Monday, August 06, 2007

Thoughts on Facebook and its advertisers

The Facebook fallout picked up speed and import over the weekend. I'm glad I got to it on Friday.

The UK's Central Office of Information has also decided to pull its ads from Facebook and social networking sites [sub required, Will Cooper story].

They don't say this is just because of the British National Party issue on Facebook but that's the implication. That's an interesting one because the COI is a government body and the BNP is, in theory, a legitimate political party.

The BNP will argue that it's not racist. In my opinion and in my definition of racism I find the BNP's policies to be racist. (Once again; my opinion.) For my American readers (I know I've some :P I've seen rustybrick and Lisa Barone on MyBlogLog) the BNP would ship foreigners out of the United Kingdom, the darker your skin the more quickly you would find yourself on the boat.

It shows just how unviable the BNP is as an election option if government bodies like the COI do not want to be associated with them.

It shows how bad for the economy it would be if the BNP makes inroads in the election if important companies like Vodafone do not want to be associated with them.

Anyway, back to Facebook. The onus is now on them (and other social sites) to try and apply some sort of filtering. This will be tricky. Filtering based on keyword content is possible ... but filtering based on principles? I wouldn't be that pleased to see adverts for any of my creations appearing beside Creationist propaganda or militant Scottish Independent content. I have no objections to adverts appearing in conjunction with religious or political content, though.

I think the advertisers are in a better position. Look at all this publicity!

If we were advising The AA, First Direct, etc, then I would encourage them back on to Facebook.

I would encourage them to run a banner campaign specific to Facebook, one that mentioned Facebook in the display and perhaps alongside like "Find out why Vodafone advertises on Facebook".

The banner points to a page which quickly surmises Vodafone's equal opportunities, ethical stance, beliefs and other positive light and brand building content. (Using Vodafone as the example here).

This page would then say, briefly, that they support social sites and value consumers who have something to say and something to share online. That's the chance to get to the reader and make them think "Hey, that's me! They think I'm smart. They like me." That's a good message to get into the head of a would-be customer.

As I'm search bias, I would also try and make this page even more linkbait than it already is (right now it would be publicity linkbait). I would go to include something like an electronic petition which readers can sign or email the link to a friend to ... well, whatever works best, a) anti-racism, b) pro-consumer, etc. Alternatively, the page could give a way badges (static widgets) that simply conveyed a positive message (All humans are equal, etc) and the badge/widget would link back to this page.

A key here would be to see how much of this "special campaign" that the brands could get free or discounted from Facebook. That would certainly add to the ROI. That's why including a pro-Facebook message would certainly help.

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