January 23, 2013

Is "The Like's" 15 Minutes Up?

The half-life of online marketing miracles is notoriously short.

Is it possible that "the like" is about to join the podcast, the widget, and the QR code in the Museum Of Make-Believe Marketing Miracles?

It sure seems that way. There has been a whole lot of chatter lately about the dubious value of likes. While this chatter is about 2 years overdue, I guess it's better than never.

First, Business Insider had a piece recently about Facebook's new Giraffe Search. It was called, "Graph Search Is Really A Plan To Rescue The Like."

They said that Facebook introduced Giraffe Search because "recently it (the like) has fallen out of favor with advertisers." 

Next a blogger, engineer, and entrepreneur named Steve Cheney called the like a "con." He went on to say that in the case of almost half the Facebook likes "there is no true affinity between the like and the object" and, in fact, most likes were bought by bribes.
"For the past several years big advertisers on FB have actually been directing massive amounts of paid media to acquire fans. They quite literally bought likes."
And now Adweek, in an article entitled "Social to Play Second String on Game Day" tells us that the magic of social media is not quite as magical as it once was on Super Bowl Sunday. Regarding Facebook and Twitter they say "there is a growing debate over their true value and effectiveness." Gosh, whodathunkit?

Adweek goes on to quote some Super Bowl advertisers. The CMO of GoDaddy (god help us) says that ... "at the end of the day, I am going to look at the traffic coming into our site and how that’s affecting sales” rather than any social metric like 'likes.'

The chief media bigshot at Universal McCann said...
"How many Facebook ‘likes’ a brand gets is just the tip of the iceberg... You can actually tie on-site data to test drives and sales, and that is what (automotive) clients really care about.” 
I'm not really sure what the hell he's talking about, other than that likes are pretty worthless.

This is quite a turn around from recent years in which advertisers judged their Super Bowl savvy by the oh-so-sophisticated method of counting tweets and likes -- in the demented belief that these gimmicks meant something.

Of course, there are always knuckleheads who just don't get it and never will. And guess who's grand marshall of the Super Bowl knucklehead parade? You got it -- Pepsi.

Just a few years ago, Pepsi was the darling of the new age marketing gurus for pulling all their money out of the Super Bowl and putting it into social media. That proved to be historically, massively stupid.

Now (just as someone you love predicted) they are going back to their old game plan -- pop stars. And like the typical marketer that's completely lost at sea, they're doubling down on what they recently scorned -- the Super Bowl. Not only are they buying spots, they are sponsoring the half-time show with Beyonce and paying her $50 million. As Jonathon Salem Baskin says in Forbes...
"There will be other explanations for why sales and profits continue to slide, even as Beyonce garners zillions of likes and song downloads."
But nothing can stop the marketing train wreck that is Pepsi. They are so confused that even as they spend recklessly on the Super Bowl they still don't understand that it is a made-for-tv event and the only important thing is having great spots.

Here's what their Chief Worldwide Digital Global Jargonator had to say:
"There’s a lot of tricks to winning the social media buzz wars...but being a part of the culture in a way that extends brand equity is the effect we want to see.”
Hmmm...seems to me I've heard this social-media-brand-equity-culture-buzz bullshit somewhere before...oh, yeah...the Pepsi Refresh Project...

How'd that work for you?


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CRL said...

Have been wrestling with the value of "like" since it began. Admittedly there are some shameless promoters of "like" for their brands, which may make it worthless.
However, where it may operate in the sales cycle is in the area of consideration. It goes something like this:"Bob Hoffman likes Tommy Bahamas. He is a pretty cool guy, when I look for a shirt I will consider Tommy Bahamas.
To date no research has been done to prove or disprove this theory. Which probably means the link isn't there, but it is the only one that may prolong "like" that has any value.

Anonymous said...

We're all suckers for a miracle, and as long as marketing folk crave revolutions not evolutions, we'll keep over-hyping the new news. The unintended consequence of this is that misunderstood new channels are fecund territory for scammers and foul-ups. So by over-promoting them as the answer to all problems, we turn useful tools into backfiring WMDs (Weapons of Mass Derision). We keep it old-school: "do the stuff that works". Sometimes that's TV, sometimes social but generally a happy mix of a bunch of channels. Like back in the days of the Pepsi taste-test challenge, they just were missing the point. People get excited about the new, but not as much as, deep down, they love the old.

Anonymous said...


Sergio Goncalves said...

Coca Cola is going social and games. http://adage.com/article/special-report-super-bowl/coca-cola-super-bowl-ad-create-social-media-game/239327/

Anonymous said...

The Like is more valuable for Facebook than anyone else. This is how they track user behaviour when they do not own the sites the user is on.

1. Make business and site owners believe that the "Like" is a metric that will have some influence over their marketing and business strategies

2. Everyone adds "Like" buttons to their site

3. Facebook now knows what sites you go to, how you interact with them and what you do while you're there.

4. Facebook then uses this data to sell back to the same site and business owners 'prescient' data about their users.

5. The whole thing fails because PEOPLE USE THE INTERNET PRIVATELY. They may not care thay they walk around drinking a Coke, but if you tell someone you knew they were using a Coke collectors user forum and their username was floofy78 - they might want to murder you.

TV is broadcast. Computers are still somewhat private.

its not hard to figure out.

Unknown said...

Pepsi's problems are much bigger than likes and the right superstar.

Soda is rapidly slipping into the vice category: every time Mayor Bloomberg or someone like him calls for a ban on supersize sodas, people make a mental note that soda is probably bad for you and eventually that thinking sinks in. Kids in particular are being taught that soda is bad, water and "sports drinks" are good.

Which is not to say Pepsi is going out of business any time soon, just that they've got bigger problems than marketing

George Parker said...

Bob... Never forget that Pepsi's agency is BBDO, for years fondly referred to as "Star Fuckers." They've used them all, even Donald Trump (a star?) Don't forget, they even set Michael Jackson's hair on fire. And, for fuck sake, don't you have a spam comment filter. I do, it's called gin.
Cheers/George "AdScam" Parker

Mak Counter said...

Ok so may be they are doing it for the traffic that was suppose to come to their site but if the content is not good they wont eventually get that many likes. However super bowl ads are fun to watch. You can get all the teasers at one place at Game day Ads