Monetizing Social Media – Why It Hasn’t Worked So Far

This is a guest post from David Baker. Enjoy!

So many blogs and articles now are focusing on content. It seems to be King, Queen, Bishop, Knight and Pawn all rolled into one. The cries from the battlement are Content, Content, and more Content! 

Content always has and will be important, but now more than ever, context is the qualifier for content. Back in the day, the mediums were print, radio and TV.  The contexts were simple – print, TV and to some extent radio, were segmented by drama, comedy, lifestyle and news. Radio has always been more generational in content, but always included those same categories. The shows that inhabited those categories were focused at three demographics – women, men and children. The context of the show determined the advertising content – Soaps were for women, Action Shows and Sports for men, Cartoons for children and Comedies for all. It sure was easy back then!

The reason you wouldn’t see spray starch advertised on Monday Night Football in 1970 is the same reason it wouldn’t happen today. No matter how good the content, the context is wrong. 

The biggest difficulty in monetizing social media in general, and Facebook in particular, is that there is no consistent context. Facebook may have 50,000,000 users, but each user is a context unto itself with a unique subset of content. What is passed among users (the shared content) is not at this time, capture-able or measurable on a granular level. There is, as of yet, no way to group Facebook users in demo/psychographic categories that would resemble a strata of meaningful target audiences. At this point, Facebook’s reach is the 2012 equivalent of free-standing inserts, which seems to be the antithesis of the social media premise: you’re track-able, define-able and measure-able. Except for now, you’re not. 

Someday soon, the data mavens and number crunchers will figure it out. Then social media analytics will be able to show that I chew only mint gum, eat Amy’s Pesto pizza, have 277 friends, 35 that have 9 intersecting areas of interest, 12 that have 21 areas of intersecting interest, 1 that looks like my social twin, 3 that share my interest in Brindle Border Collies and that I have a high propensity score for purchasing a blue Fiat 500L (with the larger engine) sometime in the next 5 weeks. 

We will know more about one another than we need to, care to or want to, and Big Data will seem puny by comparison. We will enter the realm of MEGA GIGA DATA. Then, thought leaders will ponder the next big/small thing. Maybe we can market to people using their DNA as the high level qualifier and drilling down the gene sequence for really targeted messaging. 

That’s probably when the next generation will decide to go underground.

About Debbie Simpson

President of Multi-Craft in Newport, Kentucky.
This entry was posted in Ideas In Motion, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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