matt ramsay

Are FMCG websites finished?

You are not still pushing websites are you? Are they not dead?' This was a recent conversation with a digital planner from a media agency. As with all marketing communications, choosing the correct channel to reach the consumer depends on the brief, the product, the audience and the objectives; in some cases this will be a website, where appropriate.

fmcg websiteWith changes in consumer behaviour, towards social media and mobile engagement, naturally digital activity must move into these areas, to ‘fish where the fish are…’ 

Brand web sites are still relevant for more in-depth brand encounters...

... a view shared by Millward Brown – but whether FMCG websites are relevant is not the heart of the issue; the issue is the role they perform in the campaign.

In January 2010 Coke announced it was dropping campaign sites in favour of social media, and in 2011 Facebook made it much easier for brands to create and control a richer presence within the site, using iFrames to draw in rich content.  

This means that a deeper brand engagement can now be delivered through facebook.  But, not everyone wants to do everything on facebook - brands and consumers.

A two-tier model of the open web and semi-walled gardens

Millward Brown observed, “The internet will continue to splinter into a two-tier model of the public open Web and semi-walled gardens (social networks like Facebook…)”

We beleive that walled gardens should be used alongside, and in collaboration with the ‘open’ web – to ensure that the appropriate channels and their inherent benefits and functionality fit into the overall campaign mix – e.g. facebook pages to drive engagement and viral spread on facebook, twitter to drive conversation.

Growth of the mobile web

Consumer’s behavior is developing in another significant area – mobile web browsing, with 86% of mobile internet users are using their devices whilst watching TV, and 40% use mobile to find more information after seeing a product advertised on TV (Microsoft research).

Add in the significant growth of web-enabled mobile devices; tablet PC’s and smart phones - Gartner Research predicts massive growth in tablets by 2015 – and smart phones sales overtook PC sales in the first quarter of this year (82m PCs sold globally vs. 100m smartphones) 

Consumers are using mobile devices to search for web content and information, and in some cases, right up to the point of sale. These devices feature web browsers, so they need web sites - mobile web sites – albeit in a very different guise to the PC-based FMCG brand websites of today.

Take a different approach

In summary, we would prefer to ask ‘How do I use digital channels to connect this brand to the consumer?’ – and base the answer and the digital channel choices on the campaign strategy, the target consumer, where they are and what we want them do.  

FMCG websites aren't dead, but they certainly won't be what they used to be.


Posted by Mark, 26 June 2011

First of all "Would you trust Facebook with your business?' based on their history and corporate DNA , the answer would have to be a resounding no.

Also would you want your business to become dependent on a third party over which you have no control?

Others have pointed out that things like Facebook are transitional technologies and may not last the distance.

Moving on to mobile, many mobile web users hate mobile websites because they get a "cut down" experience, often lacking key data.

So they actively seek out apps that bypass the mobile site and deliver them the whole main site.


matt ramsay Activation matt ramsay
Company: Activation
Position: Managing Director
Matt is co founder of Activation, and brings over 16 years marketing agency experience with him, including over 10 years in all areas of digital marketing. Matt set up Activation to bring his understanding and experience of how digital can really benefit FMCG and consumer brands to the market with a very clear proposition Read matt's full bio

Latest Articles by matt

April 15 | How do shoppers use digital to find out about promotions?
March 31 | Targeted product sampling through facebook - why aren't more brands doing this?

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