Facebook’s IPO might be the blow to customer experience that brings the social media behemoth to its knees. Zuckerberg be advised – from its beginning to its pending end, Facebook’s strength is a derivative of its customer-centric core.
Facebook’s box office IPO debut has a lot of people monitoring its increasingly pained stock price, but the real drama is months away. Zuckerberg’s sudden agenda item of holding a finger to the pulse of investors means that Facebook has to make a lot of money in a short timeframe. What does this amount to? Hark a change in the business model and the cold hard fact that Facebook users might be dealing with some very interruptive advertising. Zuck don’t do it. Make like Tron and fight for the users.
My point Customers want it simple and more advertising is not a simple solution: Interruptive marketing that infiltrates the user experience will kill Facebook. Zuckerberg and Facebook should keep advertisers and the user experience as separated as possible even if their endlessly pivoted data gives them the power of uber-targeting. Instead, K.I.S.S. the customers Keep It Simple Stupid. Again, keep the user experience SIMPLE and work to develop a business plan that pulls in revenue by providing real value, not flash-in-the-pan advertising. (K.I.S.S. Design Principle – http://bit.ly/HL5rM8)
Cognitive Overload: In a recent post, the Harvard Business Review refers to the term cognitive overload. It’s the idea that the purchase funnel doesn’t quite work in the awareness, interest, desire and action format it used to. According to a survey of over 7,000 people that HBR put together, people deal with cognitive overload by picking one brand and remaining loyal to it simply because it makes their purchase and brand decisions well, simpler. (HBR Blog Post – http://bit.ly/Ljo3Ta)
Users aren’t listening and simple interactions drive engagement: This phenomenon has very tangible implications for brands on Facebook. Not to mention that people aren’t listening to loud marketers like they used to; simple interactions drive high engagement. The more marketing that interrupts a Facebook interaction the less simple it is. The less simple it is the more disingenuous and complicated Facebook will seem. In Jobs-onian fashion, Facebook has made its name by keeping advertisers at bay and the customer experience at the center. Zuckerberg’s stalwart holdout, however, is eroding.
Facebook’s dance with the devil: We’re already witnessing the debacle of Facebook’s dance with the Devil. When the space is purchased, the login and logout pages have monstrous ads, the margins are cluttered with sponsored posts, the newsfeed is starting to look like the toothpaste aisle at the grocery store, and for the right user – ads have even found their way into the photo viewing interface.
The Solution – Hold out with simple: Hey Facebook the 60s called, they want their advertising back. The popularity of a website or app can crash faster than the looming Greek Drachma and Facebook is NOT immune to the rage of the mass exodus. So what’s a small-town-gone-Microsoft social media website to do? It’s Simple. Stupid. Brands do have a place on Facebook. Targeted offers and limited, but potent, engagements can be powerful. Facebook’s relentless design iteration, as long as it remains customer focused, is the reason it’s stayed in the forefront. The second, however, Facebook allows branded takeovers, banner ads, an influx of branded newsfeed updates, etc., they will realize that loyalty can quickly evaporate. There’s a lesson for us all here. Keep interactions as effortless as possible and make customer experience choices based on customer needs. Be it on our websites, mobile apps, in the store, through the call center, or beyond. In the age of the customer, people tolerate less and less sacrifices in service due to company and market demands.
Now, K.I.S.S. me Facebook, treat me with respect and maybe I’ll continue staying in with you.