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Diminishing Interest in Facebook?

Marketing, Social Media

I can feel it in the air and in the conversations I’m having with Facebook users, marketers, and investors. The glow is off, and Facebook is losing its coolness factor, and becoming mainstream. And with mainstream comes the questions that were recently considered blasphemous. Remember that Facebook was to be the biggest IPO the world had ever seen. Its growth would be unending, and the ability to reach audiences unprecedented.

Now comes a story from E-marketer titled “Marketers Lessen Focus on Facebook Compared to Rest of Web”. Marketers are diversifying away from a single-minded focus on Facebook. One reason is the same as what Michelle Paul and I argued in our book Breaking the Fifth Wall: Rethinking Arts Marketing for the 21st Century-- that finding a specific ROI measurement from Facebook is hard, and perhaps not even the right question.

In the world of ticketing and fundraising there’s an even bigger question: should you deploy apps to make it possible for patrons to buy tickets or make donations to your organization without ever leaving Facebook, or should you link from Facebook out to your site?

In most cases, I think the latter. If you have the option of linking from Facebook at the point of purchase which brings a consumer to your site where you control the experience, the language, and the engagement, isn’t that a better strategy than providing technology that encourages them to stay on Facebook? Yes, buying a movie ticket is a pretty generic activity, and there are probably many other such ticket buying experiences where the brand, the feeling and the mission of the seller doesn’t really matter. In that case, stay on Facebook.

But if you’re building a unique arts organization with a distinct image and mission and you can get consumers to go to your own website, you’re better off. Folks will find their way back to Facebook if they value that experience. But building an e-commerce relationship with a patron (particularly for the first time) should start with an experience that looks and feels like your organization.

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