Packshot People Blog

Online Advertising: A Follow-Up

Posted by Ryan Watts on 28/09/2011

In early August, I published an article on the effectiveness of online advertising, in which I argued in favour of Bob Hoffman’s point that advertising and social media do not mix.

Hoffman has spent a long time discussing this topic. It appears that his peers are now beginning to agree.

Earlier this month, Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP (the world’s largest advertising agency), stated his “fundamental doubts” over the possibility of deploying social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to generate money.

This echoes Hoffman’s incisive point. When it comes to social media, ad clickthrough rates – on average, as low as 0.1%, including accidental clicks - suggest that “people are passionate about interacting with each other. Not ads. Not brands. Not you. Not me.

Furthermore, Michael Wolff, editorial director of Adweek and a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, recently added that the forms of advertising on digital platforms “do not work very well.” Opinion at the top level of advertising is shifting.

Attempting to build a “relationship” between a normal person and a business, Hoffman argues, is turning out to be a spurious activity. Successful social media campaigns – which do exist – must, in some capacity, offer “something for nothing”. Because social media users - just like humans - engage with businesses for the products or the services which they offer. Not for “relationships".


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