While I agree with many of the points of the recent iMediaConnection article, “The Shortcomings of Facebook â€˜Likes’,” particularly the idea that campaigns-social or otherwise-shouldn’t put all of their faith into one medium or another, I think comparing SMS to Likes is like comparing apples to car batteries. They are completely different.
SMS costs money, requires engagement and has a definite “ask” for the consumer, unlike a “like.” SMS wants the end user to do something and gives them something in return, usually a coupon or special offer. A “like” is nothing like that. Additionally, the “value” when social media is combined with mobile is unpredictable and faulty. Social media can be an important part of an advertising campaign, but should not be its entire focus.
Consider what social media provides the end user: In some cases, interaction with a brand. What exactly xactly does that mean? Unless companies are taking advantage of Facebook deals or offering Facebook-only coupons (there are some large national brands that do this well, such as Gap and CVS), SMS is going to have a higher value-and a higher ROI for the campaign.
I also agree strongly with this statement in the article: “Brands are winning fans, but without mobile marketing they are losing a generation of buyers. SMS provides five to ten times increased conversion rates over social and traditional campaigns. If your brand is still on the sidelines as it relates to mobile, the best place to start is with SMS. Tying it in with your other media is a sure way to determine if your collective campaign’s efforts are winning conversions. â€˜Likes’ alone will only get you half-way there.”
“Half-way there” is a little too optimistic in our experience. We’ve had much better results with mobile to date than with Facebook-only campaigns, though we’ve done them at a client’s insistence. Luckily, the “shiny new object” appeal of Facebook isn’t quite as shiny after we provide clients with end-of-campaign detailed reports and cost-benefit analysis. Once we demonstrate that the conversion rate on a Facebook portion of a campaign is a ROI nightmare by comparison to display, mobile, and other aspects of the campaign, our clients tend to join us on the side of caution when it comes to putting all of their ad dollars into garnering “likes” on Facebook.