Social media was supposed to change everything.
Especially in marketing.
TV, radio, print, and posters were dead.
All your shiny new campaign needed to succeed was a boatload of data-driven content: posts, tweets, feeds, blasts, banners, Likes, Impressions and Shares.
The customer, we were reliably informed, was in control and, henceforth, all commerce would now revolve around the twin whizz-bang-magic-dust precepts of “conversations” and “relationships.”
Naturally, the smart thing to do was to move a hefty proportion of your budget online.
And, like lemmings, that’s pretty much what everyone did.
A healthy dose of skepticism was sorely needed and, as luck would have it, duly sounded.
Bob Hoffman began to challenge some of the more outrageous claims made on behalf of social media marketing on his blog Ad Contrarian.
The first red flag was the effectiveness of clicks.
It transpired that the average click rate for an online banner ad was about .07%.
Or 7 clicks per 10,000 ads.
Yeah, pretty miserable.
The more he dug, the worse it got.
Thanks to Bob, we now know that:
95% of content generates next to zero engagement.
E-commerce accounts for less than 7% of retail sales in the U.S.
Fewer than 2% of retail transactions happen on a smartphone.
And the whole damn thing is riddled with fraud.
It’s quite the shit show.
You can read the motherlode of his findings here: https://www.bobhoffmanswebsite.com/newsletters
However, here’s the best bit:
88% of marketers believe online advertising has no measurable impact on their business, yet we continue to pour millions into it.
I’ll take a wild guess and say fear.
Fear of looking foolish.
Fear of appearing out of touch.
Fear of going against received opinion.
Fear of not being part of the latest trend.
It’s created a blind spot where it’s easier to believe the fantasy than face up to the facts.
But one day the penny will drop.
Questions will be asked.
Accountability called for.
The lemmings will revolt, and upon reaching the cliff edge, one of them will turn to its peers and say:
“I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to call bullshit on this one.”