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Facebook Will NOT Become E-Commerce Force

(Or, why this site's FB section is so quiet)

8:08 pm on Apr 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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If there was anything to FB in terms of driving traffic that sold product, the Facebook Marketing Forum on WW would be screaming. It's not. What's wrong with the web pros here? Nothing.
All sorts of merchants are experimenting on Facebook. Best Buy has set up a shop on the social-networking site. Home Depot gives special offers to people who “like” its page. Levi’s added a “like” button.

But does this mean Facebook is en route to becoming a major e-commerce player? Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru says the answer is a resounding “No."
In spite of the fact that hundreds of millions of people around the world have Facebook accounts, the ability of the social network to drive revenue for eCommerce businesses continues to remain elusive. eBusiness professionals in retail collectively report little direct or indirect benefit from Facebook, and social networks overall trail far behind other customer acquisition and retention tactics like paid search and email in generating a return on investment. For some companies and brands, Facebook promises to support branding and awareness (i.e., "top of the (marketing) funnel") efforts, but for most eBusiness companies in retail, Facebook is unlikely to correlate directly to near-term sales. A few pockets of success, however, have surfaced, and a cottage industry of vendors who can support these programs will inevitably burgeon.
A social-network presence, she found, was less effective at customer acquisition and retention than e-mail and paid search.

Facebook’s problem, she said, is that few people go there for shopping-related activities. “You go to Facebook to find other people, not to find a product,” Mulpuru said in an interview.

My recommendation is to post your emails on FB, your website and Twitter. Use a service that does it automatically. Think about how your message appears across all of these channels. Then stick to your knitting and don't waste anymore time with FB.
9:31 pm on Apr 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I would agree that FB is not an ideal place for marketing products.

This is just me guessing but I would wager that big corps like Best Buy will have little success using FB as a marketing tool, but I think that smaller, local, grassroots companies and products will have better results.

I base this off my personal experience as a FB user. I am immune to "big store" ads, but I am often willing to check out the little homegrown stores, usually in the hopes of seeing something new or cool, I am always more willing to support a local start-up.

I can't remember which one it was but I remember reading somewhere that one of the big coupon sites started as a facebook group an once it got enough people it launched the coupon service.... I have been looking for the article but can't find it so I may be out to lunch on that.
9:53 pm on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Facebook is the future of marketing.

Done right Facebook beats Adsense hands down, but marketers are smart this time. We don't go around sharing out Facebook advertising secrets the way we did with Adwords.

Who wants to create competition?

I remember when people "including myself" starting posting Adwords tip and secrets.

Get rich quick ebooks popped up, and the amount of competition increased big time.

With Facebook i won't tell a soul what to do, because i don't want any idiot with a $500 credit limit trying to take a piece of my pie, and increasing advertising cost.

Tons of webmaster are making great money on Facebook, but we are not sharing, we learned from the past.
10:40 pm on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

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There's no "tons of webmasters" making great money in the web anymore and most of them see Facebook as a competitor.

Facebook was not created to make money run but to flirt and chat and in the same way I made my sites like a game and finally I re-built m life and business around it, maybe Facebook will someday be a profitable business for itself but not another money maker website as Google, Amazon or eBay are.
11:27 pm on Apr 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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CMidd, you may have found a way to make money on FB, and congrats to you. But for many people, it has terrible ROI. Like the article said, people don't go to FB to shop.

I don't even see the ads anymore when I'm using it... they are just part of the background noise.

The only way ads will become effective is if they add them to your wall, in which case they will loose a tremendous amount of members.
1:37 pm on May 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Advertising Age says Facebook ads aren't working, and that there is
"...'no correlation' between what brands spend on Facebook ads and how many fans they have."

"One problem is that the value of fan bases tends to erode over time, Mr. Widman said, because most people don't interact with brand messages, which ultimately drives them lower in algorithm determining "top news" and makes them less likely to be seen."
1:48 pm on May 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I suppose that what eventually works for facebook will be an emergent technique, something out of trial an error