Monday, August 29, 2011

The Size Phallacy

Yes. Phallic. It is the perfect intro to this post. There is this hypnotic haze that clouds people's minds and you can lift that haze with pure logic. 

We have this view that huge, mega, market leader, invincible in one niche or market as a guarantee of success in other markets or niches. Why do we assume Google or Apple should be able to succeed with Social? Or Microsoft with so many Windows machines and war chest own the mobile screen too? Or Facebook will succeed with Deals or Location Based Services or Commerce?

Take a company and peel back their skin what is their core product/niche they own. Very few own more than one. Almost none own more than 2. In fact it would be an incredibly rare success for a company to pull off more than 2 massive successes. So the chances of what everyone assumes, such as with 700mil accounts Facebook has to succeed in monetizing this group, even in the face of all their failures. Look at Google's failures. Wave. G Phone.etc. Or the fact Microsoft got into mobile years and years ago seeing the future and yet failed to achieve their goals. Apple tried social.

Get that Phallic Mindset out of your head!

It is rare a Company actually can say 'I am so big I can crush you' see Microsoft IE vs Netscape case study. Notice Microsoft can't do that with Mobile. Get out of that mindset. Look for what is BEST IN CLASS and not what is BIGGEST IN CLASS. It is more likely Facebook will never succeed with Deals, Places, better Digital Ad Targeting, Monetization etc. They excel at growing their user base that likes to share some photos and stay in touch with little snippets of worthless information. They rock at that! But what else do they rock at? Not much.

And we all know that it is rare to have a massive dominator (Google Search v Bing)  vs many competitors. But even with search Google sees cracks in their dominance. Microsoft's browser dominance is over. And Facebook is experiencing this too now. Life Cycle is short in Social.

And that is good and ok. If you put all your eggs in Facebook you need to move some out. Look at the big picture. Continuously seek better ways to market, platforms that work, technologies that look promising that will help you achieve your goals.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Social Tuesday - Why does everyone use the Facebook 750Mil user number?

This is the biggest load of horse shit ever. They never say how many people you can reach today on Facebook. They say there is 750mil users. Well considering in the US the average user logs in 23 times a month. And of course many people log in more than once. So there are many heavy users. And many more casual users. You can't reach casual users. There are maybe 25 million active US users on Facebook today doing something. 1 in 10 US Consumers.


What is your business? Unless you are a media company most of the users are never ever going to be customers. If you are a small business, say a restaurant in Albany, NY or Des Moines, IA what does 750 million users mean to you? It means less than Diddly Squat!

As a small business, the type of business will determine the radius for potential customers. And the number of Facebook users in that radius is all that matters. And guess what? That data DOES NOT EXIST! Well I bet Facebook will give you some data if you want to buy Facebook Ads. But they will not give you that data if your strategy is a Brand Page. How do you know how many people you can possibly connect with on Facebook that can be customers? For MOST Businesses your street sign and store front will always out perform anything you do on Facebook. ALWAYS!

If I see another presentation or media material from a Social Media Agency, Guru, Mashable, etc saying 'With 750 Million Users.....' I am going postal and showing up at their offices and throwing dog poop on their desk because that is what they are dog poop for lying. Because I hear small business owners throwing these numbers around casually like they actually mean something to them.

Do you ship to Pakistan? Mongolia? No? Then why do you want to reach those users in those countries? And the only way you can reach people on Facebook really is with Facebook ads which are more expensive and perform 50% less successfully than traditional digital ads. And guess what? The average Facebook user spends only 31 minutes a day on the site. Down from 55 mins in April 2010. Why is that important? A digital ad network can reach people online during the 87.5% of their 4 hours online or on Mobile. While Facebook can only reach people on Facebook.

Think about it!

BTW Dear Bob Hoffman the Ad Contrarian. I am sorry. I can not believe I just supported Digital Advertising but over Facebook and Facebook kicks ass!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Time is the Bane of all Marketers and Brands

You are not that important. Get over it. Really. Get over it. The quicker you deflate your Brand Ego the quicker you can really focus on making sales. I wrote about this in December. Time to revisit. LINK

The fact is we have 24 Hours in a day. In that day we will with work, sleep, eating, socializing, etc. All sorts of activities. As a Brand whether online or off line you are competing for people's attentions. Yes much of marketing forces their way into your face. TV Commercials. Bill Boards. Direct Mail (even if you don't open the mail you see who sent it to you).

Meanwhile you have businesses like Facebook, Vitrue / Likeable, Social Media Agencies, Social Media Guru's who tell you where people are spending their time and that you can reach them there. This is a flat out lie obviously. You can't reach people on Facebook. You can reach a small number on the Twitter. People don't want to see you. They don't want to talk about your coffee or your car on your terms. They want it on their terms. End of story.

It is really hard when companies like Facebook and Mashable bullshit people out their ass with crooked numbers. 700 million users on Facebook? That is the biggest crock of shit since crocks of shits came into existence. To be included in that number you need to log in 1 time for less than 1 minute during a 30 day period. Facebook refuses to say how many only log in once. Or twice. How much time most people spend. Because it hurts their brand and their IPO efforts. I have deducted by number crunching that less than 20% of all Facebook users are responsible for 85% of all time spent and content sharing. In fact for every 2 people who log in today there will only be one action taken (Status Update, Like, Comment). So obviously if one person takes two actions, 3 people then take no action.

In June I covered this using the numbers from Compete: Why Math Really Hurts Facebook

I like to tell clients to do two easy things to bring them back down to earth. To prove we don't give a flying shit about 99% of Brands on Social Media (unless we are pissed and need to call them out).

1] Spend the day noting all the brands in your life that day. I bet it is way over 100. From your clothes, to food, to businesses you patronize, TV/Entertainment you consume, Websites you visit, News Outlets, etc etc etc.

They all want to talk to you right now. How many do you want to talk to today or this week? 1? 4? 8? I bet I just maxed you out. So what makes you so special that out of 100+ brands in someone's day that you are so special? There is a reason the average person only engages actively with 4 Brands via Social Media in their life.

2] Secondly and even more important. Go through your day today and observe all your activities then start ranking them in importance. Then figure out where 'Engaging with Brands via Social Media' is going to fall. Guess what? Possibly Dead last. Right above sweeping out the garage but right below scratching that itch on your ankle.

Let's make a list:

Sleep. Work. Eating. Reading News. Watching TV/Movies. Playing Video Games. Going to the Gym. Chatting with friends or family on the phone, text or email. Shopping. Chatting with friends and family via Social Media. Sports/Hiking etc. Cooking. Reading a Book. Sex. Partying. Travel. Listening to Music. Showering. Brushing my teeth. Getting dressed. 

All of this takes priority in my life over 'Engaging with Brands via Social Media'. You will never capture but a small % of your customers and potential customers. This does not mean ignore them or don't use the platforms. This means you need a reality check and figure out the real value and how to use these platforms. They work. But not in the way Facebook, Mashable, the Vitrue's and Likeable's, the VC's and the Social Media Guru's are telling you they will.

Don't believe me still. Spend your day asking everyone you meet how many brands they engaged with today via social media. I bet most say 1 or less.

We just don't have the time for your Brand on Social Media. We will buy your product. We will go to your website and shop or browse. We will go to your store and shop or browse. We will watch/consume marketing that is forced on us (or at least zone out like during boring commercials). But we don't have time for you on Social Media. THIS WILL NOT CHANGE! So get over it. 

Focus on having a great product, service, quality etc at the right price point, delivering something people need or want.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Where Klout Fails

Obviously Klout has done a superb job of being the defacto measurement for online influence. But often I think they miss out on a lot of reality because they are only measuring such a teeny fraction of online behavior.

But recently when comparing my 50 Klout score to three Klout rock stars with 75, 77, and 82 respectively I found something very interesting. If you look at gross numbers they have far superior numbers to me. But as if you take mentions, retweeters, and retweets as a percentage of followers I have better numbers.

Meaning a higher percentage of my network is doing something in reaction to my tweets and participation with them than some Uuber Klout people. So while my network is smaller. I have much more significant Influence on my network than they have on theirs.

75 Klout

 This network has 13.8x more followers than me

77 Klout

This network has 5.3x more followers than me

82 Klout

This network has 15.4x more followers.

Just take my numbers and multiply it by these numbers and you will see 
my influence on my network in general is greater than their influence on theirs.
The point of this exercise is to have you think deeper about what is influence and just maybe the higher the score does not mean higher the influence. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Mobile Monday - For APPS - Design Design Design!

I really hate blogging out of frustration.

I recently had my Droid2 die of electrical failure. While it was only 11 months old Verizon is fighting the warranty, which is really a Motorola issue. Previously I had brought it in to Verizon because it was buggy and they had me reboot. That kind of worked. And I was amazed all my APPs reloaded on their own. WTG Verizon.

The real issue with the Droid2 is Apps run without your permission and you can not turn them off. Sucks battery power and memory. Well I learned that for a new phone your APPs do not all auto download. Good news is you can purge the dead unused APPs and start fresh. I love News APPs. I use BBC and Huffington Post all the time. They are solid APPs.

So I found two new ones I wish to use as examples of what not to do. The LA Times APP and the Guardian UK APP.

The LA Times:

Really nice APP. In general it formats to the screen nicely and even has a setting to increase the font size. But it fails in the most important of all the functions for a News APP. The sharing feature. I say this because the APP is Free. I can read all the LA Times for free. Yes they have an AdMob banner ad and right now I see it is for Chase but that is not the same as Print. Not the same for the Web Version (though on the Web Firefox users can block all Ads). The trick with News APPs is sharing. If I share the article and it pops up a link anyone who clicks get's taken to the LA Times Website. This gives them a chance as display revenue and possibly convert new readers to come back.

Here is the failure: 

First it does not include the LA Times Twitter Handle in the Tweet automatically. This is a big fail and they are missing an easy way to earn new followers. Secondly is if I want to type anything added to the tweet when I open my keyboard it does not rotate to match horizontal. Seriously, it stays fixed so you are typing on one plane and the box is vertical. Lastly there is no send button. I have to do it from the keyboard. All that money spent and they have a huge fail in my view.

Next is the Guardian UK:

Their APP geez where do I start. First off it requires downloading. Why? I have no idea. No other news APP requires me to download the issue. The are all cloud based. This is very bizarre and shame on the 3rd Party Designer or Agency. But now it get's even more bizarre. It loads articles for the Web not Mobile. So when fit to the screen the font is so small you can not read it! Yes a News APP that you can't read! So what is their solution? You get to open it in the Browser which then it is formatted perfectly. Which brings me to my next question. Why not have the articles automatically open in the browser then? And why do you not have a settings option for this?

On a positive note the Guardian does have an excellent Share Feature which it uses the Droid Software for. But if I can't read an article how do I know I should share it?

So basically two very good news companies are hamstringing themselves with their mobile APP. If an APP is hard to use or frustrating you will not use it.

What APPs are you frustrated with or have major design flaws?