A lot of brands have a Facebook fan page now. It's becoming less and less "innovative" and more of a "standard" approach to viral marketing as time goes on. How brands utilize fan pages and applications on those pages is where innovation comes in. These pages are becoming a very hot place for consumers to interact with the brand, leaving traditional websites out in the dust. This recent article from Advertising Age discusses the "what if" scenario when your Facebook page traffic trumps your traditional website. With recent Facebook application developments from Carnival Cruises and Delta Airlines allowing customers to book trips via Fan Pages, the need for traditional websites seem to be phasing out. Or are they?
I've discussed before on Brain Wads how a home website is the mothership of social media efforts. A brand completely disregarding a home website presence for a Facebook Fan Page (or any social networking channel for that matter) would be making a poor decision. Relying completely on a fan page would be alienating a lot of potential - or even current customers - that aren't tapping into social media yet. Yes Facebook totes a half billion users and counting but there's still a lot of purchasing power not on social media yet. A brand's home website is like it's real home while the fan page can be like the brand's really sweet summer house on the beach.
That was an odd analogy but just go with it.
Home websites for brands aren't becoming irrelevant but more or less changing roles. The changes in the digital space are forcing companies to re-examine how their home pages are utilized. David Deal of Razorfish talks about Intel's home website evolution in one of his more recent blog posts. Intel turns how consumers shop for computers upside down. On their most renovated digital space, Intel reverses the computer shopping process, asking consumers how they use computers. From that input, the website gives suggestions on what type of processors they may need. They avoid the traditional "how to" guides in educating their customers in purchase decisions. Pretty innovative stuff!
So what do you all think? Is the concept of a home website changing form or gradually phasing out?