There’s an absolutely cracking article on Mashable about the various social network’s monetisation strategy. The author points out that it takes an awful lot of personalisation to make up for hitting people with messages at the wrong time (and that entertainment doesn’t translate to word of mouth).
It’s a very reasonable criticism, and it’s always worth re-iterating why adWords is so powerful and lucrative in the face of alleged competitors.
However, I think all of this does potentially mask what is actually going on here by looking it at within the framework of disruptive advertising media.
In any market you need to have a buyer as well as a seller. That’s why what facebook is selling is more or less ‘advertising shaped’ opportunities; so advertisers – set in their ways as they are – stand a chance of being able to buy them.
But I think there’s something much more interesting happening too. and it’s not just what happened when loads of brands stuck up crass MySpace pages. There is an opportunity for brands to define the role they play as social objects. Clearly, that should be alot more sophisticated than the lamentable early attempts I mentioned the other day.
From there it will simply not be about how loud the brand shouts, but it’s ability to get at least some of its customers really hyped up.