Mar 3, 2008

Your Facebook App Is Not My Friend

There's a fantastic article about Facebook in BusinessWeek (of all places) that David Armano tipped me off to on Twitter just now. It contains a review of about a dozen branded Facebook widgets, done by Armano himself, Sarah Hofstetter from 360i and Eric Weaver from Brand Dialogue. (NB: Their reviews are in the pop-up slideshow at the bottom of the page)

For those of us familiar with social media, it's vindication, plain and simple. All the things we've been telling people these past few years, laid out in plain English. (Example: Hofstetter notes that "when a branded version goes up against an identical nonbranded app without an extra value or nuance attached to it, nonbranded will win every time.")

But for those of you working at the agencies that consistently push these kinds of solutions-- and for the clients who aid and abet them-- this is a must-read article that explains the common sense reasons why Your Brand Is Not My (Facebook) Friend™ and why the mere act of making a Facebook app does not guarantee success. You've got to understand the medium before you use it.

Fortunately, in the case of Facebook, that's not all that difficult an assignment.


Lunar BBDO said...

Funny. Just before I read your post I put the new Indiana Jones trailer on my blog. When I looked for it on Youtube I instantly rejected the branded trailer even though it was the first one I found. I didn't even think about it.

And yet, thinking about it a little more, the trailer I put up had all the usual Youtube branding (of course) but again, I didn't even think about it, and I didn't mind.

Maybe Youtube is a Prom King (tm) brand.

Alan Wolk said...

We love it when our catch phrases are used by other people. Even more so when they remember to use the little ™ thing.

I've found myself doing the same thing-- rejecting the branded spot because somehow it seems less authentic. And I agree that YouTube is becoming a Prom King™ brand. I'll be curious to see where they take the franchise-- I read somewhere today that they are planning on introducing live video sometime before the end of the year.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that Business Week article proves anything, except that branded content from some brands always has an uphill battle for acceptance, be it websites, short films, apps or whatever, compared to non-branded content.

If a big brand spends $10k to develop a branded facebook app that is eventually installed on 50,000 profiles, and let's assume each profile has an average of 20 friends that see it, either on the profile or in the minifeed, that means for a 10k total investment, they get 50k brand adorers championing their brand, and perhaps a million impressions.

I've seen worse failure in marketing.

Alan Wolk said...

@Steve: I'm not following your reasoning. The 50,000 installs you reference would be quite the success story as per me and as per the article. The "failures" the Business Week article reference have literally 1/100th of that. To wit:

"What Obnoxious Traveler Are You?, launched on Jan. 29, fared considerably worse, and has garnered only 500 installations as of Feb. 26."

Anonymous said...

I would have to check again, but I thought some of the apps referenced had installs of 25-35k to date.

Anonymous said...

Something to consider also is how many more apps die a painful death for each one that gets decent install numbers. Even so, install still isn‘t the same as daily use. Lotta people install things but never use them. (I installed a bunch which I’ve now taken off.)