Recently, a Gallup poll reported that “despite tremendous numbers of Americans using social media institutions such as Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter, only 5% say social media have “a great deal of influence” on their purchasing decisions, while another 30% say these channels have “some influence.” They also found that “a solid majority of American adults say that social media has no influence at all on their purchasing decisions — suggesting that the advertising may be reaching smaller segments of the market, or that the influence on consumers is indirect or goes unnoticed.”
I will quote of one Gru’s minions – “whaaaaat?” Not know who Gru is? Go watch Despicable Me
Honestly, I find this hard to believe. Everyday I see posts on Facebook and Twitter asking people recommendations for what to buy or where to go, all with links to their recommendation’s Facebook or Twitter profiles.
Also, with the clicks and results I see from my clients’ social advertising, I cannot agree with the assumption above that social advertising isn’t working.
The Motley Fool doesn’t believe the Gallup Poll either. Their article, 3 Reasons Gallup’s Assault on Social Media Advertising is Terribly Misleading, shares 3 valid reasons for not buying into the Gallup report:
1. Restraint bias. To quote the article, “restraint bias also plays a huge role in advertising. And, as a collective group, we consumers tend to think we’re much better at resisting the allure of advertisements than we really are.”
2. Gallup’s own generational data. The consumers polled (18,000 of them) were over the age of 18 and most being part of generations that are not as tech-savvy as younger users. The under-18 generation is much more comfortable using social media and are more apt to react to an ad – and they were not included in this survey. Plus in my opinion, 18,000 is not a very large sample to use when there are over 1 billion people on Facebook. AdWeek seconded this sentiment as well.
3. Improving ad platforms. This poll was conducted from December 2012-January 2013. If anyone who has a clue about social advertising really wants to consider that current information, go ahead. We all know how much has changed in the past year and a half. All of the social media platforms have developed more accurate targeting options and better advertising platforms to get the best results. That data can’t stand up – it’s grossly out of date.
Companies, in general, aren’t buying this either. AdAge recently completed a survey in May 2014 (not 2012 like Gallup) and found that “Marketers reported spending slightly more in digital and social-media channels than prior surveys…In the most recent survey, 83% said they had paid for ads on Facebook, up from around 70% in the September poll.”
Gallup mentioned in their report that in order for social media to work for businesses, they should focus on engaging with their existing customers rather than pursuing new ones. Additionally, the report says, businesses need to make sure the content they post “feels authentic and is compelling enough to capture consumer attention.” All of that is a given. Businesses are constantly taught that content matters – they need to focus on their community and post quality content.
Social media and social advertising does work. We can all give you more examples of social media success rather than failure proving it all does work.
What are your thoughts?