I just sat in on the MySpace roadshow that has been going around, and it triggered some synaptic love. I realized that social networking sites are not a category, they are a bunch of disparate entities all lumped together. MySpace is no closer to Facebook than Facebook is to Bebo, or Bebo is to LinkedIn, or LinkedIn is to Plaxo.
Many of them have similar features and offerings, but when you look at them from an ad standpoint, they are very different animals indeed. They are used for quite different purposes by the consumer -- you know, that person who actually uses and buys the products we are trying to hock.
However, the mistake media planners and clients make, including me, is to say: "We're on Facebook, that's the social networking site we buy in that category. We don't need to be on MySpace."
Now, before you go accusing me of pimping MySpace, which I am about to do, let me just say that I did not even have a MySpace account until yesterday. In fact, as a client, I am not even permitted to buy on MySpace for competitive reasons, so all I can do is be jealous of those who can.
I have been on Facebook for some time. I enjoy Facebook and use it regularly. I love the BlackBerry Facebook app. If you're on Facebook and have a BlackBerry, it's a must-download. I view it as an amazing site, regardless of the issues I have already mentioned in previous articles, many of which Facebook has already addressed.
But there is an issue of "Myopicy." Hey, just made that word up, but it really explains everything. Our industry is on Facebook -- all the buyers, sellers and clients I know have a Facebook account. We use it to see who is going to ad:tech or to the iMedia Summits or SXSW. Many of the agencies and clients buy Facebook because that is what we use personally. Myopicy.
However, don't ignore the gorilla around the corner. Consumers in vast numbers, and at a content-engaging level, are on MySpace. I am not saying stop buying on Facebook, but a lot of what Facebook offers is very different from what MySpace offers. Facebook is an advertising opportunity. It offers many services and custom ad-targeting solutions that serve us all very well. But in this space, we are often all guilty of chasing the next big thing, and let's face it, Facebook is hotter than MySpace when you talk to people in our industry, or at least that's the current meme.
But that's due to our Myopicy.
It's hotter, yes, but should it be? It's like a woman being hotter than a dog. People may choose the dog, or the woman, and stick with it, but what they are is uniquely different, unless you have a very talented dog, or a very untalented woman. The same holds true for advertising opportunities. (Stay with me here. It would be sad to lose you on such a fun analogy.)
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