The only way I could stop myself from jumping into row 14 and starting a debate/fist fight was to self-medicate with cognac and scribble a list of imaginary retorts.
So here they are – insights from a digital neanderthal. All based on actual, independent data (the cognac may have coloured them a little) and provided in a cut-out-and-keep format. There is an opening gambit to break into the inane general social media twaddle followed by hard facts to close your argument and create general mayhem. Use them without discretion…
The problem with Twitter is it’s basically clutter
The average click-through rate for a corporate tweet is around 0.5 per cent. Note that this is not 50 per cent but half a percent. This is a handy stat and doubly depressing for social media. First, 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 fuck all of nothing. Statistically speaking.
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.
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 fucking 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.
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.
My 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. If I were the King of Marketing (hmmm, a pleasant thought) I would decree that every presentation or article on social media must add the postscript ‘I acknowledge however that TV and radio are much bigger, faster growing and more effective as marketing media’. Then I would shut up.