November 05, 2009

"Social Media" vs "I Don't Know": It's A Tie

Earlier this week, in The Enduring Power of Piffle and The Drivel Machine, we took a nice hard swing at the qualitative side of social media i.e., the baloney that social media hustlers are filling gullible marketers full of. Today we take a look at some quantitative data on social media and see what marketers have to say about its effectiveness.

As we know, the answer to all problems is social media.

Need to build your brand? Social media.
Need to sell more stuff? Social media.
Got dandruff or bad breath? Social media
Peace in the Middle East? Social media.

Just pick up any trade publication or attend any digital marketing conference (there are 10 of them a week) and you will find that social media is always The Answer.

However, an article in American Express Open Forum says, not so fast.
"Senior marketers were asked which components of their current digital marketing programs—search, email, display advertising, social networking, and mobile advertising—delivered the best results. Only 11% cited social networking...

As you know, TAC is highly skeptical of this type of research. The remarkable thing, however, is that with social media getting so much hype, the tendency of people who have invested in it would be to exaggerate its effectiveness. Instead, it was tied for effectiveness with "I don't know."

Marketers also said that social media is significantly less effective than banner ads (display advertising), and I just don't know how anything can be less effective than that.

Mobile advertising, by the way, didn't even make the chart.

As I said 6 months ago in Looking For Volunteers,
"TAC predicts that when the frenzy over Facebook, Twitter, and other social media calms down and the dust clears, email and search will continue to be the dreariest and most productive forms of online advertising."

Thanks to Sharon Krinsky for this.

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