Return to all Posts

Why Facebook Should Share Its Crop

Let's Turn that Virtual Currency into Real World Cashish

Thursday, May 6, 2010 | Posted by Aaron Goldman

Posted In: Digital Marketing / Press / Press Mentions

Farmville Ad for Bing

Image Source

The June issue of Consumer Reports includes warnings about sharing personal information via Facebook due to risk of identity theft and other crimes. MediaPost had the scoop and asked various marketing wonks, myself included, on the implications for marketers if people limit their disclosure on social networks.

I took the opportunity to suggest that Facebook encourage people to share their data directly with marketers in exchange for cash, an idea I've been championing ever since running a personal experiment on eBay two summers ago. This would give consumers more control over what data is shared and how it is used, while giving marketers an easier way to build audience profiles, decipher intent, and deliver targeted ads.

Here's the excerpt. More commentary on the other side.
Aaron Goldman, managing partner at Connectual, would like to see Facebook create a program to share advertising revenue directly with consumers who agree to disclose personal data. This data would not become public, however, putting members at risk of identity theft. He believes it would demonstrate to people how valuable their data could become, and encourage them to actively participate in sharing it with advertisers.
What I'm advocating for here effectively changes the advertising paradigm. To date, publishers put out great content to build an audience to sell to advertisers.

But imagine if advertisers could market directly to their audience without going through content publishers. Imagine if they could get the same level of engagement, if not more. Imagine if they could get the same level of targeting, if not more.

Alas, the only way I see this happening is if marketers put money directly in the pockets of consumers -- or via a data aggregator such as Facebook -- as compensation for spending time with their brands. But that's not really much different than couponing, right?  

BlueKai does something similar by transparently collecting data based on Internet usage and giving people the chance to control what is shared and earn money for charity along the way. But BlueKai, as of yet, has not created a platform for advertisers to deliver ads directly to consumers based on their data. The BlueKai model still relies on ads displayed via content publishers to reach consumers, albeit the ads are much more targeted when all the data is applied.

Clearly, this proposition would be only be meaningful to marketers at scale -- ie, millions of consumers participating. But, when trying to rally usage, nothing speaks louder than cash, especially in today's dreary economy. And Facebook has both the millions of users and the data already collected so it would be the perfect player to make the move. It even has its own currency, called Facebook Credits that could be used to manage the payments.

By cutting consumers in on the action, Facebook will surely avoid the backlash that arises every time it rolls out a new data-sharing model -- eg, Beacon or "Like" -- that's helps Facebook and marketers target ads. And it would give marketers a better way to reach consumers via Facebook than sponsoring some poor guy's farm. 

It's time for Facebook to ante up!


Related Posts with Thumbnails