Thursday, October 1, 2009

Distribution revolution? By Even Aas-Eng

Since the arrival of the world wide web we have had three different phases of how we filter information (web sites).

First we had the web portals that gathered useful sites so it would be easy for people to navigate to the information they were looking for. The number of sites where off course very limited and if you tried a search engine to find something else you usually ended up on a porn site! As an advertiser the only real way of reaching a lot of people where through display ads or text links on the portals.

Then search engines (with less spam) changed the game completely. All websites became accessible through a search and a click. Great news for mankind and great news for advertisers that could add paid keywords and search engine optimization to their marketing mix.

Today we are well into phase three, social media. Filtering has again been taken over by humans (facilitated by technology) and social networks and user generated media are increasingly controlling our click streams and influencing our online decisions.

I am not writing this because we need yet another rant on how important social media is and how we can utilize it. What I would like to do is to emphasize one particular innovation, Facebook Connect.

Facebook Connect is a single sign on-service that enables user to logon to web sites outside Facebook with their Facebook login. Facebook Connect was launched in December 2008 and competes with openID and similar services. The difference being that Facebook is the Google of social media and a lot more powerful. For users Facebook Connect means that the actions they do on affiliated sites can be shared with their friends on Facebook. So again, great news for surfers of the web and a massive opportunity for advertisers.

Facebook Connect gives advertisers access to the most powerful distribution platform we have seen since Google took off early in this millennium. Here is why:

1) Facebook Connect lowers the threshold for participation. Who wants to create a new username and password? No one, we have way to many as it is. Using the connect service in advertising campaigns, on smaller niche communities or corporate sites you increase your signup rate massively because most people already have a Facebook account. (The Fluent 09/Razorfish report states that there is a 35% increase in the will for signing up via Facebook Connect)

2) Viral. Everything that you do on a Facebook Connect affiliated site can potentially be shared on Facebooks newsfeed or you can send a Facebook message. So if just ten people make an action and share it thousands may potentially see it. Someone will probably “Like” it and someone will probably comment on it.

It’s that simple and that important.
Try thinking about how you would attract new members to a niche community or how you would recruit users for an online competition with and without Facebook Connect and you will understand the importance of this feature.

I think Facebook Connect represents a distribution revolution, its one of the most important innovations we have seen in years and It will be a game changer.