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Monday, 23 June 2008

The power of context, as shown by facebook

I know there has been a lot of press, and some false starts, with Facebook's attempts to deliver ads based on a user's interests and what they get up to on the site (or even partner sites).

There was some learning for me recently.

First of all: something I found intrusive

I had posted a review of a hotel on one of my most favourite travel sites, Tripadvisor.com. A small pop-up appeared on the bottom right of my screen saying that a note that I had posted a review on Tripadvisor was going to be posted onto my facebook mini-feed on my profile.

I was surprised and then a bit annoyed. I guess I must have somewhere at sometime told either of the sites I used the other. But this felt a bit like snooping. And I wasn't really sure of the benefit to me.

Secondly: something I thought was pretty cool.

I had received an email from a friend on facebook asking if I knew someone that tracked and managed user generated content to be submitted onto brand or company websites. I started writing him a note back suggesting he speak to Dan Hawtrey who used to work with me who now had his own internet/ intranet content management company called Content Formula. When I typed in the name a small ad and link for the company appeared and I was asked if I wanted to include that in my reply.

I thought it was a really cool, helpful feature. It saved me looking up Dan's contact details and site and gave the person I was sending the suggestion to relevant information. I also did not find it intrusive as it was not personal but triggered by me typing within their site a brand / company name.

This was a good example of getting contextual advertising right. Information relevant when topic and need was there.

Any thoughts? Leave a comment on the blog using the comments button at the bottom of the posting or email me at gary@bembridge.co.uk