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If you are employed in social media marketing, it is time for a healthy dose of reality followed by some serious soul searching and career planning. The time has come to start preparing for a marketing reassessment of the value of social media and earned media. Why do so many marketers believe things about social media marketing that are not supported by the data?
Also, marketers tend to make the mistake of thinking their own behaviors and that of consumers are alike, but they are not. Not only are marketers' social behaviors vastly different than consumers', they also have much greater confidence in content than do consumers. So, is it time for marketers to dismantle their social teams and abandon their social strategies?
The secret to successful social media marketing--and to protecting your job--is not to bury your head in the sand, ignore the data and continue building strategies based on deeply flawed assumptions.
Consumers who follow brands ARE NOT interested prospects, and social is a WEAK acquisition channel for brands.
Tossing out all the baseless assumptions makes the job of social media marketing much more difficult, but it also forces us to build stronger, better strategies from the ground up. The investment in social media marketing has risen over the course of years, and so have the expectations. If you assume social media is a marketing channel full of interested consumers hungry for our content and ready to purchase, then any strategy makes sense (and will almost certainly fail.) This is the path to career pain. But take heed: The goal of this difficult process should not merely be to determine what your brand's marketing strategies ought to be in social media but if it should even be trying. Whatever your decision, just make sure it is one supported in facts and not naive myths and false promises.
I have nothing more to add than to say this should be required reading for everyone even thinking about using Social Media to market their brand. Christopher, I agree with you that we must be aware of the source of data (and that was EXACTLY the point of my last blog post).
Columnist Peter Minnium of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) says online ads are getting more creative, and more tailored to their objectives. Digital advertising creativity is flourishing, having undergone a dramatic transformation over the past several years. The digital advertising market is trifurcating into three types of advertising to fuel this: concept ads to drive awareness and interest, content ads to turn interest to desire, and commerce ads to fulfill this desire with tangible actions. Smart marketers, agencies, and publishers are mastering this three-part typology, as it helps simplify advertising and marketing planning and the ways in which strategy, media, and creative execution come together in pursuit of marketers’ goals.
The use of these ads continues to grow, driven by marketers’ needs to create new desire and demand. Given their upper-funnel goals, the most common method of evaluating success for concept ads is with online brand impact ad effectiveness studies.
While not as widespread, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests that in-view time is a strong correlate with brand effectiveness. Regardless of how success is measured on a campaign basis, there is widespread understanding that digital concept ads work to drive brand value. However, we now live in a world where content is fluid across screens, and so too must be digital concept advertising. Content ads typically have the mid-funnel goal of enhancing consumer understanding of a brand or product. Content ads are collections of brand assets that often have no fixed rules about compilation and rendering. While there is currently no standard way of measuring content ad effectiveness, given their mid-funnel goals of creating interest in and enhancing understanding of brands, there is a growing consensus around a few key metrics. Regardless of how one specifically tracks success with content advertising, it is clear that it is driving results for brands.
In 2015, IAB will bring creative guidance to the market, with Dynamic Content Ad Standards, its first not defined by pixel height and width, to power scale efficiency. While native content advertising is a significant new form, it is important to remember that it is an addition to and not a replacement for other types of digital advertising, such as concept and commerce ads. Commerce ads dominate display today, especially the ubiquitous retargeting types that persistently follow consumers across the web. While they are not typically visually or experientially rich, the rendering and serving logic can be sophisticated to ensure that the right offer is served to each viewer. While there continues to be a gray area with regard to measuring the success of concept and content ads, doing so with commerce ads is quite black and white, with clicks and conversions commonly used for this purpose.
There is, however, a healthy debate ongoing in the industry over attribution, with many saying that an over-reliance on last-click attribution still persists and overstates the impact of commerce ads while significantly undervaluing the concept and content ads that move prospects down the funnel. Four years ago, when I started steering ad products and standards at the IAB and established the first Rising Stars (concept ad formats), I was hell-bent against the commerce ads that dominated the web, mistakenly blaming them for the under-representation of creative brand advertising online.


Needless to say, I have matured and now see commerce ads continuing to play an important role in the digital advertising ecosystem. Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.
Peter Minnium is President of Ipsos Connect, where he leads the US team in helping companies measure and amplify how media, brands, and consumers connect through compelling content and great communications. MarTech: The Marketing Tech Conference is for marketers responsible for selecting marketing technologies and developing marketing technologists. SMX Advanced, the only conference designed for experienced search marketers, returns to Seattle June 22-23. Online advertising makes a huge development for the last few years, and it brings bigger revenue to companies through sales and reputation.
Mobile devices offer unique platform of browsing experience and most people do this all the time. It was first used to inform subscribers with updates, discounts, promo program, and other things, but we are now able to send ads to users through email to get their attention. My past experience includes business development in a mobile operator, an online business, a big multinational company and I'm currently working as a marketing consultant. Forrester's recent data demonstrates that just 15% of US consumers trust the social media posts of brands, half the rate at which consumers trust information on company websites.
While it was acceptable to experiment and make assumptions five years ago when social media was young, it is no longer tolerable (nor is it wise to your career) to believe and repeat the same tired, unfounded and incorrect notions. In part, it is because an entire social media marketing industry has blossomed in the last seven years, and it is far more lucrative for this army of agencies, consultants, authors and speakers to sell marketers on earned media and content strategies than to acknowledge the woeful data or track record. Exact Target's 2013 study "Marketers from Mars" found that marketers were 50% more likely than consumers to like a brand on Facebook, 400% more likely to follow brands on Twitter, 100% more likely to make a purchase as a result of seeing something on Facebook and 150% more likely to have completed a purchase as a result of a tweet.
In the same study, marketers and consumers were asked where their favorite companies should invest more of their marketing time and resources to improve customer loyalty. I've suggested as much in the past (and I'm hardly alone in this), but I'd like to close this blog post on a (slightly) more positive note. Rather than attract people interested in contests and sweepstakes, we should strive to engage with customers interested in our company, its mission and its products and services. We must stop settling for content that we think keeps our brands "top of mind" and instead work harder to change minds! In the early days of the social era, we all had high hopes for earned media, but just as consumers avoid and ignore ads in other media, so too are they escaping the reach of organic marketing content in social media.
Too many social media marketers have fallen into ruts, and this has resulted in brands vomiting a useless flow of jokey, unmemorable, indistinct and unpersuasive posts and tweets. If you can build social strategies that are designed to triumph despite that fact, then you are on your way to securing your career in social media marketing.
By starting with clearheaded and factual knowledge about the difficulties, the investments required and the long-term metrics that are best aligned to social media strategies, it may lead you to determine social media is best left to others in the organization. The decline of organic reach on Facebook is also related to FB changing its business model to favor paid advertising as the preferred way for brands to get reach.
And, thank you for being the voice of reason for those trying to make social media something that it was never intended to be. I know it's popular to accuse Facebook of bait and switch, but I think some of that is CYAing from agencies who made promises they cannot deliver. Today, marketers are successfully employing digital advertising to achieve strategic objectives all along the purchase funnel. They are fully produced, carefully crafted and finished products that aspire to match the memorability and impact of the very best advertising and have upper-funnel goals like generating brand awareness and intent to purchase. Digital video ads and IAB Rising Stars such as the Full-Page Flex and Billboard are often used for concepts ads. These typically measure things like awareness, brand affinity, and purchase intent, as well as change in attitudes toward and understanding of brands.
In other words, the longer an ad is in the viewport of the target audience, the stronger the brand lift will be.
For this reason, in 2015 the IAB (my employer) is creating Flex Ad Standards, to enable creators to deliver responsive brand concept ads and buyers and sellers to transact on a single cross-screen ad equivalent. They accomplish this by providing high-quality content with which the viewer can engage — for example, by reading or viewing, sharing, or commenting. What is currently being called native advertising is the dominant form of content advertising.
Most recently, a Native Advertising Disclosure Workshop, in which the FTC participated, significantly advanced that critical conversation and IAB leadership.
Typically rendered in a previous-generation ad standard, these ads tend to have a single, bottom-funnel goal, and their design reflects this focus. Thankfully, they no longer monopolize the space, having been joined by a healthy and growing phalanx of concept and content ads.


Prior to his switch to market research, Peter was Head of Brand Initiatives at the IAB focused on addressing the under-representation of creative brand advertising online. We update the website with magazine style articles, and we get link back to our website for it.
Facebook offers nice support for ads based on interest and related people while Twitter offers possibility for quick updates for customers.
However, it offers different kind of display in which you can show your service or products on almost all properties of Google like YouTube, Blogger, Gmail, and others. In 2012, I evaluated the 40 companies with the greatest Facebook fan counts that were both tracked by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) and publicly traded. A 2013 PwC study found that only 18% purchased a product as a result of information obtained through a social media site. Marketers have done a better job of selling themselves on the value of social media marketing than they have of selling social media users on the value of their products and services.
Marketers were almost 80% more likely to cite content about products and 280% more likely to see content about related topics as a driver of consumer preference.
Rather than treating the title of this post--"What if Everything You Know About Social Media Marketing is Wrong?"-- as if it is rhetorical, let's instead answer the question. A smaller fan base of more valuable consumers trumps a large fan base of disinterested people who hide, ignore or do not see our posts.
Even more vital is that we must reconsider our metrics--social media is a relationship medium, not a direct marketing channel. For some time now FB has been tweaking EdgeRank to reduce organic reach in order to get brands to purchase advertising.
Flipping those assumptions around, taking a new look - that's the smart way to move forward as the social landscape continues to evolve, transform, as the way we do business does. Today, smart marketers, agencies, and publishers strategically employ all three types of digital advertising to achieve objectives across the purchase funnel. Companies around the world increase their sales by online ads, and we need to learn how they do it. This finding is similar to YouGov's finding that just 13% of all social media users have bought something as a result of reading something on social media sites. Otherwise, social media campaign cash should be invested in more tried and trusted methods of marketing - such as, and as you mention, newsletters. So, I think while much research you have gathered here is to the point in itself, it's to the wrong point.
None of these self-reported data points are very encouraging, but the measured data on social driving purchases is even worse.
The goal should be to make them happy enough to occasionally recommend the company by any means including social media. But just as we saw with the Internet, I think other parts of the company are on their way to exploiting social for other sorts of benefits.
There is nothing new under the sun, and if social media marketers had long ago established social as a complementary aspect of traditional marketing, they might not have found themselves in such a bind where they must back-track to justify their existence.
To repeat, there almost never is and probably will never be a one-to-one causal connection between one teeny-tiny part of a companies' activities and its performance in the stock market.
IBM tracked purchases across 800 retail sites and reported that social media drove just 1% of last year's Black Friday online purchases. Social is an important thing happening TO companies, but it is a weak channel FOR companies' social media marketing communications. Meanwhile, Experian reports that social media sites, despite being the most popular sites on the Web, account for a mere 7.7% of all traffic to retail Websites (and Pinterest drives more traffic than either Facebook or Twitter). That said, kudos to you for citing reputable and semi-objective research falsifying these falsities.)(OTOH, I do not believe that your voluminous citations from IBM and Adobe -- all of whom are in the very lucrative position of supplying both products and consulting to marketers to fix their SM missteps and bring them to Jesus! This does not means you should not be on social platforms but for consumers to more easily reach you and not for you to reach consumers.
You certainly seem to be at least IMPLYING that if companies were to follow your suggested list of better practices that SM will work for them and, work in a very specific way, namely, landing the Holy Grail of ROI. Email was never measured in terms of how it lifted purchase intent or consideration but only in terms of how many clicks and conversions it could produce. However, I think it's very unlikely that more than a minuscule number of companies could ever achieve positive ROI no matter how damn good their SM practices are, if looked at as a singuler marketing program. I will repeat that successful SM can be judged only by how well integrated it is with a company's myriad of digital properties and practices. This, to me, is largely a question of how those myriad digital properties and practices are ORGANIZED and, as you seem to agree in your reply, very few companies are in fact organized in such a way to enable a CONCERTED digital strategy and effectively integrate their digital activities.



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