Mark Cuban’s recent article on Facebook IPO Post Mortem and his point that Mobile will crush Facebook. He has several valid points but in my view misses that mobile is a challenge for more than just Facebook.
Facebook is valuable because it makes possible targeted advertising to consumers to a greater extent that has been possible with Google.
Google has been mining data for years and not only what we search. They mine what we share with others over email (gmail users), and then correlate that information with trends based on our geographic location. Does Google know my age? Probably since I have used other services were I have given up this information and if not it could fairly easily put me in a range. Does Google know if I’m single or married or have kids? They can probably guess by scrapping content from my emails. Does Google know what I buy? If I have used Google to pay for it or again scrapping any invoice/receipt that arrives in my inbox. Does Google know what I like to watch? Sure, they own YouTube.
I agree that Facebook has a problem with mobile but the value proposition that it presents to brands is greater than what Google has to offer and furthermore mobile is not a problem for just Facebook, but for all the players whose revenue model rely on income from advertisements.
Advertising has always relied on passive users, thus the strategy was to capture the largest amount of eyeballs using delivery channels such as TV, radio or print media. Google and Facebook make it possible to provide relevant advertisement in a way not possible before.
Mobile will change how brands interact with consumers; from the consumer perspective it offers just in time access to on-demand content, were people reach out to information when they want from where they want. This presents a challenge for the traditional marketing strategy that has perfected the “couch potato” pitch. Today people using mobile devices will not be passively sitting in front of the regular channel, so if a brand expects to get in front of consumers it will have to find a different way.
So what’s different about the mobile platform. Smaller screens, less bandwidth or bandwidth caps. The tablet will remove these limitations but its a totally different device whose use and demographic are also totally different.
Trying to force mobile to become an additional marketing channel in the same way TV or Web is used is a mistake, because the way people interact with mobile is different from the way people interact with TV, radio, print and the personal computer. Realizing this, the handicap of a smaller screen and bandwidth limitations, utilizing the advantages of relevant/targeted advertising and features that mobile brings with it such as location will necessarily spawn new ways for brands to connect with consumers.
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