Monthly Archive: September 2010

Don’t Call It A Conversation, Unless It Is

In social media circles people like to describe what happens on Twitter and Facebook (and elsewhere on the web) as a form of conversation. Critics however, point out that it’s not actual conversation that’s taking place, rather it’s just a bunch of people talking to themselves. Turns out both parties are correct, to a degree.

Sysomos, a leading provider of social media monitoring and analytics, examined 1.2 billion tweets posted in the last two months and found that 29% of all tweets produced a reaction – a reply or a retweet.

In other words, 71% of all tweets are one-way communications, and that’s not all that conversational.

Ideas Are Money, The Rest Is A Lot Of Noise

My friend Bob Hoffman is President of Hoffman/Lewis in San Francisco. Online, he’s known as the Ad Contrarian, because he loves taking digital counter points and beating the hell out of dim wits with them.

For instance:

We have dashboards and metrics and click-throughs and webisodes and branded entertainment and a whole galaxy of new and used media outlets…but what we don’t have is very good advertising.

It seems silly to have to say this, but our industry has reached a point of such grotesque confusion that I’m going to say it anyway — the business of the advertising business is advertising.

If the advertising isn’t very good, what difference does the rest of it make?

We analyze everything and understand nothing.

Hoffman doesn’t have much room in his heart for interactive hyperbole, nor for the people who would create these daily distortions. To help protect us from the noise, Hoffman regularly serves up facts. Like 99.9% of people who are served an online display ad do not click on it. Or TV viewership is now at its highest point ever. Or 96% of all retail activity is done in a store – 4% is done on line. Facts are our friends, right?

Here’s a fact. I always advise clients that the point of investing in great online content is to develop the kind of interest in the brand that leads to face-to-face meetings and transactions. It’s a continual loop. You want to drive TV viewers and online visitors to the point of purchase, then back to the web. Click through rates aren’t part of this equation. Investment in your brand and your customers experience with it is.