Pretty much every website I’ve visited in the last month had a Google Adsense ad for FaceOff – even if it was on a site with unrelated content. Maybe this was a marketing mistake, or it was marketing genius.
We take it for granted that you should really just spend your advertising dollars on a website that attracts a complementary audience – a readership that may naturally have an interest in your own business and possibly flock to you as well. It seems to me that FaceOff pretty much ignored this rule and plastered their ads across most of the websites I’ve visited…and I visit A LOT of websites across at least five or six industries.
So I got curious and I checked it out, and I’m guessing a lot of other people did too. Not all viewers would be marketers or business owners but you can guarantee a pretty high percentage of people will be talking about it with others. In my eyes, FaceOff scores a branding win-win. They’ve attracted the core audience and they’ve attracted an outside target audience that now is likely to recognize their growing brand and possibly bring it up as a point of conversation with others.
Aside from having their own branding awareness in mind, the company created the social app to foster brand ideas competing with each other. This, curiously enough, is a completely new idea to me. Think of it as 80s dance-off movies remolded for a digital marketing audience. Think of it as a step evolving from a continued interest in competition – from reality TV to Jessica Alba’s husband’s peer competition site ibeatyou.com, to popular Spike TV show Deadliest Warrior.
Created by idea management guru Spigit, FaceOff has an overall poor design and user interface that promotes the idea of competition between sites (rather than competitive sites themselves). Its first impression left me thinking it was some sort of teen-designed gamer site. For FaceOff to really do better it has to start with its own design, from the ads to the website. Other than that, I’m interested to see how it develops further. At the very least, it leaves us business owners and marketers with inspiration to launch our own company-held contests to help promote creativity, increase authority and attract industry and/or customer engagement.
Competition is clearly popular. It draws in an audience, filters out bad ideas from good ones and good ones from great ones, and it promotes creativity. It’s also here to stay for the foreseeable future and it’s likely FaceOff has tapped into something big.
Beyond that aesthetic obstacle, FaceOff is simple to use. You get two choices about a brand and you make a choice. What’s not clear is what the point really is. Sure there’s a brand intelligence and innovation harnessing benefit for the brands and industries, but what do the users get out of it? What benefit would Average Joe reap from going on there and picking between what seems like an endless chain of questions? At some point, say 15 FaceOffs in, it gets monotonous. What’s lost in monotony is gained in seeing “crowds in action,” as FaceOff phrases it. Even if it’s just 15 or so FaceOffs in, 15 X (however many people interacting) creates a powerful index that helps capture audience perception. And any business that can better understand the audience, what they think and what they want, will know what direction they need to be headed in and how to market that next step.
So what’s the conclusion? Brands should at least check out how FaceOff harnesses crowd sourced ideas. In the meantime, hang on tight in hopes that the user interface will be improved upon.