Maybe the Trust Graph? Friday 27 July, 2012
Instead of the Interest Graph, Maybe the Trust Graph?
We spent much of yesterday watching Judy Shapiro’s AdAge piece, “The Key Issue Isn’t Free or Paid Media, But ‘How Can We Regain Consumers’ Trust’” light up our twitter feeds as stakeholders across the spectrum weighed in with their opinions (to which, it should be noted, Shapiro responded with equanimity and patience.) There are a few thoughts in her piece worth quibbling with: the 1/3 of Team Blog who’s currently at business school isn’t positive Shapiro’s using “freemium” correctly, though not so uncertain that she would put her name to this paragraph. Additionally, we take some issue with the characterization that “the free-content/ad-push model of traditional media worked because it rested on tightly controlled and trusted media channels, allowing the laws of scarcity to raise media value.” If anything raised media value, it was more like a converse Law of Plenty, the vast reach and huge impressions realized by most media channels in a pre-fragmentation universe.
That said, we hear her on the Trust Gap—as Shapiro rightly notes, between the inundation of banner ads and the “sheer tonnage of increasingly creepy, algorithmically accurate push advertising,” building a “sustainable, trusted user franchise” verges on impossible. Her answer to this is an entirely new “media inventory” including “platforms where people have powerful tools to pick which brands they want in their digital lives, and new types of scalable networks that are distinct from content sites or social networks by creating trust through connecting people who share similar interests.”
That sounded pretty sensible to us, and also pretty familiar. We agree that new types of media, and certainly new ad frameworks are required to create viable and sustainable revenue streams for our ever-evolving media options. However, we’re not sure we have to build them from scratch; instead of the mountain coming to the marketers, they may have to go to the mountain. The reality is, as innovative and zeitgeisty as it sounds to talk about new types of networks and disruptive media inventory, interest-based communities are all around; we call them forums, and they predate any of the social networks of which Shapiro so despairs. We’ve long agreed that the best way for brands to increase consumer trust is to reach out when consumers want to hear from them; in an appropriate context, with relevant content. Because consumers opt into these interest-based communities, they’re much more receptive to the brands that are there, and because most passions require products, they typically have much higher purchase intent. In short, we suppose, we’re always glad to see a newcomer on the interest-graph wagon, but the good news for Ms. Shapiro is, the future is now.
Other links of note:
- “You’ve Got Facebook Fans, Now What?” Booshaka Raises $1M to Ensure Your Posts Earn You Money”—Interesting solution to the problem that businesses “only reach an average of 12%-16% of their fans with each news feed post.”
- “Social Media is Now a $16.9 Billion Business” We’re just going to go ahead and file that one under ‘BOOM’ (and cross-reference “Thanks for the starter loan Mom and Dad, next week dinner on us!’)
- “The Facebook Reckoning Is Upon Us” You’re going to have to know something about Facebook’s big first earnings report, so if your knowledge of The Market skews more farmer’s than financial, why not read up on it somewhere they translate an increase in CapEx to “Facebook spent a lot of money this quarter on stuff”?