Facebook may hold the trump card to dominate in the contextual age; unless it screws up mid-air.
I’ve been trying to answer this question to myself for the past 12 hours: how can contextual age impact social media marketing? Although I have no answers, I have a theory about the roles of Facebook and Google will play.
Let me first acknowledge that visibly Google is ahead of any other company in launching contextual aware systems- they have voice, glasses and cards. While Facebook doesn’t have anything yet, other than massive amount of information that it holds about its users in their servers.
But there is a fundamental challenge that Google faces; one that is weaved deep into its philosophy: search. In the late 90s you used Google to search. 14 years later, it’s still the same company. You’ve to say, “Okay glass” or you’ve to ask “Where can I get a pair of headphones?” or you’d have to tap Google app to see the cards.
The era of context-aware devices, unlike the era of smartphones is not about making information available on-demand, but delivering information, even taking action on behalf of the user before or right when the user needs.
A marketer has three roles mainly: Bring traffic. Generate leads. Sell. Consequently, every marketer, has to go through a long and rigorous cycle, to achieve the ultimate goal of selling stuff. The contextual age promises to reduce marketing efforts; by reducing the length of this cycle- creating content, SEO, spam, unwanted spending on ads, email campaigns etc.
Intertwined computing systems are going to be aware of the surroundings and intention of the buyer which would simplify the selling and buying process by enabling the seller and the buyer communicate only when it is necessary.
The race to get higher number of traffic for conversion, massive email campaigns would substantially lose importance. Contextual systems would help users as much as they would help businesses, large and small.
Here’s where Facebook looks more interesting to me than any other company:
1. It knows more about us than any other company in the world.
2. Information come to Facebook, I don’t have to go search for it.
They know enough about me to be an efficient butler: my music taste, my preferred cuisine, my exercise routine, blah blah. To make my life incredibly easy and to give a magic wand to consumer facing businesses, all they have to do is:
1. Make Facebook ads more powerful.
2. Give more power to Facebook page manager.
They’re already taking small steps. For instance, if you run a page, you’d notice they’ve launched a targeting option; now when you post a status on your page, you can choose who can see your post. This is important because the higher relevancy your post has the higher the engagement would be leading to higher a reach.
While Facebook continues to invest in assets that can help them acquire more information about its users e.g Instagram acquisition, I think it would start rolling out more features for marketers to create super-targeted ads.
They’re already making billions of dollars through an average ad targeting product- they know it, advertisers know it and it’s only a matter of time they roll up their sleeves. In the coming months, I predict Facebook would be acquiring a lot of popular health/fitness start-ups, they might even buy Foursquare.
Mark’s a super-smart guy and he’s quietly building its army before they go on a all-out contextual war.