We’re led to believe that online marketing through social media channels is not just the great panacea, but also a roaring success.
However, a recent survey by Adobe Systems, the American multinational computer software company, would tend to suggest otherwise. The research suggests that consumers actually prefer traditional forms of advertising through mediums like TV and magazines, and innately distrust online marketing. The study concludes by saying that digital marketing is not meeting the needs of consumers, and that online marketers are guilty of missing out on a glorious opportunity to engage with consumers and build their brands online.
So, what basis is there for this conclusion?
The online study, called The State of Online Advertising, was commissioned by Adobe and conducted by research firm, Edelman Berland, and sought the views and opinions of a nationally representative sample of 1,000 consumers and 250 online marketers between the period 8 to 16 October, 2012. The results of the research proved to be surprising, though Edelman Berling concedes that there is a potential margin of error of +/-3 percent for consumers and 6% for marketers.
Apparently 66.6% of consumers believed that television commercials are more effective than online advertising, and 54% believe that online banner advertisements are simply ineffective. What’s more 45% of respondents prefer to view advertising in their favourite print magazine, whilst 23% prefer to view it when watching their favourite TV shows. Surprisingly only 3% of the respondents stated they preferred watching advertisements via social media channels like Facebook, whilst there’s was an overall consensus that nobody liked adverts in apps.
So what is underpinning this apparent dislike of online advertising? Well, it seems to be overwhelming negativity if the report is to be believed. The majority of respondents found the advertisements to be annoying, negative and distracting. 28% of consumers actually argued that user-generated content is by far the most effective form of advertising. Commenting on the research, Adobe’s chief marketing officer, Ann Lewnes, stated that it was now up to the online advertisers to wake up and get a grip. Marketers, she argued, are failing to engage with consumers and promote their brands effectively:
“This study is a wakeup call for marketers. We know there’s a tremendous opportunity – online, on mobile, in social – in terms of where consumers are spending their time and money. But as marketers we’ve yet to really break through. Serving customers relevant content, delivering experiences that are engaging instead of intrusive and, just as importantly, measuring what’s working and what isn’t so that we can improve our marketing are all critical. When marketers begin to master these things we’ll turn the corner – consumers will start to notice and we’ll start to capitalise.”
The channel that attracted the greatest criticism was the social media.
Interesting although the majority of the respondents used the medium in one form or other, they remain distinctly unimpressed. More than half of them said they were communicating their personal tastes and interests when they “liked” a brand or product and 43% explicitly stated they recommended those products to their friends and families, however, 53% wished there was a dislike button so that they could express their unhappiness with a product.
‘Likes’ generally do have an impact, with 29% of the respondents claiming that ‘likes’ encourage them to check out products, yet only 2% of those consumers maintained that it drove them on to make a purchase. What’s more, only 2 percent of respondents believed that information about a brand from a company’s social media site is credible.
So how important is marketing in the general scheme of things? Well, over 90% of consumers and marketing professionals agreed that it was strategic to business, and was paramount to driving sales, but as a credible and respected industry it fared less well, ranking below most other professions like lawyers, actors and even bankers. The message for marketers is clear, in the opinion of Ann Lewnes. They have to give consumers what they want, be more engaging, and capitalise on the valuable insights that big data is now offering to businesses:
“Marketers are some of the most creative people in the world. Now that we have data insights to back up instinct, these outdated perceptions of marketing are going [to have] to change. When marketing is personalised for the consumer – and online experiences are rewarding – the impact on brands’ bottom line is going to be huge.”