Intelligence Summaries

Intelligence Summaries

Paypal releases Paypal HERE device

In Brief:

Paypal is now offering Australian customers the option to buy a device to swipe credit cards directly on their phone.  Called Paypal Here, it’s similar to a startup (Square) which took the US by storm a number of years ago, but which hadn’t yet reached our shores.  There’s an approval process, requiring you to have a verified paypal account, and the device itself, which is low cost – $139 at time of writing.

(click on the Analysis tab below for implications and opportunities)

Facebook Bans Incentivised ‘Likes’ for Pages and Apps

In Brief:

The policies have just changed, and people have until early November to comply, but offering incentives for people to ‘Like’ your Facebook page – to enter a competition, or even just to see some hidden content – is no longer allowed.  Of course you can pay Facebook to run ads to send people to your page (Promoted Page Likes), which may have something to do with the change, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s here, and it’s going to hit hard on some of the more creative marketing methodologies.

Analysis of:

  • What it Means:

    If you’re in business, you now have a whole lot more competition.  Anyone, basically.  Business used to have an advantage in being able to take payments at the point where the buyer made the decision, without needing them to go find an ATM, transfer money, or go online.  That advantage is essentially gone.  Even party sales planners will now be able to take cards at point of sale.

    Opportunities:

    If you’re a small to mid size business, signing up gives you an obvious advantage.  You can take your offering anywhere.  Expos, Community Fetes and Fairs, Local Markets or Networking events.   The fees are one thing you’ll have to factor into your pricing, but for a sale you wouldn’t otherwise have got, it’s worth considering.

    The caveat is: this is Paypal, who are known to be highly proactive in fraud prevention.  They can and have frozen accounts for unusually busy activity, so if you’ve got an Expo or some kind of event coming up, I strongly suggest you connect with them in advance to let them know.  If you use it to build organic style growth in the lead up, you’ll face less problems than if you order it to arrive a day before you expect to swipe 300 cards.

    Longer term:

    There are two social movements which this will feed into and facilitate.  One is the trend to entrepreneurship, and the second is a growing push for people to establish second (or multiple) streams of income besides their jobs.   Offerings that can be competed on with price alone are going to have trouble in the mid to long term because of the increase in competition.  However, price is not always the deciding factor.  Admittedly it does often serve as a default one, where nobody stands out for other reasons, but quality is the obvious example – when you last went on holiday, did you choose to stay at the $50 hostel or something that had the right number of stars (and THEN compared price).

    If you haven’t done any work on defining your USP (unique selling proposition) then now is definitely the time.  If you have a branding strategy, you need to start enhancing it specifically to differentiate yourself.  One of the critical points in the age of social media where all too few are working, but all too many customers are indicating they want, is the dimension of trust.  This begins with – although it definitely doesn’t end with – getting feedback and referrals from your existing clients.  Ideally in such a way that they are motivated to help at the same time as building their loyalty to you.  No, that doesn’t mean cash – that strategy can actually backfire and lose the trust you already have.

  • What it Means:

    This is a shift that moves Facebook squarely out of the realm of social media for personal use, and makes it clear how much further down the ad-based road that Google popularised they have gone.  Where businesses were driving people to their facebook page because it was a site where they already spent time, and they could get creative in what brought them there, now the push seems to be for you to use it strictly as a communication channel.  Creative ways to attract new people are going to have to be either content-creativity, or managed externally to Facebook.

    On the bright side, it does mean you should get a better idea of how many people are actually liking your page, as opposed to entering your competition.  That can be valuable feedback. 

    Opportunities:

    Your growth/customer attraction strategy may or may not need a rework, depending on how much you used incentives. This is also the point where you might want to revisit your communication strategy, and choose which channels you’re going to use, for what purpose.  If you have a mailing list, and you send out a newsletter, you can still incentivise people to distribute it and get more signups there – and there’s nothing stopping you still sending people to your facebook page from your newsletter, you just can’t promise them a reward for it.  Alternatively, you might choose to try to drive people to your own website, or a different social media platform which might fit your strategy better.

    I strongly suggest: if you have direct competitors and a competitive intelligence strategy, you will want to take note of their Facebook ‘like’ counts at this point, and intermittently between now and November.  That will give you a baseline, so from that point you’ll be able to measure their actual growth in customer engagement as the policy takes effect. 

    Longer term:

    Facebook has enjoyed some of the highest engagement levels of any site in recent years, but they are also taking increasing flak for how arbitrarily they treat their users, and the degree of control they exercise via their policy.  It remains to be seen if their time on site is affected by this, but I am definitely seeing a lot more discontent being expressed.  Right now it’s not clear whether facebook is still about connecting people (original purpose), or selling ads.  It’s a delicate balance and if they don’t increase their customer satisfaction in the near future, there is definite potential for other social media to overtake it.

    Just because they’re big, doesn’t mean they’ll be around forever.  This is the digital age, and things can change fast.  You might want to evaluate whether it is delivering what you want from it, and if not, review its place in your strategy.  From what I see online right now, the consequences of not having a Facebook presence are getting smaller.  

     

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