Tap The Long Tail
7. Capture The Moment
8. Be Consistent
9. Embrace Criticism And Deprecation
10. Move From Campaign To Platform

You can find details to each point either here or here.

I particularly liked the points about making sure that whatever you do fits into a wholistic strategy, as well as making sure that you take the possible long term effects into consideration. With all the hype around this topic, I sometimes fear this tends to be neglected…