In building the program for xPotomac (February 25th), I sought to address a sea change in media evolution. That change spells the end for the social PR revolution, a marketing movement embodied by brand-led conversations over the past seven years.
We are currently experiencing a throttling of branded, online grassroots power. Specifically, it’s becoming harder and harder for marketers to be seen with branded earned media and social updates.
Other signs evidence this change, too. Social search and stronger policing of black hat SEO by Google has put a premium on paid search again. Facebook’s use of Edgerank to force companies and individuals alike to pay for attention is another harbinger of this fate.
The rise of big data and the forthcoming wearable computing revolution — themes that run throughout xPotomac — will cause a further throttling of online grassroots pipes.
How’s your Instagram account treating you now? Feel better now that Instagram restored some of its original terms of service, and recommitted to observing permission marketing norms with photos?
It seems like every four or five months we experience some outrageous Internet drama where tech and marketing bloggers declare the death of a brand.
Instagram, Chick-fil-a, Netflix, Walmart, etc. have all been condemned for some egregious act of anti-socialness. And then of course, the brands don’t die, and in most cases correct the wrong, recover, and prosper. In the case of Netflix, they are making more money than ever before.
Yet the “Instapocalypse” was different. Like other faux deaths, the network’s daily user losses seem to be negligible, but Instagram conceded promptly to its users, and retracted its intellectual terms that harnessed users’ photos for commercial purposes.
Instagram users won a larger mobile battle in the Permission Marketing War.
Another aspect is to create a safer place where I don’t have workplace colleagues and contacts reading my feed expecting the latest and greatest Geoff news (Woo. Hoo.). I’d rather have a closer family and friend experience there.
This seems to have happened by happenstance, anyway. In fact, of my current consulting and speaking clients, only one head of marketing is a friend on Facebook.
This is not a defense of Google+, anti-trust issues facing the company, or the apparent sunsetting of Feedburner. Rather, more admiration for the company’s overall approach and success online in recent years.
When I learned Google had scrapped its facial recognition technology because the negative uses outweighed the good, I felt they were the better player of the big companies operating in this space. It’s not an isolated incident.
Google changed its privacy earlier this year, uniting its many disparate policies across different products into one holistic company-wide statement. The company waged an extensive public relations and advertising effort to explain the new policy to the general public.
When was the last time Facebook did that? Never, to my knowledge. You just log in and find everything switched without any communication whatsoever. Continue reading →