Posted on February 11, 2008
Filed Under Marketing 2.0 |
Given my recent focus on debunking many of the claims about social media marketing and the viability of social networks as strong marketing platforms, I wanted to point readers of The Drama 2.0 Show in the direction of on the subject at E-consultancy.
In a recent free “report,” Forrester is advising clients to spend more money on social network advertising, especially as the economy falters. I think this is stupid advice and detail why .
What’s perhaps most interesting, however, is that one of the Forrester senior analysts who contributed to the report, Jeremiah K. Owyang, today published a post on his personal blog entitled “The Many Challenges of Social Network Sites.” Some of the things he notes:
Difficult to Monetize
Even Google says it’s having a hard time monetizing social networks, why? The use case is completely different. Members aren’t hunting for information like they do on a search, instead they are communicating with each other, and self-expressing. (We’ve data to back that up too). How bad is bad? “Marketers say as few as 4 in 10,000 people who see their ads on social networking sites click on them”
As Marketers Move In, Users Move Out
Remember Friendster? Tribe, or waay back and eCircles? Nothing is new, as communities form, marketers will move in, and in some cases bastardize the experience and the hip, cool, influencers will leave to the next network.
Untrustworthy Member Data
In many cases (I’ve seen reports of up to one-third) of users submit inaccurate information on their profile. As a result, marketing efforts will not be aimed at the right audiences, members continuing to be an elusive target.
Lack of Metrics Makes Success Hard to Measure
For many marketers who want to deploy a campaign on a social network, access to server metrics isn’t always available. As a result, they have to often visually monitor the interaction on the site, or measure click throughs to their site. In some of the more sophisticated platforms, a crude dashboard is provided.
I find it quite interesting that Forrester will advise marketers to increase their ad spend for social networks (and sell all sorts of reports further hyping social media marketing) yet one of the analysts who works on the report that provides this advice issues a post that practically debunks the report he apparently worked on for his employer. Things that make you go “hmmm.”
So how do you reconcile this? Perhaps by considering that Forrester, and firms like it, are in the business of selling reports. As such, I personally don’t believe that there is a single research firm that is truly 100% unbiased and objective. If they dismiss hyped trends like social networks there are a lot fewer reports to write and sell. After all, there’s far less money in telling clients that social networks are shitty marketing platforms. There’s a whole lot more money in telling clients that they’re viable and then selling reports that purport to tell clients how to leverage them.
The information from research firms like Forrester is not all useless, but in my opinion always needs to be taken with a grain of salt. In Bubble 1.0, research firms were issuing reports and projections that aligned quite nicely with the hype at the time. This just happened to be very useful to the MBAs who needed “solid stats” for the business plans they were writing showing how their new startups were going to soon be billion-dollar businesses. But we all know what happened.
The bottom line is that nobody can see the future and just because a research firm has an army of ostensibly intelligent analysts working for it doesn’t mean that the advice you are getting is realistic or sensible. It just means they can justify charging you $279 for their two cents.
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