Close your corporate website and move to Facebook?
Earlier this week the Swedish arm of international advertising agency Grey decided to shut down their corporate website (and blog) and move their site over to a Facebook page. Idiot move or genius?
Maintaining a website: Boring and awkward?
According to David Schweiler, Digital director at Grey in an article on Resumé, the big advantage of moving to Facebook is that “[you] don’t have to update your regular website anymore, which is both boring and awkward”.
On their website there is a screenshot of a Facebook status update saying that they have moved to Facebook because “We want be where people already are.” and then say that 2.5 million Swedes are already there.
Generally if you have an existing website, then I wouldn’t recommend that you delete it overnight and switch over almost entirely to Facebook. There’s a number of reasons why that’s a silly thing to do – one of which is that it rips the heart out of your search engine profile, leaving customers searching and finding nothing, or at best a page not found.
…But nothing much to lose
In Grey Stockholm’s case, they really didn’t have much to lose. Their old regular site was totally built in flash. It was almost certainly difficult for them to maintain and update. Probably also difficult to measure and assess the success of the site in fulfilling its goals.
As a result of being a (poorly constructed) flash-based site, their entire profile in Google consists of 7 pages, most of which is scrap that shouldn’t really be indexed, but has been picked up and included by Google.
From one walled-garden to another
So by moving their website to Facebook they have effectively moved from one walled garden (Flash) to another walled garden (Facebook). Yes, it’s going to be easier for them to publish updates. Yes, potentially they are going to bring themselves closer to their customers than the site did – but that’s more of a reflection on their (old) site rather than websites at large.
What this series of events in the development of their web presence shows is the agency’s lack of understanding of how the web actually works. A lack of understanding of search engines. A lack of understanding of task-based surfing behaviour. A lack of understanding of some basic web standards and techniques. Sadly this is all too common for traditional advertising agencies.
Facebook is no substitute
Grey may be saying that they’ve moved their site to Facebook, but there are certainly numerous tasks and situations where a well thought through and effective “regular” website would be perfect. Situations where a Facebook page is no substitute.
In the hours since Resume published their article they have doubled their number of Facebook fans from 77 to 154. So, perhaps one goal has been reached.
A Swedish take on Grey’s move to Facebook by Magnus Nilsson can be read here: Flytta från webben till sociala medier och blotta ditt nederlag and another one here by Thord Daniel Hedengren: Reklambyrå stänger sin sajt och flyttar till Facebook.
Grey Stockholm recently merged with Ogilvy Stockholm to form a new agency called Ingo. In connection with this merger Grey renamed their Facebook page from greystockholm to ingo.