MySpace was started on the idea of self-promotion, where your profile was your public face to the web. It should be a place to promote your band, your comedy, your videos, or whatever. You can create networks by “friending” fans, or similar artists. Facebook was started with the idea of, well, a “collegiate face book”. It was a place where you would join a network, and find and meet people on that network. Initially these networks were colleges, and then came high schools, companies, and finally it was opened to the public. You can only see the profiles of people in your network, or that are explicitly your friends. After being out in the world for a couple of years each, these two rivals do have some crossover, but they are becoming more and more different.
MySpace has become a Social Media Portal. It’s where people come to discover bands their friends like, watch the latest trailer to some independent movie because their favorite band did a song on the soundtrack. There are games to play, even karaoke. It’s a destination to browse and discover. It has become a social media content provider that is becoming more of a movie studio, record label, magazine, or television studio.
Facebook has become a Social “Hang Out” Network. It’s a destination to see what your friend’s are doing, find old friends from high school or college and catch up. It organizes and aggregates activities, comments, events, causes, and photos. There is not as much browsing but more reading and commenting. Where MySpace is a content provider, Facebook is a gigantic conversation between millions of users.
Each site offers similar marketing possibilities. MySpace offers custom communities/profiles as a pay service. It allows fully customized and branded web pages hosted on MySpace and tied into their social network (Example: http://www.myspace.com/harley-davidson). Facebook also provides a similar feature called a product page which is free, but does not allow the same customization (Example: http://www.facebook.com/harley-davidson). Both MySpace and Facebook offer a “pay-per-click” ads that can be target to specific demographics. But, some would say all the “ad noise” on MySpace makes these ads get lost on the page. For big ticket marketing, MySpace offers page takeovers. This will allow a campaign to sponsor and theme a complete page (like the homepage) and take over multiple ad spaces on the page. Currently Facebook has nothing similar to this.
So where do you market your next campaign? Well, that depends on the tools you need, your target audience and your budget. These two rivals both supply the tools (each one has its strength), and each one has a huge audience (each one there for a different reason). It just a matter of which is right for your campaign. In a follow up post I will give some reasons why one website is better for certain campaign types, and the other is better for other campaign types. I’ll provide some examples, too. Keep checking back, or post a comment if you have a specific question or point.