According to Cnet.com, Stephen Haines, commercial director of Facebook’s U.K. operation, says companies using Facebook interact with their customers so much more than their own websites that eventually people will not need websites.
Speaking at the Technology for Marketing and Advertising conference in London, “Haines showed statistics comparing how many times Facebook users have clicked a company’s “like” button with how many times per month people visited that company’s Web site.”
“For Starbucks, a top Facebook advertiser, the ratio was 21.1 million likes to 1.8 million site visitors. For Coca-Cola, it’s 20.5 million compared with 270,000; for Oreo, 10.1 million compared with 290,000; and for Dr. Pepper, it’s 4.1 million compared with 325,000.
“His idea isn’t totally outrageous.”
“After all, plenty of individuals and companies rely on existing online services rather than building everything from scratch. At the individual level, tools such as Google’s Blogger or Yahoo’s Flickr are easier to set up than a custom-built blog or photo-sharing site. Facebook interactions let companies tap into a wealth of customer information and a communication channel, and there’s no need to coax a user to set up yet another username and password.”
“Facebook has a variety of tools available to marketers:”
“Ways to offer free samples to customers, something ketchup maker Heinz has used.”
“The ability to attract the attention of smartphone users making local check-ins.”
“Clothing retailer The Gap gave away 10,000 pairs of jeans to the first 10,000 customers to use the Facebook local check-in service, and Mazda sold 100 cars–exceeding expectations–with a 20-percent-off offer at five U.K. auto dealerships, Haines said.”
“The ability to build e-commerce sites into Facebook pages. Max Factor didn’t want to lose visitors to its Facebook page to another site when customers were ready to buy something, so a partnership with Amazon lets the customers buy products without leaving.”
“Reach block” ads that change as many as five times in a 24-hour period to send a sequence of ad messages to Facebook users.
“Surveys that let companies try to engage customers in company decisions. Vitamin water used voting, among other mechanisms, to generate 1.3 million connections”.
“Applications built atop Facebook’s interface that let companies create custom-made interactive programs.”
Of course an executive of Facebook saying that at the end of the day Facebook will win and sites will lose is not unexpected, but there is a sentiment that this will actually happen and while you can argue with the conclusions in the story, you certainly can’t argue with the fact that a lot of companies are now putting faceboook.com/brand in their advertising instead of their websites’ URL.