What Value is Delivered via Social Badges

Look at most any brand or product advertisement today and chances are you'll see badges for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, foursquare, LinkedIn, etc. displayed somewhere in the advertisement.

When those badges are linked to or clicked on by a consumer, what value or benefit does the consumer receive in exchange from the advertiser? Is there a value and benefit to begin with? While these questions are often asked in relation to 2D barcodes, and the value and benefit that are derived from scanning a code, can't the same question be asked when advertisers make use of these social-based badges?

If each of these badges, as well as 2D barcodes, represents and acts as a marketing channel/direct response mechanism then shouldn't some form of value or benefit be delivered or provided to the consumer via the badge? Sure, there are some advertisers who do a very good job in offering and delivering discounts, promotions, exclusive offers, special content, etc. to consumers who find their way to the badge link pages, but it seems as though this is only a handful of companies. To me, it seems as though the vast majority of companies just want to talk or make mention of their socially related web sites or pages, but have little interest in proactively delivering something of real value and benefit back to the consumer.

Is this a fair assessment and question to ask of what's going on? For some reason, and rightfully so, it seems appropriate to offer and deliver something of value and benefit to a consumer in exchange for the time and effort they make to scan an advertiser's 2D barcode, so again I ask, why should responding to a social badge be any different? Your thoughts.


  1. A Facebook badge says these:
    - This leads to a Facebook page
    - I know what to expect on Facebook
    - This is the advertiser's Facebook page
    - I will go there since I know what to expect, and if I'm interested, as I can expect to see photos and postings from other people on this same advertiser...

    That bears down to two things:
    1. I'm interested in the extended information of the advertiser
    2. I'm familiar/comfortable with the extended channel (Facebook) and I'm willing to take the time as I expect my return is worthwhile (of my "wasting" time going there) based on my educated knowledge about Facebook service.

    Now, ask yourself if a QR code can do that, especially point #2.

    Let's say that Tom Cruise has a Facebook badge and a "Tom Cruise" QR code, both out there, with "everything else being equal". Which (Facebook badge or QR code) will get more clicks? Your guess :-)

    Bottom line, human beings are animals by habits, and "brand" or "established channel" takes away the pain of learning. Going by habit is much easier, we like to stay in our comfort zone, especially in the world of split-second clickings :-)

    Nothing against 2D barcodes, just the matter of how to position a technology/service at its sweet spot among the others. Complement and survive.

  2. YJ: Thank you for your comments.

    In short, I believe you are making a number of assumptions that hold very little water or merit. Where were we when the Internet started, best I can recall there were no habits...now look at us.

    With respect to a Facebook page, it's anyone's guess as to what a company can have posted on their page, let alone what value or benefit they may or may not provide/offer.

    I believe what you and others suffer from is laziness, plain and simple. Laziness to just assume consumers know certain things or expect certain things when in reality that could be the furthest from the truth.

  3. I have to agree with your reply, Roger. There is an intellectual laziness in making assumptions and using the 'creatures of habit' line. Every time I hear it I look for the missed opportunity!

    It is true that people get irate about QR Codes that don't give much by way of content, yet the same people don't bat an eye at bland and unengaging Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. I've even seen a number companies include the social media icons on print ads with no supporting details! What am I supposed to do with those?!

    Similarly, people are enraged by QR Codes in underground stations and trains, where there is no wifi or 3G reception. But where is the same spleen venting over the millions of URLs displayed in the same advertising spaces? At least with a QR Code I can quickly scan it and save it for later, safe in theknowledge that I haven't copied the URL down wrong.

  4. Perhaps the lazy response should be replaced with a simple question:

    If you're the CMO given a campaign budget for one and only channel to go with, namely:
    1. 2D barcode
    2. Facebook
    3. Twitter
    What's your choice if you were the CMO, and why?

    Pleae, one and only choice, even though I know that you're going to say that a fully integrated all-grounds-covered campaign makes better sense...

    One and only choice, so that we get to the gut feeling of the daily CMOs.

  5. @YJ

    Your question is too general to answer. The channel of choice is entirely dependant on the individual campaign and so differs depending the product or service it is for, what the intention is and who it is targeting.