Facebook Isn't Failing Marketers -- Marketers Are Failing Marketers
The reasons given are quite straightforward:
1. Facebook does not do enough to drive engagement between brand and its customers
2. Facebook isn’t good enough at pure advertising (display advertising) and to that end, is not leveraging its treasure trove of social data to serve people like me less ads for erectile dysfunction and weight loss remedies.
I like and respect Nate a lot, and I don’t want to turn this post into a critique or compliment of his bold position. Personally, I’m surprised it’s taken anyone this long to reach a conclusion that I’ve been fairly consistent on throughout my soapbox antics of the past few years: Facebook is not a media channel. It is the world’s largest and greatest “non-media” connection engine. I define non-media as humans connecting with other humans. In this case, humans posting and commenting on oodles and oodles of photos, wishing each other happy birthday, sympathizing on tragedy and celebrating triumph.
Unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped shoes, cans of soda or other inanimate objects from friending me -- and, in rare circumstances, where I absolutely LOVE a brand, it is dead set on downgrading my LOVE into “Like.”
So how on earth should we be expecting returns on our media dollars for a platform that is inherently non-media? Granted, Facebook should be doing a better job of doing the things which Nate says they aren’t doing or doing enough of. Overselling and under-delivering is never a viable or sustaining long-term practice. Nor is relying on mega-reach, which let’s be honest, is no better or worse than any broadcast network.
So I’m going to cut Facebook some slack here and put the blame squarely on marketers, who have performed a lazy and desperate Hail Mary by dumping most of their eggs (digital or analog) into the basket of Facebook.
Guess what, folks? Facebook is neither a panacea, nor a false prophet (profit?) There’s a reason all the early Facebook success stories centered around Arab Springs, bone marrow transplants and cancer survivor stories, as opposed to tired ways for Pepto-Bismol to get you to like them.
For the most part, marketers have been unimaginative, uninspiring, lazy, predictable, traditional, boring and one-dimensional when it comes to their Facebook presence. Where is all the inventiveness, innovation, creativity or originality?
I can’t help but reincarnate my favorite booster pastime, Second Life. It appears brands do equally poorly when it comes to too much reach, as it does with not enough.
Facebook is a non-media platform when it comes to consumers connecting with other consumers, but it is also a non-media rental property, which is great for timeshare, but not exactly the place you want to grow old in and pass down to future generations. Marketers have bet the farm on a third-party middleman -- and in doing so, settled for a subservient tenant relationship. The problem here is that when every brand on this planet is doing likewise, the collective bar is lowered and the result is a bottom-feeder quagmire of clutter and mediocrity.
So here’s my message to marketers: Before you lament your lack of results on Facebook, reflect on your own inefficiencies and inadequacies; challenge yourselves to take some risks and venture out of your comfort zones before you point the finger elsewhere. By all means, take Facebook to task for their laziness and challenge them to raise their standards, but remember you will always be nothing but a transient tenant if you continue to rent media and lease attention.
By the way, if I generalized or stereotyped at all in this piece, I just took a leaf out of your marketing playbook.