Why Brands Spend Too Much On Social Media: Emotion Tops Logic

Concept of coins and notes going down the drain.  Isolated on white.
SHARE
THIS



In this guest post, Strohfeldt Consulting founder and creative director, and advertising veteran, Robert Strohfeldt has a bone to pick with brands who insist on wasting their time with social media.

Professor Mark Ritson has been causing quite an uproar lately (or using today’s terminology “disruption”) by his claim that social media is overrated. He has since ratchetted up the emotion in the debate by stating marketers who rely on social media are “poorly trained idiots“.

Using a line from old spaghetti westerns “Thems fighten words”. Proponents of social media read his comments and arc up. I think it is a deliberate ploy by Ritson, because it is emotion that has driven social media to the heights it has now attained within the marketing and advertising worlds. (As opposed to any cold, objective logic).

The over emphasis on social media has been the elephant in the room for quite a number of years now. Finally, someone has come out and laid bare the facts. Ritson spells out very clearly why he takes this stance in his presentation in Canada late last year. (Though in Canada, he uses Australian examples and the principals apply equally here).

Before saying “bullshit”, have a look at his presentation. He quantifies what so many have garnered anecdotally, but have been reluctant to comment on and exposes the many myths about social media.

I doubt there is anyone in the industry who does not know about the “legendary” Oreo tweet during the 2013 Super Bowl broadcast blackout? I have lost count of the number of times I have read about “striving to create their own Oreo moment”.

Well, the “Tweet that was heard around the world”, was in fact seen by around 65,000 people. Or just 0.02 per cent of Oreo’s customer base. This was deemed to have “beaten” a well- crafted 60 second Budweiser TVC, which was seen by 50 million viewers. Yep, 65,000 versus 50 million is now deemed a ‘victory”. It achieved bugger all, except for a swag of awards. (More people in the advertising industry saw the tweet than existing and potential customers).

But you don’t need deep and meaningful statistical analysis to come to the conclusion that social media is overrated. Sure, it has been one of the most far reaching phenomena in human history. But it is SOCIAL media. It is about people, not brands.

Shane Warne has some 2.6 million Twitter followers. No brand in Australia comes close to that number. Ritson notes that as a relatively unknown marketing professor in Canada, he has more Twitter followers than the top 10 Canadian brands combined.

There is much talk about advertising being dead, or on its last legs. So people don’t like ads, but they will go to a brand’s Facebook page and read, sorry, engage with, the “content”? What a croc!

Well, they may enjoy the content, but it will have stuff all to do with the product or brand the Facebook page is for. Pick any big brand’s Facebook page and check out the number of people who view, like, or share. And of course, some of these figures go back for five, six or more years.

If people don’t like ads, why do TV programmes featuring “world’s funniest/best commercials” rate so highly? They don’t like shitty ads. But great creative always has and always will cut through.

And with the social media presence, brands are becoming anthropomorphic – acting as if a person, with the goal of building “relationships” with consumers. We are starting to take ourselves way too seriously. What’s next – online Dorothy Dix advice for brands?

  • Should I expose my label on our first date?
  • What if he/she is seeing another brand?
  • Ten tips when meeting the family

Or Agony Aunt for people on how to “engage” with brands?

  • My favourite brand passed away six months ago. Is it too soon to start seeing other brands?
  • My favourite brand gets jealous so easily. How can I tell them I am only friends with these other brands?
  • How do I know when I am ready to settle down with just one brand? I can’t help myself when I see an attractive brand.

I am being a tad harsh. There are a number of areas in which social media can play an important role – market research, local area marketing for franchised retail chains, tactical promotions etc. But it is definitely not for front line strategic brand and image building. And depending upon the type of business, social media will be more useful than for others e.g. fashion.

But most of the “literature” takes a one size fits all approach.

But as Ritson points out in his presentation, social media comprises 45 per cent or more of the coverage in major industry publications, as opposed to around eight per cent of advertising budgets. While over 50 per cent of editorial talks about the death of traditional media.

The lack of recognition of the strength and relevance of mainstream media is a major issue. A colleague referred to this as marketing fashion over function – traditional media is old fashioned. Many marketers want the latest, shiny new tools, even if their reach and effectiveness is questionable at best.

A recent example comes in an article I saw had the headline “Young Viewers Switch Off TV”. The “doom and gloom” figures are in bold. Nearly one in five of 14 to 24 year olds don’t watch any Free to Air TV. That could be written as “Over 80 per cent of 14 to 24 year olds still watch Free to Air TV”. Conclusion. Free to Air still most single powerful advertising medium.

You get the idea. The industry is inundated with stories on how wonderful social media is and traditional media is all but dead. Ritson also points out the ludicrous situation where two thirds of marketing directors/managers surveyed are unsure of their ROI from social media, yet two thirds say they intend to increase their social budget. Can you imagine that happening for any other form of media?

The media landscape has changed dramatically over the past 20 years and become far more fragmented, so logic dictates that an integrated approach is now critical, unavoidable. But even so, a brand (B2C) of any significance can survive without social media, but not traditional media advertising. (Apple, as an example, didn’t do too badly).

It is 2016, not 2026. Plan for the future but live in the present. As mentioned previously, it is emotion driving the social media circus. The people who work in social media, be it agency or client side, are of course strongly emotively attached to social media. It is their livelihood and in most cases, probably all, an integral part of their everyday life.

Call anyone a fool and you are liable to get a negative reaction. Call someone a fool because of their love for and involvement in a particular pursuit and you can expect a strong reaction. No other form of advertising medium has ever, or does now, involve the practitioner in such a manner – they don’t just “work on it”, “they live in it.”

 

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

QMS Goes West With ‘The Leeder’
  • Advertising
  • Media

QMS Goes West With ‘The Leeder’

QMS Media continues to expand its digital portfolio across Western Australia, switching on an iconic billboard in the heart of Perth. Following the launch of two new digital billboards in the major WA regional centres of Bunbury and Kalgoorlie in recent months, ‘The Leeder’ further delivers on QMS’ digital expansion strategy out west. Positioned at […]

PR Firm Text100 Wins NetApp Account For APAC
  • Marketing

PR Firm Text100 Wins NetApp Account For APAC

Global marketing communications agency Text100 has announced it been appointed by data management company NetApp to drive its brand transformation effort across the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. Following local competitive pitches conducted across the region, Text100 has been appointed as the APAC lead agency out of Singapore, and as the local agency of record in Australia, […]

MFA Awards 2017 Winners Revealed!
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

MFA Awards 2017 Winners Revealed!

B&T once again donned the tux, applied the Brut, and primed the liver for last night's MFA Awards in Sydney.

Concrete Playground Launches Voice-activated Nightlife Guide With Google Assistant
  • Media
  • Technology

Concrete Playground Launches Voice-activated Nightlife Guide With Google Assistant

Digital publisher Concrete Playground has unveiled a new app that helps Millennials plan their night out using voice control – the first of its kind to become available in Australia. Concrete Playground’s Guide to Tonight now works with Google Assistant, making it available on a range of Google devices and helping people to decide what […]

Digital Agency Inlight Secures Two Key Client Wins
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Digital Agency Inlight Secures Two Key Client Wins

Independent agency Inlight has announced it has won the digital account for Benetas, a not-for-profit aged care provider in Victoria. Following a competitive pitch process, Inlight was chosen to handle Benetas’ new website design, build and ongoing optimisation. Richard Barker, marketing manager at Benetas, said: “We wanted an agency that could be our true digital […]

AMI Awards 2017 Winners Revealed!
  • Marketing

AMI Awards 2017 Winners Revealed!

With almost 30 awards handed out, B&T predicts plenty of numb bottoms at last night's AMI Awards in Melbourne.

Clems Sydney CEO Andy Pontin Quits
  • Advertising

Clems Sydney CEO Andy Pontin Quits

Sure, B&T flashed the news of Andy Pontin quitting this morning. White lies aside, he's actually still got six months.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Adobe MAXes Most Creatives In A Room Record
  • Advertising
  • Media

Adobe MAXes Most Creatives In A Room Record

B&T's journo is reporting live from the annual Adobe Summit in Vegas. Although, "reporting" is somewhat of a stretch.

Opinion

by David Hovenden

David Hovenden
Digital Women’s Network & The Australian College Of Marketing Unveil Latest Short Courses
  • Marketing

Digital Women’s Network & The Australian College Of Marketing Unveil Latest Short Courses

The Australian College of Marketing is collaborating with the Digital Women’s Network to bring new short courses aimed to provide the latest skills across all aspects of the Digital landscape, kicking off in Melbourne and Sydney in 2018. Course content will focus around various topics related to the digital marketing landscape. All courses will run […]

Man working at office desk, looking at computer and scratching head
  • Technology

Where Are Digital & Tech Skills & Salaries Headed?

The rapid pace of technological change in the digital sector is seeing demand for those with the right skill sets outstrip availability, both locally and globally. The individuals who have kept their skills up to date are being well-rewarded financially. Now, Digital + Technology Collective’s expanded annual Skills and Salary Survey will put some numbers and context […]

Disney & ESPN Unify Sales & Partnerships Teams
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Disney & ESPN Unify Sales & Partnerships Teams

Disney and ESPN have formed an even closer bond, announcing a new alignment of the two properties through their media sales and partnerships teams. Instead of entering through three doors, Disney ESPN Media Sales & Partnerships will give media buyers and marketers a refined, singular point of entry for Disney, ESPN Digital and Maker. Nik […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Sydney Start-up Muzaara Partners With Commission Factory To Turbocharge Digital Ad Spends
  • Advertising
  • Marketing

Sydney Start-up Muzaara Partners With Commission Factory To Turbocharge Digital Ad Spends

Sydney-based adtech start-up Muzaara has announced a new strategic partnership with performance marketing platform Commission Factory. Together, Muzaara and Commision Factory are providing SMEs with a secret weapon to skyrocket their online brand visibility and effectively manage and maximise their online advertising campaigns. This partnership will allow both online marketing companies and their impressive roster […]

Kellogg’s Creates AR Halloween Trick Or Treat Experience Via Shazam & Orchard
  • Campaigns
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Kellogg’s Creates AR Halloween Trick Or Treat Experience Via Shazam & Orchard

Breakfast cereal manufacturer Kellogg’s has joined forces with Shazam and digital agency Orchard to deliver a first-of-its-kind augmented reality (AR) Halloween Trick or Treat experience for families. The campaign, which leverages Shazam’s visual recognition platform and recently-launched AR platform, sees Kellogg’s pilot the replacement of physical gifts in cereal packs with a digital experience that […]

Kraft Heinz Appoints Cummins&Partners As New Creative Agency
  • Advertising

Kraft Heinz Appoints Cummins&Partners As New Creative Agency

Kraft Heinz today confirmed the appointment of Cummins&Partners as its new Creative agency after an extensive pitch process. They will be responsible for brand strategy and integrated creative across the expanding Kraft Heinz portfolio including Kraft, Heinz and Golden Circle. A Kraft Heinz spokesperson said: “After an exhaustive search involving a competitive pitch, we have made […]

Patrick Delany (CEO, Fox Sports), Hugh Marks (CEO, Nine Entertainment Co), Miranda Devine (Columnist, News Corp), Michael Miller (Executive Chairman, News Corp Australasia), Grant Blackley (CEO & Managing Director, Southern Cross Austereo) at Radio Alive 2017
  • Media

Media Bosses Weigh In On Ten-CBS Deal

Do you enjoy articles featuring industry big-wigs? Well, it doesn't come much bigger and wiggier than this, we say.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine