There Are No Absolutes

The title for this post comes from my father-in-law. If I’m feeling feisty, I remind him that there actually is an absolute, as in -459.67 degrees Fahrenheit–absolute zero. But I otherwise keep my FIL’s perspective in mind when reading marketing reports. Particularly ones that I can use with my own clients. It’s always good to receive an outside perspective on using a certain tool or pursuing a certain strategy–either of which might happen to fit perfectly for my own client projects. But reports do not always tell the whole story.

Case in point is this eMarketer article from last month: one example where the FIL has it right. The piece reports on results from a survey of B2B and B2C marketers and the tactics they pursue in the social mediasphere. Their results show that marketers on Facebook enjoyed the most marketing success–especially among B2C companies–when they created applications.

I think the FIL would agree that we shouldn’t look at Facebook apps as the empirical solution to all marketing problems.

  1. The definition of “success” was not preset in the article. Presumably, it was left for survey respondents to define loosely, as they best saw fit.
  2. I recently worked on a project that included a Facebook fan page. The page was promoted through frequent status updates, links postings and back-and-forth discussions with fans. The page also included a fun gaming application. The former activities drove 570% more traffic to the client’s website than the app.

But here’s the thing. I’d still recommend the pursuit of applications on Facebook fan pages. Maybe they won’t always drive as much traffic to a client’s site, but I bet they’re effective at retention–and perhaps even driving new visits to the fan pages in question. And they generate good, positive buzz which–as long as the app is relevant to the client’s overarching messaging goals–is always a good thing. No matter what the FIL says.

(Disclosure: I heart eMarketer. Their daily eNewsletter updates, in addition to the periodical research reports they publish, are indispensible.)

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