In response to the rise of the application economy, Wired is running a sensational piece about the web being dead. Yawn…
But Wired is not alone in this. Pete Blackshaw, one of the most trusted voices in the marcom space, is asking, “Do brand websites still matter?” Behind his rhetorical question is the idea that the social web and mobile apps are gaining prominence, while brand sites wither on the digital vine.
According to Ad Age, for many marketers Facebook fan pages have become their largest web presence, outstripping brand sites or e-mail programs. For instance, Coca-Cola has over 10 million Facebook fans and makes 96,000 new fans a day, but had only a quarter million visits to its brand site in July.
Blackshaw, by the way, believes in the vitality of websites. He also neatly describes a brand’s extended ecosystem of social sites and apps as “brand stands.”
A smart website feeds and refreshes the brand stands. It anchors the brand database, arguably the most coveted asset, and sets the tone and standard for the brand’s ethos and attitude about feedback, expression and service. Put another way, it establishes that first critical (often unforgettable) impression. A great website also smartly syndicates, re-circulates and curates social content from the brand stands.
Okay! So nothing’s dead. Quite the opposite, in fact. Mathew Ingram of GigaOm argues that “the web is healthier than ever. If nothing else, the dramatic growth of Facebook, which most people interact with through their web browser, should help to cement that idea.”