Going Brand Local With 14,500 Pages? McDonald’s Goes After Real-Time Chat.

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Marketing magazine’s Shona Gosh recently reported that McDonald’s is going to roll out 14,500 Facebook pages by 2015, and that they’ve already pushed out an astonishing 7,000, or so. According to Gosh’s report, the Golden Arches wants to connect with consumers in real-time, listen to customer complaints, and be able to follow the consumer journey beyond the restaurant. Gosh got an interesting quote from McDonald’s U.S. Digital Marketing Manager, David Martinelli, who had this to say about the initiative:

“We wanted to connect to them in the place they’re at and deliver that relevant content. It’s important to be part of the conversation and really understand what’s being said, and then join the conversation.”

What we’re wondering is – why Facebook? A few years ago it would have been an obvious choice among social apps, if not the only practical choice for reaching social media savvy consumers at-scale. But now, with a long tail of apps and social platforms where consumers are spending their time, we’re wondering if Facebook is the place to de-centralize your brand efforts for real-time chat?

The position of this author would be that Facebook will continue to be a hub of centralized brand content and communications, but it seems to be waning as the place where Millennials, not to mention Generation Z, go for chatting purposes. We’re not trying to knock the choice, just a little confused as to how 14,500 pages will be effective at inciting, let alone managing, a real-time consumer feedback loop.

Undoubtably, there was much debate and internal consideration to the decision to push a herculean volume of brand pages into the Facebook juggernaut. We cannot speculate on the reasons other than to state the obvious: Facebook has more reach than any other platform on the planet. But does reach necessarily equate to engagement or meaningful, two-way, communication?

A brand’s desire to explore real-time chat is an admirable initiative and clearly worthy of a digital marketer’s time, and we understand the need to be as inclusive as possible in terms of keeping the barrier to participating low, but we’re scratching our heads on this one.

It would be interesting to see what kind of test data or internal experiments Mickey D’s has on how real-time chat behavior currently works for selfie marketing.

As real-time, visual chat experts at SelfieYo, we’re more bullish on ephemeral mobile chat as a behavior that might provide insights. The trends we see in local, mobile behavior have a lot more to do with app-based, people-you-know type of short form content than it does going to Facebook for chat conversations.

We’d think that even Facebook knows this as they’ve recently decoupled their Messenger app from the primary Facebook mobile app.

Let’s see how this one shakes out.

Should be interesting!