The paper “ Marketing on Facebook and Other Social Networking Sites" is a breathtaking example of a case study on marketing. Facebook is undoubtedly among the most popular social networking sites (SNSs) today. Every hour, thousands of young people ready to interact, exchange information and learn new things are logged onto the social network. To marketers, this presents a fertile ground where they can reach countless young people from different regions. As Li et al (2007) found out, the young people interacting on Facebook are also eager also fall in the early adopters’ category thus meaning they are more adventurous in the purchasing choices.
However, marketing to this demographic group is not as easy as it sounds. For starters, traditional marketing models cannot simply be used on Facebook and other social networking sites. This, therefore, means that marketers need to engage Facebook users with new and innovative marketing strategies. Considering the nature of Facebook, successful marketers would need to develop personal relationships with users. More to this, instead of the marketing rhetoric used in traditional media to draw attention to a product, a marketer on Facebook would need to ensure that the product marketed has value and that the promotions can be passed from one friend to another in the social network. Facebook was initially launched as a social networking site in 2004 by its founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg (McCarthy, 2010).
Since the site was not subscription-based, the only other way it could generate revenue was through advertisements placed on the site. Having become so popular over the years, advertisers are well aware that Facebook has a wide audience which they (advertisers) can target with their marketing tactics. Since advertising on SNSs was and still is an unfamiliar marketing strategy for marketers as well as the staff at Facebook, the latter has been working to present advertisers with avenues of advertising and hence capturing the attention of their target audiences better.
One such endeavor was the introduction of “ News Feed” . As Mccarthy (2010) explains, this introduction by Facebook was received with much skepticism by users especially because of privacy concerns. On its part, Facebook addressed the privacy issues and “ News Feed” remains a prominent feature in the social networking site. In 2007, Facebook introduced an advertising program dubbed the “ Beacon” .
Its intention was to use the application to provide Facebook users with a platform where they could interact and share commerce-related information, product reviews and also share their purchase experiences. However, this new addition raised privacy issues among users and even after modifications, it continued attracting lawsuits. Finally, it was withdrawn from the site altogether. Facebook “ connect” was a feature that was introduced soon after Beacon was withdrawn and allows users to share third party information on commerce and other undertakings in their social lives.
In 2008, Facebook brought more to its marketing platform by introducing the “ MarketPlace” section. However, this was later withdrawn (McCarthy, 2010). Issues identifiedThrough the above introduction section, it is apparent that Facebook users have more control over the applications that the site administrators choose to use in the marketing platform. This is in line with findings by Bernoff & Li (2008), who observes that in order for social networks to flourish in the contemporary marketing environment, they need to relinquish some power to their customers.