Insights from a(nother) digital neanderthal

Its nice to find a fellow social media sceptic to share the load in the shape of Professor Mark Ritson, in a column called "Insights from a digital neanderthal".

Regular readers will know that I have been something of a social media sceptic, concerned that: a) the reach of social media for everyday brands is over-estimated, b) the enduring effectiveness of "old" media is under-estimated.

I likened voicing these concerns to be like shouting them at a One Direction concert full of fans screaming "SOCIAL MEDIA!" The noise is loud to the point of hysterical, making it pretty much impossible to be heard. Well, at least there is now two of us shouting. 

Here are some of the highlights of Mark's column, with links to brandgym blog posts.

Warning, Mark is the only blogger I know who swears more than me.

The problem with Twitter is it’s basically clutter

"The average click-through rate for a corporate tweet is around 0.5 per cent. If only one in every 200 followers click on a hyperlink, it represents a depressing proxy for how many people actually notice your tweets in the first place. Second, given the piss-poor general number of followers many brands have achieved on Twitter, the reality, when you multiple out this already small potential audience by 0.05, is f**k all of nothing. Statistically speaking"

See here for some suggestions on "What the hell is Twitter for?" (Clue: its not for tweeting news about the latest flavour of Doritos)

Facebook is useless as a marketing tool

"While the billion-plus users of Facebook are impressive, remember that (as the name suggests) social media is for people connecting with people, not brands. Most surveys confirm that around half of Facebook’s user-base would not consider becoming a fan of any brand. For the remaining half that has befriended a brand, they have done so for only a handful. Add to that the increasingly poor organic reach a brand can achieve to these fans – it’s now thought to be less than 3 per cent – and you have another unimpressive marketing option."

More on the limits of Facebook here. Our research shows that only 5% of consumers want "a conversation" with brands, whereas 32% of marketing directors think this is the case

The exciting medium for 2015 for me will be TV

"Despite a decade of bonkers predictions from our digital friends, TV remains the central source of ‘content’ in the UK. And I don’t mean watching it on a mobile or using a new app called ‘Thwacko’ – I mean on a f**cking TV. Last year, 98.5 per cent of all TV watching happened on a TV in Britain. Just over 1 per cent of watching took place on tablets, phones and PCs – and almost all of that was done by digital marketers too cool to turn on their tellies. Not only is TV the totally dominant medium, it’s actually on the increase – we are watching more TV on TVs than we were 10 years ago. Since the arrival of social media, British households have responded by watching more, not less, TV."

See here for a post on why "TV is still the king of media"

Social media has some decent numbers, but radio kicks its arse 

"Facebook sounds awesome with its 33 million monthly users averaging about 7 hours a week on the site in the UK. Not bad until you behold the power of radio – yes, radio. Radio has 48 million listeners and they tune in for 21 hours a week on average. And unlike Facebook, which is desperately trying to stop a decline in those already inferior numbers, radio is on the increase. Its listener base grew by 1 million people in the UK during the past 12 months. Best of all – most people are listening to radio on, wait for it, a radio. A total of 88 per cent of listeners are using a radio, not their computer or their phone, to tune in. Oh, and 5 per cent listen to radio on their TVs – almost as many as listen online."

As Mark concludes, "The point here isn’t to deride social media. It is to put it in its place. I am sick, sick, sick of a marketing culture in the UK that talks, writes and presents about social media at the exclusion of the more traditional, powerful tools just because they are older and less cool."