In case you haven’t seen the Interwebs in the past few weeks Facebook is launching an email platform….or a “modern messaging product,” as Mr. Zuckerberg calls it.
So what does that mean?
It means that Facebook is gunning to make itself a one-stop-shop for all of your inter-personal communication…and it is potentially a big win for consumers and for Facebook. The new platform creates a cross-media abstraction that aggregates your communications across email, SMS, chat, and Facebook messages. Gotta admit that this is pretty clever and should make life easier for Facebook’s core audience.
By the way, for those of you saying “This is stupid” or “This is Facebook Wave!” or whatever – recognize that the feature isn’t for you. It is for your 17 year-old cousin that texts his/her friends non-stop and your 53 year-old Aunt Margaret that Farmvilles non-stop.
So why should marketers care?
Marketers, particularly of the email persuasion, stand to pay a significant price if Facebook doesn’t create a mechanism by which they can play ball.
First and foremost, email deliverability just got way more complex. Facebook’s social graph is (potentially) a silver bullet relevance/spam filter. Instead of message content, sender reputation, and such – Facebook will use your social connections to determine what gets priority delivery and what doesn’t.
In short – messages sent by “non-friends” get 2nd class treatment in your Facebook inbox. And this is already happening, by the way. “Updates” from Pages are already second class citizens in the existing Facebook inbox. (Check your Facebook inbox now – you have lots of “update” messages from Pages that you’ve never read.)
We’re very curious to figure out if Page “Likes” and external “Likes” play into the social inbox framework at all. Presumably a “like” is a the new opt-in? Liking a Page in Facebook already enables the Page to post content to your wall, send “updates” via Messages, and – of course – show up in your stream.
What’s the point of the like/opt-in if the message doesn’t get fair treatment? And will Facebook provide analytics around the message updates? Will be interesting to see how this bit plays out.
What should you do?
Folks – the stream is the future inbox. So start tuning your strategy and your content for a stream-based world. And assume that any and all content – regardless of medium – will eventually be consumed and/or shared on Facebook.
Email isn’t dead…but it sure as heck can be unwieldy and awkward – especially for the social crowd that has grown accustomed to digest-able, shareable content. Email marketing product communications often include multiple products and several calls-to-action. For some, it might make sense to strip down the messaging to a more Facebook-friendly format. (Highly targeted, personalized messages need not face the same editorial rigor.)
It is becoming a recurring chorus – but the truth remains: marketers of all stripes – email, social, brand, whatever – should make sure that they’re creating frequent, relevant and engaging content pushed through their Facebook News Feed.
Emails and Facebook Messages updates are nice – but the future is in stream content. It more easily integrates into the ongoing conversation amongst friends and it befits our brave, new, real-time world.