Australian brand sites losing to the Social Web

There’s an interesting article published on digitalbuzz contending that the focus on driving customers to a brand site is no longer effective.  We have run the same analysis on the Australian market and the trends appear to be quite consistent: 50% declines in daily unique visits over the past 2 years (while search volumes for key terms in those categories remained the same or even increased).

Why the decline?

The DigitalBuzz article contends that;

  1. We are hanging out in social sites where relevant content finds us through our friends rather than searching out brands
  2. Content is being pushed off-site through mechanisms such as RSS Feeds, Twitter, YouTube Channels and Facebook Fan pages

It’s the second part that I’m interested in exploring but first some pretty graphs …

Car Makers

Google_trends_for_websites_hol

Electronics

Google_trends_for_websites_son

Computers

Google_trends_for_websites_del

Media

Google_trends_for_websites_smh

Okay – it all looks like we’re losing interest in the interwebs – but wait, all that attention is going somewhere …

Facebook & Twitter

Google_trends_for_websites_fac

Clearly facebook is the huge winner in terms of daily engagement although we may see twitter has made a good start and my overtake MySpace in the next 12 months!

What’s a brand to do?

I think the opportunity is for brands to start thinking of themselves as publishers – of useful information for their customers.  This means going beyond describing the product to telling stories about how it might impact someone’s life.  If this content is modular and shareable, it will find its way to social spaces where relevant conversations can happen around it.  These conversations are where trust is built and people move closer to a purchase decision.

Rather than pushing out campaign centric content on your timeline, it’s now important to be there (wherever your customers are) when they are in the buying cycle.

Recommendations

  • Create customer centred content thatis modular and has good metadata (descriptions)
  • Give permission (and guidelines) for people to take it to other online spaces
  • Attach a way to find you (for purchase or more info)
  • Put metrics on the important bits and pay attention to what’s working
  • Monitor conversations and participate when appropriate

Example

Here’s an an entry on Adam Brand’s (he’s a client) web site …

Adambrand

And here it is on his Facebook fan page where it gets a lot more interaction and social proof …

Adambrand_fb

So what do you think?