Thursday, 23 June 2011

Mail Online overtakes BBC

So, it's finally happened! The Mail online has finally smashed the monthly traffic record for a UK website and has overtaken BBC online.

The Mail has been gunning for the Beeb for many years but this is a moment for anyone interested in online communications to sit back and applaud the strategy.

In reaching for an international audience, as pointed out by Asda's Dom Burch in a CIPR North West summer social event yesterday, the Mail has become the gossip and celebrity site of choice for web users on both sides of the Atlantic.

The publication clearly aims for a wider audience than its sister print channel and in PR circles, it is becoming widely seen as the place to launch a consumer or celebrity story; especially as many newspapers and news sites now unashamedly take the Mail online's content as their own.

While the Mail isn't a popular newspaper among the left, this web achievement is certainly something paying dividends for them and Mr Murdoch will no doubt be looking to address this soon.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Facebook makes another PR Fail

My wife is an interesting and talented woman, yet she has no time for marketing. She likes what she likes, she goes by her own instincts. So when, three weeks ago, I came in to see her deleting many of her Facebook albums, I was curious why this was?

Her response? "I don't trust it (Facebook), you don't know who is looking at them."

So it was with great interest that I digested the latest PR fail from Facebook which has seen the company on the defensive today over the use of facial recognition to tag photos, a feature they launched in the US last year but have now introduced globally.

I don't have a problem with big brands, I imagine working in PR would be a challenge otherwise. So for that reason I don't buy in to the 'Facebook bashing' which seems to be the preoccupation of many bloggers; yet the issue for Facebook is that there have been so many of these slip-ups that it's now a mainstream issue - my wife wouldn't be worried about it if it wasn't.

To put it another way, Facebook is becoming famous for having a poor privacy policy. If you put 'Facebook privacy' in to a news reader you will get between 450-700 recent articles from across the globe. That's a statistic which doesn't need to be analysed.

Privacy becomes even more important when one considers the growth of content curation (read @JamesCrawford at his blog for more on this) and the growth of the cloud consumer.

As discussed in this interesting Marketing Week article, the growth of social channels is being driven by cloud consumers who, typically, create 90 pieces of content a week on Facebook.

Now this content is why every brand is flocking to Facebook, they want this content to link to, endorse and interact with their brands. So the more data Facebook gives them, the more accurate this spend can be.

But here's the rub. For every brand page, Facebook still grew on the bread and butter of people sharing very personal information with their friends in a way never done before. My wife is, effectively, a cloud consumer in the rawest sense. She uses the technology and channels to live her life and take part in online communities, she uses it to keep friends and family up to date with the progress of our children. Clearly, however, Facebook's reputation has altered enough for this cloud to turn a shade of grey and the negative media coverage has affected her behaviour.

A personal example, yes, but not a one-off. It's an issue Facebook's reputation managers need to address as it reaches the heart of debate over privacy versus marketing and there's nothing to say that if the cloud consumers don't like what they here that they couldn't float away elsewhere.

Because behind every cloud is a competitor with some silver lining.