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Social Media Dilemma: The Post-Click Experience

At the OMMA event earlier this month we heard the message loud and clear -- engaging users through social media is the future of marketing. Publicis' VivaKi Managing Partner David Kenny indicated never in his career has he seen a more effective medium for building brand affinity. Panel after panel mentioned the value of social marketing.

Yet surprisingly few seemed to know how to ask the next question or take a next step Even Facebook, with its engagement ads, seems to be falling short.

Less than 10 minutes into the Cheryl Sandberg-led Facebook panel at Advertising Week, when asked what the next big thing will be on Facebook, what did the group of agencies on the panel say? Branded applications.

For a company that has worked with more than 20 Fortune 500 brands on social marketing campaigns, that was music to our ears.

Everyone is asking the same questions: What happens after a user clicks on my ad? What is the user experience AFTER the click?

Is the user taken to a page outside Facebook? That's where most ads go. The problem is that most users don't WANT to leave Facebook. So they come right back to where they were. And if you're lucky enough for them to stay, congratulations, but you've taken the user out of the environment where they're able to easily communicate and share your brand with their friends. What's social about that?

So instead, follow Facebook's advice and send them to a brand page.

But what does the user do on the page? How compelling is the post-click experience? Without some investment the user will likely see a rather generic page, hardly differentiated or strongly branded, with little to engage with. Hopefully the user becomes a "fan" of the brand, but why would the user return? How are users empowered to share brand messages with their friends? Has the page not only built brand awareness but grown brand affinity?

Or perhaps you take the plunge, follow the advice of VivaKi's Kenny and the agencies on Facebook's panel, and you build a branded application to engage users in a social context. The application is viral so users naturally share with friends. With the branded application the reach of the media buy is extended as each user shares with their friends, so even after the ads stop there is an active community of advocates sharing brand messages that not only build brand awareness but build brand affinity within their social circles.

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