Monday, August 4, 2008

Facebook ... when are you coming to Australia?

Am I the only one confused as to why Facebook hasn't launched local operations.

For one, they have 3.2m users here.

Two, they currently have a pretty sluggish ad business here and don't seem to be nailing the premium advertisers.

Three, there will be a need sooner or later for Facebook to localise some elements of the platform. Myspace has, relatively successfully, incorporated local content via it's music, fashion, music and impact channels which has given them column inches as well as held most of their audiences interest.

Yes, I am aware Facebook and myspace are pretty different plays (Facebook is a platform and a connector, myspace is becoming increasingly more of a content play), but it still doesn't remove the need to integrate with the locals.

Personally I believe to really cut through in this market publishers need a local edge or at least an angle. Utilities don't ... but the bigger ad dollars aren't in placing ads on anothers utility.

As well as this, I believe Facebook needs to drive a category education job for advertisers and agencies in regards to the best ways to use the platform. Yes, we know users are on it and they are using it regularly. The confusing element is how advertisers can use Facebook without either being cliched, annoying or heaven forbid, both. No one knows the Facebook platform better than Facebook.

Facebook growth has flattened somewhat in the past quarter so the timing seems pretty good to step into the local market and press the flesh. Google has had some success in the past 12 months establishing a deeper agency sales team and knowledge base - in terms of visibility, market service and no doubt revenues. It has also meant Google has taken a leadership position in spruiking the business benefits of search to advertisers - something Yahoo! hasn't done as well.

So, Facebook ... where the bloody hell are you?

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