Things I’ve Learned from Lately #47

“Things I’ve Learned from Lately” is a regular compilation of articles that have made me a smarter marketer. Hopefully, they’ll help you, too.

Facebook’s Decline in Japan – John Stuart writes that Facebook’s popularity in Japan is waning with user numbers declining. Other platforms, including an instant messaging app called LINE, are growing in popularity, partly because of their simplicity.

Key Takeaway: Is this the beginning of the end for Facebook in Japan? This article says signs point to yes. Japan and other Asian countries are usually a good source for early information on digital trends we can expect to see in other countries. Facebook is likely watching this closely, and it’s started to prepare by making mobile acquisitions, launching apps like Poke and diversifying its revenue sources slowly but surely.

Forget Transparency - Bob Knorpp breaks down the idea of transparency in this AdAge blogs piece. He notes that transparency is not something brands should always strive for. It’s risky. Instead, brands should focus on what Knorpp argues is more valuable, authenticity. Authenticity is about being true to what a business is as a company—communicating and behaving with a clear notion of what the brand stands for.

Key Takeaway: Knorpp sums up his argument beautifully when he writes, “Somewhere along the line we drank our own Kool-Aid and started to believe consumers or clients care more than they do.” Brands don’t need to strive for complete transparency. They need to strive for being relevant and consistently delivering what they stand for.

Coded Not to Read – Farhad Manjoo writes in Slate that most people do not finish articles they start reading on the Web. They lack the focus. Most people read about 60% of an article. The danger is that readers may miss some of the most compelling pieces of content in the article. In addition, people also share stories they haven’t completely read to their social networks.

Key Takeaway: We are in an age of short attention spans and skimming—the shorter, the better. Whether this is a good or bad thing is up for debate. What isn’t up for debate is the need for marketers to exercise brevity and to get their message out simply and quickly.

Facebook Home at Odds with Computer Users – The MIT Technology Review takes a look at Facebook Home, and it determines: 1.) Facebook’s interface is at odds with how people use computers and 2.) Facebook’s vision for the Internet is different than that of other companies. Facebook Home, unlike Google Android or iOS aims to build and grow a user’s social graph to grow each user’s data structure. That allows it to deliver better ads more often. This approach requires users to make compromises with Home as it sometimes oversteps its boundaries and puts people before apps on their computing devices.

Key Takeaway: Facebook is a fascinating company in how it works, grown and continues to push itself forward. Home is one platform in which Facebook took a risk to see how far it could push itself onto users. Now, we wait to see if users push back or embrace it.