Social Media Marketing: A look at 2012, part 1
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a popular blog post on using social media profiles for login on third-party websites rather than the more traditional form field registration. The post featured research from Janrain, a social Web user management platform, and some additional commentary from Larry Drebes, founder and CEO of Janrain.
That topic was very specific and applies to one marketing issue — gathering data from website visitors.
Janrain’s research found that Facebook is the clear favorite for social login at 42%, followed by Google at 29% and Yahoo! at 11%.
In preparation for the innovation panel Wednesday afternoon, February 8th, at next week’s MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2012, I also had the chance to speak with Larry about the social channel in more general terms, and to get his take on where it is heading and what marketers should be thinking about over the next six to 12 months.
Tomorrow’s blog post will feature the thoughts of panelist Loren McDonald, Vice President Industry Relations, Silverpop.
Here is the result of my conversation with Larry:
MarketingSherpa: Where is the social media channel heading for marketers over the next year?
Larry Drebes: I think it is going to be definitely an increasing part of the marketing mix. It just makes sense because more online activity is centered around knowing the user, knowing their social network and profile attributes. Social media is a large component of that, and I think it is becoming accepted both with the end users and the marketing audience, and it will be a healthy growing segment.
Certainly the popularity of the big social networks drive a lot of (social media acceptance) and you have seen their audience grow. And for our personal vantage point, where we supply websites with the tools to interact with social networks, our distribution has increased tremendously.
MS: What should marketers be watching for in the social channel?
LD: I think one aspect would be more of a divergence in the marketplace, so you have essentially new entrants like Google+, and I think location-based services, which have been around, but I think that is going to be an important aspect.
We have seen social players that have been centered around more sort of entertainment type sites and you might see that (being a focus) into e-commerce going forward.
I think the social sign-in is less about Facebook and Twitter and more an identifier, more of an identity that you use for a specific purpose. I think you will see a little division there where you might use Facebook or Twitter for more entertainment type sites and a LinkedIn account for something more professional. People will identify themselves in various personas depending on the context of how they are interacting with an online property.
MS: What are your views on privacy in the social channel?
LD: Certainly it is a big issue and there are lots of facets of privacy. Most people who put data into a social network understand that it is not private data, and if there is something that I really don’t want the world to know, Facebook is not the place for me to be typing that data into. We’re separating a social security number from attributes like, ‘I like this band’ and data about you that can help a website create a better experience and being useful for not only the websites, but you as a user to have a much better experience.
MS: What is the difference in the social channel for B2C and B2B marketers?
LD: The B2C is a very mass market, so you are dealing with larger numbers and you are catering to consumer preferences.
So, I think it is a traditional marketing mix where you are knowing more about the user, and what their likes and dislikes are, and who their friends are. It is essentially better intelligence with an improved medium and if you take it from radio to TV to Internet, and then Internet with a social channel. There may be a progression there.
And in the B2B market, I think it is hard to characterize that segment because a lot of B2Bs take on very application specific contexts.
It could be dealing with employees or behind the firewall or with different vendors, but again I think the same notion of knowing more about the end user (through social login) in a way that can better cater to them gives you more information intelligence and remove friction from a process that maybe would require someone to remember a password.
I think one of the areas that will be surprising in the next couple of years is the number of providers of identity will swell again.
There is this common belief that Facebook is everything and that everyone else is losing, and I think there is a valid case to be made that the number of providers of identity and social data will broaden and get more specific.
I think you will see banks and telcos and maybe healthcare providers, or even other companies, start becoming a social provider, or an identity provider, in their own right because they own a certain set of data attributes that may be unique, or they have relationships with a large number of users.
(For example) if you think about a bank or a cell phone provider that has a billing relationship and knows a lot about you, or using that maybe behind a firewall for a B2B case, where you know an employee wants to use their employee ID to access an insurance site or some vendor relationship that is specific to them.