What’s the value of an online recommendation anyway?
Been a bit slack on the ‘ol blogging front so here is one for you….
What’s your favourite TV show right now? What show do you absolutely make an appointment to watch? Which show do you literally hate to miss?
We talk about all TV shows we flog at Red Bee being ‘appointment to view’ tele but rarely do people ACTUALLY make an ‘appointment’ to view. TV is good. But it’s rarely that good.
It’s a common misconception within marketing departments – that people give a shit about brands. Particularly so for TV channel brands where the a) vast majority of TV is consumed really in a rather joyously passive manner (which in reality is actually what makes TV so wide -spread in its appeal… but that’s a whole other blog post) and b) the primary relationship amongst viewers is with the programme brand, not the channel’s. So is there a gap in the market for a programme recommendation engine that invites people to share recommendations they feel strongly about – tele that deserves your recommendation?
The inspiration for this thought came from a new music service called ‘This is my Jam’ which I stumbled across last week.
This is My Jam aims to answer the question “What’s your favorite song right now?” In their words, “Not any old track, but THAT song; the one that’s on repeat, the one you can’t get out of your head today, the one worth shouting about.” It’s a great little site and its appeal for me lies in the knowledge that other users have very carefully considered what it is they want to share and recommend with you because your ‘Jam’ (your song choice) is only playable for one week or until you select a new one – your ‘jam’ needs some thought.
The release of this new service is timely. As ‘check-ins’/’likes’/’watched’ etc via Facebook or third party apps like GetGlue become ever more omnipresent in our world, sites like ‘This is my Jam’ tap into a new insight – that people are more than happy to share their media consumption habits (through ‘liking’ stuff etc) but this does not necessarily constitute an act of recommendation anymore. For two reasons;
1. The diminishing value of a Facebook ‘like’. I’m watching/ liking/ checking in to… Well, isn’t telling someone your ‘liking’ something an act of recommendation? Perhaps it is in the real world, but the value of a Facebook ‘like’ isn’t quite as strong as marketers might hope for. In one study cited in a recent article by WOM research specialists Keller fay which looked at the top 200 brand pages over a six week period last October, only a very small number of fans –1.3% according to the study–engaged with the fan pages during the course of a week. And many of these are the result of an initial “like.” Among those who have already liked the brand in the past, engagement drops to a mere 0.45%. Meanwhile another study from emarketer revealed the vast majority of us are far more mercenary in our motivations for ‘liking’ something on Facebook in that we do it in the hope of bagging freebies in return.
2. ‘Liking’ something is more often than not a badging exercise born out of human being’s innate ‘status anxiety’. In his book of the same name, Alain De Botton discusses the desire of people in modern society to ‘climb the social ladder’. What the popularity of networks like Facebook has created is an increased visibility amongst our peers – (the Telegraph reported the average 22 year old has over 1000 Facebook friends) and that means that stuff that we ‘like’ on Facebook is actually simply a proxy for what we think we should ‘like’ in front of others.
So we need new ways of imbuing value in our online recommendations. With TV programming being such a big catalyst for conversations online, is there room for a new system of TV content recommendation? One that puts the emphasis back on your personal, considered recommendation rather than personal, flippant consumption? Looking forward to your thoughts…