October 30, 2008

More Social Media Baloney

Remember TAC's first rule of research: Never trust a study done by an interested party.

Here's a lovely example.

The ClickZ Network reports that in a study released by Razorfish...
"...many MySpace and Facebook users said ads on their favorite social sites have prompted them to buy something"
Sounds promising, doesn't it? Just don't look too closely.
"Razorfish describes the survey respondents as "connected consumers." It defines them as people with broadband access who spent at least $200 online (emphasis mine) in the past year, used a community site such as MySpace (mine again) and consumed or made some type of digital media including videos and music."
In other words, they only sampled the most likely suspects.

And what did they find?
"Razorfish...found that 40 percent of the respondents said they made purchases due to seeing those ads."
So let's translate this into plain English.

Among the fraction of the population most likely to respond to an online ad, who have visited social sites probably thousands of time, 40% claim to have responded to an ad once.

And we're supposed to be impressed with this?

But of all the bullshit in this report, the sentence I really love is this one:
"Connected consumers have enthusiastically embraced social media.
This is a beautiful bit of tautological bullshit. Since they define "connected consumers" as those who "have used a community site such as MySpace," what this sentence really means is this: Those who have embraced social media have embraced social media.

Razorfish has a vested interest in encouraging online advertising. If you want reliable information about the effectiveness of advertising on social media, get it somewhere else.

Like Here:
Want the real scoop? From a Global Advertising Study done by AOL:
"Ninety-nine percent of Web users do not click on ads on a monthly basis. Of the 1% that do, most only click once a month. Less than two tenths of one percent click more often. That tiny percentage makes up the vast majority of banner ad clicks.

Who are these "heavy clickers"? They are predominantly female, indexing at a rate almost double the male population. They are older. They are predominantly Midwesterners...they look at sweepstakes far more than any other kind of content. Yes, these are the same people that tend to open direct mail and love to talk to telemarketers."

Not exactly the MySpace, Facebook crowd.

Next Week:
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