Extreme Marketing: “Home” vs. 2second Ad
Facebook’s Launch of ‘Home’
Facebook Home is a Launcher for Android Phones. It gives you the opportunity to have Facebook as you main running Application, basically the center of your phone and all the other application (whatsapp, viber, etc) are running around it. Everything around this Launcher optimizes the user experience of Facebook and makes the user spend even more time on it.
Volkswagen’s 2 Second Ad on YouTube
Volkswagen came up with the idea to solve the problem of the annoying pre-Youtube-clip ads by showing a two (!) seconds ad only. By the time you realized what had happened it’s already over. It was for the launch of the new VW GTI.
1. Objectives, Opportunities and Limitations.
The VW case has a very clear objective: VW wants you to get interested in the car and play with your mind before you even realized what had happened. This will have the great advantage that the person watching it will most probably talk about it after and will be saying how great it was that the message came through without being annoying. On the other hand people had only very few seconds to understand what’s it all about and therefore didn’t even get the message and therefore the ad might be pointless.
Facebook decided to launch it the Facebook way. They used all social media opportunities to spread the word. The main ad they had though was a funny-ish clip of Mark Zuckerberg presenting the new Launcher ‘Home’ to his employees. If people think it is really funny than it can be a great success but in my opinion it misses the point of a Launcher a bit.
VW targeted Youtube Clip watchers. Specifically people, who at some point showed interest in buying a car or cars in general. They can do this very easily by telling Youtube to always show the ad when someone looks doe a car or car related topic.
Facebook targets people who are Smartphones Users (Specifically HTC One, Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy S3 and S4) and are owners of a Facebook account. They used the social media channel and the media itself to promote their product.
Furthermore it is very interesting that both campaigns used Youtube as there main distributor which keeps the distribution cost for these two campaigns very low.
3. How ethical or legitimate are these activities?
Especially Facebook seems to me a very legitimate activity because they promoted their new product in a very modern way. They do have a great advantage though since they can manipulate the entire Facebook for their benefit. In their current marketing campaign they were using three Youtube Clips to promote it, which leaves the decision of watching if up to the consumer.
VW on the other hand uses a different tool. They forced people to watch the 2 second ad and make them talk about it. This manipulates the consumer’s minds and can have an impact on his/her decision when buying a car. I see this as a less ethical ad over the Facebook campaign since the will of the watcher is not being considered.
4. Where they successful? How?
There is a major difference in the outcome of the two campaigns. VW was able to generate a new way of less annoying ads on Youtube and make medias and other channels talk about this new idea. For VW it is very hard though to determine whether it was this campaign or a different one that really influenced the sales of VW GTIs. Facebook on the other hand launched a totally new product. For them it is very easy to say whether this product reached up to its expectations or not. Facebook can just count the download and see how it started. According to first predictions it’s a total failure taking into account the number of people it could have been downloaded by.
Comparing these two campaigns is very interesting especially because I can speak out of my own experience. While I used the ‘Home’ Launcher for about one day I deeply felt that I had a very bad user experience (UX) this because the user interface (UI) was not intuitive at all and Facebook overtook your phone in a very overwhelming way. On the other hand after seeing the VW ad, for the first time I went up to people around me and told them my great experience I had with an ad. Even though it being an ad I found it interesting and enriching to see and talk about the ad and felt the need to find out more about this car. What else can a marketer want?
5. Success and Offline Response
Facebook never intended to create an offline community because they are an internet based company. They goal was to generate downloads and increase the time spent on Facebook by the user. Unfortunately this didn’t happen since the numbers show that it didn’t reach the expectations it promised before launching about two month ago. One statistic that isn’t available is how many people are downloading and deleting it again within a short amount of time (like me) because in my opinion this could give a devastating statistic.
VW on the other hand set his goal differently. On the long term they want to increase their sales. But this doesn’t work like a free download. Buying a car is connected to much more decision making since people usually keep a car for a while and it involves a lot of money. Therefore it is very difficult to say if this two-second ad increased the long-term sales. One thing we can say though: It affected the awareness of VW, which is a big asset and can be turn out into sales. VW came up with a new way of less-annoying ad on Youtube.
6. Trigger, Competitors and Environment
Facebook is slowly moving from a social network to a marketing platform. For the good and bad. This also proves its talk about buying Waze. They don’t want to be a mobile network only they want to be in everyone’s lives and have access to their phones as much as possible. This was their main goal of developing Home. There isn’t a big market yet for Launchers but Home is far behind. The leaders have a huge advantage especially in UX and UI.
VW came up with this idea to increase the awareness of the Brand itself and specifically the new VW GTI. With this way people hear about it and consider this car in their decision-making. VW’s main goal was to promote their new car.
7. Critical Thinking
Both campaigns have the goal to influence as many people as possible and trying to stimulate them in a way or the other to make them buy the car or download the launcher. Here it is always the question if they actually want to meet the customers’ needs or just want to increase sales/downloads. Legitimate would be somewhere in the middle.
Facebook was in desperate need to act against loosing its leader role in the social network and therefore they felt like coming up with a new idea that unfortunately failed by the end consumers. There isn’t a good way for a marketing campaign for an application besides to having a convincing UX and UI and mouth-to-mouth campaign. Furthermore it has to be mentioned that most of the potential users of Home weren’t even able to download it (e.g. all iPhone users) since it was only available for Samsung and HTC users. By doing this Facebook’s marketers’ missed out many potential parties, which is very unfortunate.
VW on the other hand used one of the main channels to add another way of promoting their cars. This will show them in a much better light and present them as cool brand for younger people or people, who like sport cars. This ad has one main disadvantage that there is the chance that people will not proceed and go to the VW page and just continue their lives with a memory of a nice not interrupting ad. VW targeted with this ad Youtube watchers only and not every Youtube Clip watched has this ad as a pre-clip. This has no negative or positive outcome it’s just a marketing decision by the VW marketers. They still have many traditional ways of promoting their cars like print and TV. There is no need to improve it since they are using a very cool and new way to get new customers and the outcome will only be able to be shown in numbers when updated sales numbers will come out. Let’s see. The timing fits the time we live in very well. They are using a short clip and using a huge platform for it.
Critical Thinking about Mobile Advertisement
Personalised and location based advertisement don’t come without problems and legal issues. One of the main issues is definitely the lack of privacy for consumers. Wherever a smartphone user walks s/he being tracked and the information is sent to an analysis at a marketing company or even to Google. This personal information will be used to target potential costumer with personalised advertisement. This can be very controversial since the marketers might get information about people and process this to their own benefit. You might be at home searching for a bed to purchase and waiting for the right deal to come around. Two days later you walk through the city and by chance you pass a bed store, your smartphone buzzes and it shows the following message on your phone: “Welcome to AmiNach – Stop by now and get a 15% off your new bed”. In this case AmiNach had a huge advantage and the problem is that there isn’t a fair competition going on between the bed stores. AmiNach is known to be one of the most expensive bed stores and might not actually be in the customer’s best interest, in quality or financially. This is a problem because customers are being specifically targeted, their privacy is being violated, and it might not be to their benefit in the end.
We were discussing in our group how often we click on these pop-up advertisements on our phones. It was a very interesting discussion and it demonstrated another big issue with mobile marketing. We all agreed very much on the fact that we are targeted with banners within applications that aren’t interesting at all and are bothering us while we try to use our smartphones as efficient as possible. This leads to the fact that we never actually click on any of these advertisements, only by accident in the case that they pop up in the middle of using an app. We feel very strongly that many people in our age and social network are faced with the same.
As our discussions continued, we concluded as a group that the privacy issue discussed earlier in this section is less of a problem and we generally worry about it less. The reason for this is that we feel we are in control of what kind of information we give out, especially to Google and other applications and additionally, there are many options of not sharing information today and protecting your privacy (e.g. Incognito Tab). We felt that invasion of privacy is something to be only slightly worried about because there are ways to avoid giving out personal information and protecting oneself.
On the one hand we don’t like to see ads at all, especially when they interrupt our efficiency when using an application. On the other hand mobile ads can really be beneficial to users and marketers. We propose the following solutions to tackle this major issues marketers face. First, make sure that the ads aren’t popping up everywhere people browse and that an ad only shows up when opening or closing the app. Applications should not be interrupted with advertisements because this actually decreases the efficiency of the ad and of the application drastically. People would much prefer to be targeted fewer times but more directly and they really don’t want to be interrupted in the middle of a game or utility. Additionally, we feel that if an ad could be more interactive and more fun rather than an annoying banner, people would most often be less sceptical towards ads and actually pay attention to them.
Using these proposed solutions could be an interesting direction to help marketers solve the issues above. This dilemma of advertising and efficiency has to be the core focus of marketers since this is the only way they can get to smartphone users wherever they are.
Future Developments of Mobile Advertisement
Trying to analyse the future is never easy but we tried to look at some trends and see what we can derive from them in order to evaluate possible developments of mobile advertisement.
One of the major points that was already mentioned earlier in the paper is the effectiveness of mobile advertisement. While making marketing decisions, managers are very likely to have to also make budgeting decisions on how much to spend on mobile advertisement. Mobile advertisement has been known for low budget expenses but high effectiveness and this point is very promising for the field because it shows the amount of opportunity there is available.
Another point the marketers will have to face is that traditional advertisement will never fully translate into mobile advertisement on smartphones. This means that the current effectiveness of advertisements on billboards and TV will never be perfectly substituted by mobile advertisement (Business Insider). We believe this is mainly because people don’t like looking at advertisements on their phones, so other means of advertisement are still necessary. The marketer’s task will be to find an effective strategy for mobile advertisement without bothering the consumer and this will pose a challenge to the marketers.
One of the interesting points we observed over the last few weeks is the talk about Facebook acquiring Waze. What is behind this? Why is a social network like Facebook interested in purchasing a GPS application? As you can read in a blog written by Hillel Fuld, the idea behind Facebook is the shift from a social network to a more marketing based community (Ineractive Blog). If you think about it in that light, it makes total sense to buy Waze because with this application Facebook will be able to target their users more exactly with location-based advertisement. Imagine the following: You will be walking on Ben Yehuda in Jerusalem, the center of town, it’s lunchtime and sunny. Facebook, with the help of Waze, recognises your location and an ad on your phone pops up saying: “Voucher for the next 5 Minutes at Moshiko: Shwarma & Coke for NIS 29.90”. This will need development and improvement of SEO to make sure that every person gets what he or she wants. Everything will have to be taken into consideration: Men versus Women, Adult versus Child, Preference of Milk product over Meat, and so on. This will have an effect on the interaction with the consumer, since marketers are more likely to see if the consumer actually used the voucher. Once this is developed, everyone will have his or her personalised advertisement- and that is a very interesting potential for the marketing world.
Another big point that shouldn’t be forgotten is the fact that according to a slideshow (see Graph) on Business Insider, smartphone sales overtook the sales of personal computers and most probably will also increase even more. The amount of time spent browsing and looking at mobile devices overall is directly proportional to the amount of smartphone sales there are. The more people looking at their phones, the more people looking at mobile advertisement on their phones and the more consumers there are to target.
For most people, who are forced to look at advertisement on their phone, it is much more annoying than enjoyable or even beneficial. Marketing companies will have to find a way to give people incentive for looking at their ads. One of the proposed solutions is that for every advertisement a consumer watches or looks at, preferably in your interest, will give you credit- either in form of vouchers or even in cash.
There is no doubt that mobile advertising will be the dominant advertisement method across many platforms because of its many advantages and potentials. Even though there are a few disadvantages, they can be overcome with further development, research and some new strategy.