It’s been a year since I listened to Facebook tell their story at AdWeek 2009, and I was glad to be able to hear it again. Today Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, spoke about how consumers’ behavior is changing.
The theme of her message was that the web is evolving; where once it was used primarily for information gathering, now the focus is more social. Users and content used to be anonymous, but now people are sharing their most personal experiences (I remember those days—people were still nervous about online banking and posting pictures and news about them was unthinkable).
While privacy is still a concern, technology like Facebook has shown that consumers are willing to share with others… their behavior has shifted 180⁰.
With the social web, consumers are spending 2X or even 3X more time online. They are not proactively looking to complete a task, they are now going online without any intentions at all; they’re there to learn what others are doing.
With 500 million active profiles, Sheryl said people want personalization, which offers an opportunity for marketers. Research has proven the obvious hypothesis that users recall and are more likely to buy if a product or service is liked or recommended by a friend. Facebook calls this the Social Connection. It’s not only linking users with users, but also linking users to brands. She showed examples of brands like Lady Gaga and the P&G Old Spice Guy where this behavior has been addictive and engaging.
Brands are learning that it is easier and more engaging to be where people are, vs. trying to move users to where they are. She showed several examples including Starbucks, Coke, and Oreo where friends and likes were outpacing the traffic to these corp band web sites.
“The web is being rebuilt…and marketing is part of the solution.”
Supporting Microsoft Advertising, we maintain a Facebook account, Twitter account, YouTube and more. Sheryl left me with a lot of ideas on how we can and need to continue to pursue these opportunities as a marketer.
Microsoft Advertising, Social Media Solutions