Thank you @behindsport for providing me with the idea for a new blog post. Or should I say, the opportunity to reiterate a point I’ve written/talked/argued about on many occasions including this post that questions our obsession with “vanity metrics”.
Kevin De Bruyne posted his first TikTok 4 days ago and now has how over 2 million followers, 5 million likes, and nearly 30 million video views….. I say SO WHAT?
He’s also got 16.9 million followers on Instagram, 16 million on Facebook, and 3.1m on Twitter, but my question is Kevin, how many of these followers do you actually know, how many can you actually say are your customers as opposed to Insta’s, Facebook’s, Twitter’s, and now, TikTok’s? (Ok so I know you probably don’t view them as “customers”, I know they’re so much more than that to you, they’re your fans, they care about you, and you care about them. But fundamentally Kevin, when we get right down to the true meaning of “customers”, i.e. unrelated to how much money they spend with you and instead looking at what they want from you, they are indeed your customers. And, even if you don’t buy into that principle, you can be sure that Insta, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok definitely see them as customers.)
But let me clarify. I’m not so naive that I don’t understand the commercial value these channels provide – I know that Kevin’s reach, following, engagement, etc., all support his commercial model right now: the direct revenue generated from ads placed within his social channels, as well as the indirect revenue from corporate partnerships that are influenced, in part, because of his social channel data.
The Data that REALLY Matters
But what about the data that really matters, what about the data that is more valuable to Kevin De Bruyne than all the social followers in the world, what about your first party data, the data in the Kevin De Bruyne database?
Well it looks like you don’t have any – or if you do, my ability to make it into your database is not as easy as it is to follow you (man, I could do that with an accidental thumb swipe….not much engagement needed to do that, and accurately representative of the tenuous nature of my relationship with you…and therefore my commercial value to you.)
Kevin, what would really make a difference to your commercial value – not just now but years ahead from now – is your own database of Kevin De Bruyne fans. You need to know who they are, what they look like, where they live, and most importantly, how you contact them. With their full permission of course.
The Kevin De Bruyne Legacy
But if, per chance, you don’t expect to be commercially active once your playing career is over, if you decide to hang up not just your boots but also your drive, if you decide not to use your global fame, adulation, and impact to make a difference through your own foundation, your legacy, then perhaps this post will be irrelevant. Let’s face it, who needs a massive database of highly engaged fans if you’re just playing golf and enjoying retirement with your kids?
But OMG Kevin, if you do start to think more strategically – if you do think about how much more valuable it is to build your own database of “customers” rather than to help TikTok build theirs – then trust me, you’re sitting on an undiscovered goldmine, an untapped oil reserve. And if you don’t believe me, then just take a quick read of this short Forbes article – Your Company’s Data May Be Worth More Than Your Company by Douglas B Laney, the thought leader in infonomics (aka data as a corporate asset).
Kevin, please feel free to get in touch so we can help you start to build your own database. But if you choose not to, that’s ok. Just know that in joining TikTok you’re adding masses to the value of their brand. But very little to your own.
P.S. If you still need more convincing that it’s your first party data (i.e. your database) that will make a difference to your future, not your social followers, this article might give you a nudge. Let’s face it, if Google says that first party data is more valuable than third party, well, you’ve got to take notice.