I’m going to leave the Requirements / Model issue to simmer for a while; thanks for all your help exploring it. I get the feeling people might want to connect with more practical ideas right now and not take on the windmills of the Tech / Marketing Interface.
So I’ll wrap up with a few relevant links to what others have recently said about this model / requirements problem.
Yesterday, Ad Age tells us that Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said this:
“Google and its competitors have made answering demands for information very profitable by selling ads attached to search requests, or demand fulfillment, Ms. Sandberg a former Google executive herself, noted. “What no one’s figured out how to do is demand generation,” she said. “We need to find a new model and new metrics,” she added.
You say Demand Generation and Demand Fulfillment, I say Awareness and Interest. Same thing; Demand generation happens when people are made Aware of something, as opposed to having Interest already and Searching for it. So we agree there.
I think where we might differ is I’m saying the web is simply too expensive for the Awareness it delivers because it’s intentionally decentralized. I’m saying the very essence of the web, what makes the web the web, is a fundamentally poor structure for generating Awareness / Demand when compared with centralized media.
So while there may be a “new model” for Awareness / Demand out there somewhere, it will be inefficient compared to current media alternatives. To keep trying to build a general purpose Awareness / Demand generation model on the web is Repeating the Past. Why don’t we just move on and create “Interest Platforms” instead of “Awareness Platforms”?
Just to be perfectly clear, I am not saying Display “doesn’t work”. What I am saying is that it doesn’t work well enough for the cost when compared to other Awareness media to be used for the purpose of generating Awareness.
Search as Display, or Display as Search?
Google-Click, if they feel generous, may provide some much needed data on what actually goes on between Display and Search that will boost the value of Display. After all, AdSense is really a (not very good) Interest platform, isn’t it? But just to show I’m not a total wonk, some people are working on what might be a better Interest Platform.
Jonathan Mendez in Display Becomes Us talks about Lookery and the idea that Search could become “display advertising’s operating principle”. I’m not exactly sure what this technology is up to, but it sounds like an “implied Interest” approach with higher quality than AdSense. Personally, I doubt a database of search referrers can be as universally relevant as Search but it probably could work for some categories, and it absolutely has the promise to be much better than Display or AdSense, which both suffer from the lean forward problem. Ar least you can fix this problem with AdSense.
Facebook Search Ads
I’ve said for some time that if Social Media wants a monetization model that works (is relevant) they should try Search. But the Socials have repeatedly resisted going that way for some reason. Now we have Facebook announcing that Search-driven monetization is up and running with Microsoft.
I tried some searches and found not only relevant Facebook groups but also (shazzaam!) relevant ads. It’s not Demand Generation, but it will probably make money, don’t you think?
Recursive Navel Gazing
Finally, I would simply like to make the point again that just because certain highly specialized online Display promotions can be forced to work does not mean they are “Marketing Breakthroughs”, it just means they are so highly targeted they can’t fail (um, like Search?), which also means they cannot be rolled out in any volume – that old “Awareness problem” for the web again.
Selling Facebook widgets on Facebook or HP Notebooks to people reading specific tech blogs is not Marketing Genius, it’s shooting fish in a barrel. There’s no Reach, and these efforts don’t Scale – elements critical to generating tangible Awareness.
The fact this kind of promotion works is simply evidence that hyper-contextual targeting works on the web, which supports the general argument against an Awareness / Display platform on the web and for Search / Interest as the right model to be pursued.
Hey, at least some folks on the Tech side are moving forward!