Monday, December 8, 2008

Branded Apps Fall Flat

Adweek: "Brands in general have found Facebook unforgiving terrain for marketing," Adweek's Brain Morrissey claims. Banner ads, in particular, have been known to perform poorly on the social networking site, but the Facebook Platform, which lets third-party developers create applications for users, was supposed to change all that, offering marketers the ability to engage consumers with their brands. However, so far, apps from Coca-Cola, Champion, Ford and Microsoft are about as popular "as desolate Second Life islands," Morrissey says.

Nevertheless, Mike Murphy, Facebook's VP of global sales, defends the tactic: "We find that if a brand builds an application as their social strategy and not as a tactic that contributes to their overall strategy, then more than likely they won't see good results," he said.

Experts note other reasons why so many branded apps have fallen flat. Some are too complicated, others provide little in the way of interactivity, and still others are "overly branded." Indeed, most branded apps are often "little more than ads," Morrissey says, adding that most are developed as one-off experiments, leaving developers with little room for tinkering.

Tell me something new, Hugh.
Umm, people, have we not learned yet? You need to create apps that interact with people's lives in a completely personal adaptable fashion. e.g. Tripadvisor's Cities I've Vistited. Cool little app which you update according to places you've been in the world. It requires continual updates, it is uniquely individual and has an added sentimentality attached to it. The way it really sings is the personalisation. It is a true "outside in" approach which is what facebook is all about. Something happens on the outside, in the real world and then it becomes updated on the inside, in the Facebook world.

If apps cater to that, well then, they should have a winner on their hands. It's not about people being tricked by pay-per-install models. It's called burn out and disinterest. You can't be sending retarded virtual fed-ex packages every month. It's about as tedious as cleaning out spam from your email or wax from your ear. People get tired, bored and the interaction becomes a chore.

i.e. Get with the program people. Look at these apps as people do, not marketers. Like most apps, they burn out and that's really all there is to it.

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