Tag Archives: Facebook

Brand Affinity and Brand Fans

Everywhere I turn lately, there has been a discussion about brands and our relationship to them. One of the co-founders of Cloud Four, Lyza, wrote about Brand Affinity recently. My ex-coworker Chris Higgins picked up the theme on Mental Floss. Finally, Facebook’s recently unveiled its big advertising push with an emphasis on “Brand Fans” and “Fan-sumers.”

When Lyza and Chris write about their brand preferences, I find myself thinking that, yes, I indeed follow brands and buy brands. However, when I first read about Facebook’s new advertising plan relying on me declaring myself a fan of a brand, I laughed aloud. Yeah right, how many people are going to take the time to sign up to become a fan of Coke.

But if you read Jeremiah’s article on Facebook, he provides some convincing supporting data in support of Facebook’s brand pages. In particular, he points out that people trust the recommendations of friends and acquaintances more than any other source of information. Because of this fact, having your friends endorse a brand on Facebook would make a big difference in your decision-making.

The data is right. The conclusion is wrong.

Few people have blind loyalty when it comes to brands. I generally like Apple products (as do both Chris and Lyza), but I would never buy nor recommend that anyone buy an iTV. Because I generally like Apple products, I will look at their new products, but I don’t purchase them blindly.

And when I like something, I evangelize specific products, not the brand itself. I think this is true of most people whether we talk about Apple or Coca-Cola. People like specific products created by companies, not everything the company has ever done.

This is why I think Facebook is on the right track, but misguided in a fundamental way. They have taken a marketer’s approach to creating a relationship with brands when the real value comes from recommendations at the product or service level.

Dangers of Context-based Advertising

Someone recently pointed me to this funny blog post entitled “15 Unfortunately Placed Ads” (Some of the content is a bit risqué).

The humor of the ad placements alone isn’t enough to warrant a blog post. Instead what interested me was the online ads were almost certainly placed by software attempting to match keywords.

One of the example is a Folgers Coffee ad placed next to an article entitled “Coffee Might Trigger Heart Attack in Some.” Folgers likely bought ads to be placed on Yahoo’s content network whenever the word “coffee” showed up. However, they probably wouldn’t chose to place their ad next to this story if given the opportunity to chose.

This is the danger of context-based advertising. The current filters are not smart enough to know whether or not the true context of the content is conducive to the advertising.

I wonder whether sites like Facebook will encounter this problem more frequently because it is just as likely that someone is going to be ranting about coffee as they are praising it. I imagine Google and the other leading advertising engines are already experimenting with ways to determine the positive or negative nature of the content.

I think we’ll see a lot more ads with unfortunate placement before the technology progresses to the point where it can be prevented automatically.