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The Bursting Social Media Advertising Bubble 254

Posted by samzenpus
from the cost-of-a-tweet dept.
schwit1 writes One of the great "paradigms" of the New Normal tech bubble that supposedly differentiated it from dot com bubble 1.0 was that this time it was different, at least when it came to advertising revenues. The mantra went that unlike traditional web-based banner advertising which has been in secular decline over the past decade, social media ad spending — which the bulk of new tech company stalwarts swear is the source of virtually unlimited upside growth — was far more engaging, and generated far greater returns and better results for those spending billions in ad bucks on the new "social-networked" generation. Sadly, this time was not different after all, and this "paradigm" has also turned out to be one big pipe dream. According to the WSJ, citing Gallup, "62% of the more than 18,000 U.S. consumers it polled said social media had no influence on their buying decisions. Another 30% said it had some influence. U.S. companies spent $5.1 billion on social-media advertising in 2013, but Gallup says "consumers are highly adept at tuning out brand-related Facebook and Twitter content."
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The Bursting Social Media Advertising Bubble

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  • Tuning it out? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by XanC (644172) on Monday June 23, 2014 @03:40PM (#47299947)

    I'll say we're tuning it out. With AdBlock we don't even receive it.

    • Re:Tuning it out? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anon, Not Coward D (2797805) on Monday June 23, 2014 @03:51PM (#47300041)

      i do use it... but i'd like to see statistics regarding how prevalent it's usage really is. I mean beyond the geek circle :)

      my guess is that adbloc isn't really an issue (unless firefox and chrome make it a default plugin).

      of course the point that marketing effect on consumer behavior is largely unconcious remains.. so that's the real handicap on this study

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        I agree, such tools are only going to be used by people who actively seek it out. I've never even seen adblock in the Firefox list of recommended add-ons. Maybe some companies turn it on by default (it saves a ton of bandwidth). But overall I'd be surprised if even 5% of users have it on those browsers that support.

        • Depends - As the default IT support dude in my own family, I made double-damned certain that everyone who asks for help in browser performance installed and uses AdBlock Plus, the element helper, the DoNotTrackMe extension... got nothing but rave reviews after they put them in, so I'm certain that at least on their part, word has spread (not like it's hard to install the stuff).

          I won;t claim anything beyond 20-30%, but I'm pretty sure that it would be fairly close to it.

          The only dynamic I can think of to co

          • by nospam007 (722110) *

            "The only dynamic I can think of to counter that is the mobile side of things, where the ability to block ads is almost nonexistent (unless you can jailbreak the thing, or find an add-on browser that supports it, etc.)"

            I use Weblock on iOS, which works quite nicely for the general stuff, like those awful spy buttons.

            I entered all the blocked links from my usual dozen news sites, copied manually from my Adblock settings on my desktop.
            You can't read a news site nowadays without that, those guys are desperate.

      • Re:Tuning it out? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Monday June 23, 2014 @04:40PM (#47300363)

        of course the point that marketing effect on consumer behavior is largely unconcious remains.. so that's the real handicap on this study

        This "study" is garbage. Most people have always said that advertising doesn't effect them. They said the same thing back in the days of TV, radio, and print. Poll results mean nothing. Web ads link to specific landing pages that allow the advertisers to track the source of the click, and track it to any eventual purchase. If the ads weren't paying, the advertisers wouldn't be running them.

        My company runs web ads, and we know exactly which are working, and which aren't. Social media sites actually don't work well for us. Search engine text ads, triggered by specific search terms work much better. But social media ads appear to be working fine for many other advertisers.

        • by Shadow99_1 (86250)

          Social Media advertising when it works well is often the users _wanting_ to partake in the brand they favor. Their was a really good recent documentary on the social media advertising world, both regarding products and people. For products most are already established brands that want to milk their following for potential expansion to the friends of the people who partake. For people it's all basically getting someone known to showcase people who are not yet known. 'Expanding circles' and all that.

          The first

          • by Hadlock (143607)

            Social media works great for things I will talk my friends about movies, politics, and occasionally global sports like the world cup or Olympics. Since I don't watch TV I couldn't tell you what's playing right now, especially since most movies are reboots or sequels which really blend together unless you've seen the trailers a few times. I did end up buying a ticket to the Lego movie due to an ad on Facebook. After almost all of my friends had been talking about it for weeks. Ads for dishwashing soap, soda,

        • Re:Tuning it out? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Znork (31774) on Monday June 23, 2014 @05:00PM (#47300491)

          Social media advertisement is the sales guy sitting down at your table in the bar and trying to sell you a new refrigerator when you're hanging with friends because he saw you looking at refrigerators two weeks ago in a shop.

          Search or content related advertising is the sales guy trying to sell you a new refrigerator when you're looking at refrigerators.

          One of those has a chance to make a sale and might even be appreciated. The other is just irrelevant.

          For sales, it's pointless to know what a customer is interested in if you don't know when they're interested in it, which means you're always better off targeting content over people because content has both temporal targeting as well as interest targeting implicitly right, while person profiling and social media presentation only gets a generic long term interest profile and implicitly targets people doing something other than being interested in products.

        • This "study" is garbage. Most people have always said that advertising doesn't effect them.

          So how does one account for click-through counters? Sure, one can say that the ad may not get clicked on but the thought is implanted, etc... but there is (unlike radio and TV) at least one metric advertisers can use to determine how effective an online ad is.

          • by 0123456 (636235)

            So how does one account for click-through counters? Sure, one can say that the ad may not get clicked on but the thought is implanted, etc... but there is (unlike radio and TV) at least one metric advertisers can use to determine how effective an online ad is.

            But no advertiser wants that used as a metric, because people with an IQ higher than a watermelon only click on ads by mistake, or when they're offering free stuff.

      • Re:Tuning it out? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Tyndmyr (811713) on Monday June 23, 2014 @06:15PM (#47300997)
        It isn't adblock...it's clickfarms that are killing it. Some people buy likes to look popular, and these are done via bots or underpaid folks in poor countries. Meh, no big deal, right? Well, if you buy likes, those accounts are pretty worthless, and the lack of interaction means your posts will be rated badly, and not shown to nearly as many of your fans who are real people. So...just don't buy likes, then? Well, the problem doesn't end there. To disguise themselves, the spam accounts go through and click like on random different things to obscure patterns. Legitimately bought ads will produce mostly worthless likes from clearly foreign accounts, regardless of where they claim to be from, or how you filter your ad purchasing. This is why I no longer purchase facebook ads in pursuit of likes.
    • by sumdumass (711423)

      This site is about as social as i normally get. I had to turn the advertising off because it started throwing pop up in new windows.

      Anyhow, when it was on, nothing interested me unless i was looking for something specific and it judt happened to be there. But in searches and crap like that, i go out of my way to avoid the advertising links or products unless it is something specific and they are yhe only providers. Slashvertisements on the other hand seems to work because when i need to solve a problrm, i g

      • by rsborg (111459)

        This site is about as social as i normally get. I had to turn the advertising off because it started throwing pop up in new windows.

        The hope, I think, for advertisers and their customers, was that social media users were as gullible and low-info like TV watchers.
        The problem they ignore is that the web is simply not designed for ads nearly as well as TV (though TiVO/DVR revolution is almost analogous to ad-block in it's dampening of ad spots), and the social media user base isn't nearly as comfortable with being spammed as TV users.

        Part of me wonders whether advertising actually works, or is simply a formalized form of hidden bribery (i.

        • Of course, no one went broke overestimating the stupidity of people in large numbers.

          The Lone Ranger, John Carter, and Cowboys & Aliens might disagree with you on that ... though your point still remains mostly valid.

          • The Lone Ranger, John Carter, and Cowboys & Aliens might disagree with you on that ... though your point still remains mostly valid.

            In those cases they weren't overestimating the stupidity of the masses, but were instead overestimating their capacity for poor taste. ;)

        • by Darinbob (1142669)

          I think TV ads still do some work even with DVR/Tivo. I just left satellite with tivo, for streaming only. I just realized by looking at a newspapers that I had no idea about new movie releases in the theater even big name releases. Before, even with a DVR you see some ads as they flash by, and my finger is not on the remote to immediately fast forward through ads so I end up seeing some of them, other timers I'm just being a vegetable and sit through the ads rather than fumble for the remote.

          I notice on

        • Re:Tuning it out? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by s.petry (762400) on Monday June 23, 2014 @05:00PM (#47300495)

          Part of me wonders whether advertising actually works, or is simply a formalized form of hidden bribery

          Sure, advertising works. That's why we have had TV commercials since very early on. Does it work the way people claim it does on the Internet? Well, that is a different question and that answer is "depends".

          I think an important thing to remember, is that a metric assload of science has been done specifically for advertising. For some reason, that science is not really used with advertising on Web sites.

          What works? Easy. Products and placement with certain colors and sounds, targeting your average audience. This is why demographics for TV and Radio shows are important. Have younger females listening? Advertise woman's products, "light" alcohol, and healthier foods. Have a bunch of younger males watching? Advertise beer, fast food (Extra Big Ass Fries), and men's products. Have a mix of younger adults, run gender neutral ads for cleaning products, baby products, and "family" style food.

          The key here is that ads have to be appealing, not overwhelming. Sure, some people fall for the infomercial fast talking guy showing off their "Amazing (Billy Mayes TM)" products, but those are an extreme minority. The majority of web sites either don't care about overloading consumers or don't realize they are doing it.

          What does not work? Overload. Slashdot currently has dozens of adds, all blinking and flashing in an attempt to get your attention. This method of advertising is equivalent to having 10 TV commercials simultaneously sharing your TV screen. It's annoying, and the overwhelming majority of people won't click anything even if they might be interested. What they will do is open a new browser window and search in clean space for the product and information. This way they can get it without the overloading of senses. Web sites decided a while ago that since you can't target an audience by any rational means, the majority of the time, you have to overload people with everything they might possibly want and pray that a user clicks and generates a fraction of a penny.

          Services like Google ads try to make more sense of your audience so that you can target them more like TV/Radio commercials. Web sites on a massive scale may use the targeted ads, but are still overloading "hoping" for a click.

          Psychological studies have shown how good sensory overloading can be at causing discomfort and confusing the audience. Ever wonder why CNN and MSNBC have shit flashing all over the place? Overloading is a huge reason why, and yes it's intentionally done. Not for advertising purposes, but it's an interesting one to study.

    • by meerling (1487879)
      And the stuff that does get through pisses us off enough we often swear to never use that product.
    • For the $50 promotional advertising credit I got with my dog's Facebook he pulled down 7,500 fans. Granted he is not a brand, but there is some effectiveness with them. I personally haven't used Facebook outside of the pages (which are naturally ad free), so I can't testify to the experience for those who do. I don't want to keep tabs on people, but Squinky demands fame.
    • People learned to "tune out" ads on the radio more than 100 years ago. Then TV. Then (sadly) cable TV, which got its start by selling itself as "ad-free subscription television". Then internet.

      Why business seem to keep thinking they can force people to pay attention to their ads is beyond my understanding. They have 100 years of practice NOT paying attention.
    • by Drethon (1445051)
      I don't use it at home, I just tune out. I use adblock at work to get rid of those annoying "IT has blocked this facebook ad because..." that are a hundred times larger than the original ad.
    • I only use AdBlock when the advertising gets abusive.
      Music, live video, full screen popups. For the normal stuff I let it pass. I am going to the web site for some content I want to get, and maintaining a website isn't free. As well I don't want to pay to view the site, so I will take most adds as a fair trade.

    • I used to use it, but then I started using no-script... and I didn't need it anymore.

  • by rastos1 (601318) on Monday June 23, 2014 @03:41PM (#47299957) Homepage

    62% of the more than 18,000 U.S. consumers it polled said social media had no influence on their buying decisions.

    Are the customers able to recognize whether they got influenced? I thought that current advertising methods are predominantly trying to influence subconsciousness rather then consciousness decisions.

    • by i kan reed (749298) on Monday June 23, 2014 @03:47PM (#47300005) Homepage Journal

      Which is why advertising is a poison to society and must be destroyed. The set of advertising that is tolerable: (i.e. makes you think "That is an excellent point and I should reconsider my purchasing") is so heavily outpaced by the kind that's hellbent on being emotionally and psychologically manipulative to get you to do things against your own interest that it would be entirely acceptable collateral damage in my opinion.

      • I agree precisely with your angst.

        Unfortunately, I've never hear a seemingly viable proposal for how to solve the problem. My conclusion always keeps coming back to "buyer beware" as the best policy. Although I'd say that the more (literally) compelling advertising becomes, the more radical the solutions that are probably warranted.

      • by taustin (171655)

        From what little attention I pay to ads, the current model seems to be one of two approaches:

        "Our products are for mentally retarded halfwits, so if you're stupid you should buy it."

        or

        "Give us money or you'll die, your children will die, and someone will kick your dog."

        The former seems to be more prevalent among non-staple consumer goods. The latter is nearly universal for TV news programs and web sites.

        Both are insulting to the intelligence, but not nearly as insulting as the fact that they work.

      • by thoth (7907)

        Which is why advertising is a poison to society and must be destroyed.

        How does this square up with the U.S. Constitution's 1st Amendment, the part about freedom of speech?

    • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Monday June 23, 2014 @04:14PM (#47300187) Homepage Journal

      Good point. I remember the '60's, and the radio jingles. I was just a kid then, but some of the jingles would stick in my head. Talked to someone who knew about such things, and he told me that even if it pissed me off, the advertisers thought it was a "GOOD THING" when those jingles stuck.

      Now, today, I don't see advertising. I know that advertising doesn't influence me. I just don't see it.

      When I need or want something, I get online, and start researching. I find a hundred products that claim to do what I need, so I narrow it down some. Compare some specs, and decide which of the specs really feel right to me. Is precision more important, or durability? Do I need tensile strength, abrasion resistance, or what do I need? Find some products with the specs I can live with. Finally, look at the prices. HOLY SHITE!! Reject the highest priced 25% right off the bat. Compare the specs again. Hell, those cheap things barely squeak in to the acceptability picture. I'm usually left with a half dozen or less products to choose from - at this point it's a matter of deciding whether to take the high or low end of the price spectrum.

      Research pays off. When I finally get my stuff, it actually works for whatever I need. And, I usually got it for about 60% of whatever my workmates found their substandard items for.

    • 62% of the more than 18,000 U.S. consumers it polled said social media had no influence on their buying decisions.

      Are the customers able to recognize whether they got influenced? I thought that current advertising methods are predominantly trying to influence subconsciousness rather then consciousness decisions.

      Exactly. The typical ad campaign gets people to say "Dove Soap!" as many times as possible online. So then you're standing in the supermarket, trying to pick soap and "Dove" seems familiar to you... so you buy it. You likely don't even remember the reason you heard it before is some crazy dude made a wax sculpture of a a polar bear out of dove soap bars and it was a meme that got liked 100x in your feed a few weeks ago.

    • This. The only thing that that statistics should tell is that customers are still too aware of the ads (from the advertisers view), and that they need to keep trying to raise that statistic. That said, a majority of people unaware of advertisers influence on them is not bad, I wonder how it compares to TV viewers?

  • by Minupla (62455) <minupla@@@gmail...com> on Monday June 23, 2014 @03:43PM (#47299973) Homepage Journal

    No one is ever influenced by advertising, ask around. People say "no, I'd never buy something because it's on TV" but those infomercials stay in business for a reason.

    So polling people and asking them if advertising is effective on them is a bit of a red herring. Like IQ tests - logically half the world has IQs less then 100. Oddly, I've never met any of them.

    Now the question 'is social advertising effective' is certainly open for debate, but not because some survey says people believe it's not effective on themselves.

    Min

    • The point of advertising is not to sell products but to promote their existence. Laugh all you want at the Ronco Rotisserie Chicken machines or Ginzu knives, but we *all* know them. I find myself preferring name brands simply because I've just seen their logos and heard their names before. That's what advertising is for.

    • Yes indeed. People will SAY that advertising doesn't affect them. Then they immediately put on their Nike shoes to head to McDonald's for a Coke.

      Coke isn't a billion times tastier than Joe's cola. It sells a billion times as much because it's been advertised a billion times as much.

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        Coke isn't a billion times tastier than Joe's cola. It sells a billion times as much because it's been advertised a billion times as much.

        It sells a billion times better because it's available just about everywhere and people know that it tastes like crap, but they don't know whether Joe-Bob's Home Cola tastes better or is recycled pig slurry. Joe-Bob could spend billions advertising Joe-Bob's Recycled Pig-Slurry Cola, and it still wouldn't sell as well as Coke does.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Coke isn't a billion times tastier than Joe's cola. It sells a billion times as much because it's been advertised a billion times as much.

        I prefer [Mexican, sugar-based] Coca-Cola to pretty much every other cola out there on the basis of flavor, no matter how much advertising I consume. Which for me, is very little. I probably hear more commercials while shopping than in the rest of my life combined because I consume streaming and not broadcast media, and I use ad blockers.

    • by Drethon (1445051)
      Well the Samsung adds influenced me to buy a Galaxy S5... after I did a ton of research and found no Motorola or LG phones that looks quite good enough and do not want an iOS device doing anything but playing music.
    • by mythosaz (572040)

      Like IQ tests - logically half the world has IQs less then 100. Oddly, I've never met any of them.

      Every time I see this, I think it's important to remind everyone that because of the way IQ scores work, you can raise your own IQ simply by killing people smarter than you.

    • by houghi (78078)

      So why are we not allowed to swear on tv? Why are we not allowed to see female nipples?

      The thing is, advertising DOES work. Be it via banners, email, posters, tv or whatever. What people often do not understand is that advertising (just like spam) is a numbers game. As long as you get more out of it then you put into it, it will stay.

      Regardless of what people think. And even if that 62% says it has no influence on them, I would be looking if I make a profit on it or not. If the 30% that I have some influenc

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 23, 2014 @03:43PM (#47299977)

    1. It's always different this time.

    2. It's not different this time.

  • Why "Sadly"? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by unamiccia (641291) on Monday June 23, 2014 @03:46PM (#47299991) Homepage
    Why can't we celebrate how the Internet continues to resist freighting information with advertising? That's one of its best attributes.
  • I'm genuinely curious, because that word does not fit in that sentence.

    • by hendrips (2722525) on Monday June 23, 2014 @04:24PM (#47300261)

      In English, it means "from age to age" or "generational." This meaning is actually older than the meaning you're probably thinking of.

      It ultimately comes from the Etruscan word saeculum, via Latin. In Etruscan & Latin, it meant the amount of time needed for a complete renewal of the human population, and if I'm remembering correctly, it was eventually standardized at 110 years.

      I believe that all Romance languages use some variant on seculo as their word for century.

  • i know single people who are always going out to bars
    single people hacking away on tech
    married no kids who are always chilling out somewhere
    and lots of other kinds of people

    why would i want to buy everything they buy? even then you can have a group of a dozen girls and some will have expensive and snobby crap, others wal mart crap, others the hipster overpriced crap, etc

  • Heck I tend to hold a grudge against companies that stick themselves in the middle of family pictures, or who are clearly trying to hide their ads as content.

    I think in general there is much more ad revenue being spent than the results can justify, but perhaps the rest of society is far more gullible than I give them credit for?

  • by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Monday June 23, 2014 @03:55PM (#47300059)

    1.) Social media advertising isn't as effective as advertisers hoped.

    2.) Social media can be mined for data about your products, what people think of them, and overall opinions about your company. It is also a tool for engaging with customers.

    Point 2 is much more useful to companies that 1; which means the real money in Twitter et. al. is data mining, not advertising.

    • Data mining and intercepting bad company experiences and "making good" on them. For example, we had something delivered via UPS. The driver left it on our front step, didn't ring the doorbell, and just left. It sat out there for hours before we realized it was there. The package could have easily been stolen during that time and neither UPS nor I would have known until it was much too late. We complained on Twitter and UPS contacted us in an attempt to find out what went wrong and how they could improv

      • Data mining and intercepting bad company experiences and "making good" on them. For example, we had something delivered via UPS. The driver left it on our front step, didn't ring the doorbell, and just left. It sat out there for hours before we realized it was there. The package could have easily been stolen during that time and neither UPS nor I would have known until it was much too late. We complained on Twitter and UPS contacted us in an attempt to find out what went wrong and how they could improve their policies.

        I think this is the real usefulness for companies on social media. Spot bad experiences, help minimize bad PR by helping those customers, and minimize future bad PR by fixing those problems before more customers are affected.

        Should have used FedEx.

        Seriously, I agree with you. The ability to learn about and fix problems can be a powerful tool to build customer good well and retention. Social media can supply a vast amount of near real time feedback on who you are perceived as well as alert you to bad (and good) customer experiences.

      • Data mining and intercepting bad company experiences and "making good" on them. For example, we had something delivered via UPS. The driver left it on our front step, didn't ring the doorbell, and just left. It sat out there for hours before we realized it was there. The package could have easily been stolen during that time and neither UPS nor I would have known until it was much too late. We complained on Twitter and UPS contacted us in an attempt to find out what went wrong and how they could improve their policies.

        I think this is a bit of a red herring. If the company cares about customer service then you shouldn't need to complain on a public forum to get them to pay attention - they should provide a customer support line and actually take all calls to it seriously.

        Spot bad experiences, help minimize bad PR by helping those customers, and minimize future bad PR by fixing those problems before more customers are affected.

        Now you've hit the nail on the head. Social media is actually a problem for companies: prior to social media, a company screws up, you complain, they ignore you, you moan about it to about 3 of your mates. Now, a company screws up, you complain, they i

    • by houghi (78078)

      Point 2 will bring it back to point 1. Not as a direct point of sale, but as a brand awareness tool.
      When you see an add for a drink, it is not ment that you imediatly go to the store and buy that drink. It is that you see the brand in the store and recognize it.
      As it is something familiar, you wil be more likely to buy it.

      • Point 2 will bring it back to point 1. Not as a direct point of sale, but as a brand awareness tool. When you see an add for a drink, it is not ment that you imediatly go to the store and buy that drink. It is that you see the brand in the store and recognize it. As it is something familiar, you wil be more likely to buy it.

        Certainly, but that doesn't mean they will buy advertising placements instead of just using the interactive capabilities.

  • "Why" "is" "Paradigm" "in" "quotes"? Secular? WTF is secular decline? Is that as opposed to ecclesiastical decline?
    • by hendrips (2722525)

      Secular as in "generational" or "over long periods of time." It's a perfectly valid use of that word, if a bit uncommon. In fact, that meaning of secular is much, much older than the (non)religious meaning you're thinking of.

  • but Gallup says "consumers are highly adept at tuning out brand-related Facebook and Twitter content."

    I go one step further. I tune out Facebook and Twitter entirely, not just brand-related content.

  • Lots of sites have ads that go to other sites which are ad supported. Many of these sites have ads for each other. It's like a big pyramid scheme.

  • by slashkitty (21637) on Monday June 23, 2014 @04:02PM (#47300121) Homepage
    Not in decline and certainly not for over a decade. They have been going up in both volume and price. Look at google's revenue numbers, of which a big portion is banner ads. Sure, they might not be the buzz word of the day, but banner ads still rule.
  • >> which the bulk of new tech company stalwarts swear is the source of virtually unlimited upside growth

    schwit1, are you one of POTUS's speechwriters in your day job?

  • by Rick Zeman (15628) on Monday June 23, 2014 @04:05PM (#47300139)

    As opposed to a holy increase as in "Holy shit, we're actually making money with these ads?"

    Spectacular, perhaps?

  • Otherwise you can't get anything done online.

  • "Unlimited upward potential", right... There's only so much advertising budget to go around; companies will shift some of it from traditional media to social / online ads. The actual upward potential comes from serving the long tail: small firms that cannot afford to pay traditional media ads, or larger firms that are willing to spend more on advertising if it turns out to be more effective. Or an advertisment arms race. But even that only goes so far.
  • http://www.gallup.com/poll/171... [gallup.com] is what this report is based on.

    Survey Methods These results are based on a Gallup Panel Web and mail study of 18,525 U.S. adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Dec. 12, 2012, to Jan. 22, 2013. All surveys were completed in English. The Gallup Panel is a probability-based longitudinal panel of U.S. adults who are selected using random-digit-dial (RDD) telephone interviews that cover landline and cellphone telephone numbers. Address-based sampling methods are also used to recruit panel members. The Gallup Panel is not an opt-in panel, and members are not given incentives for participating. The sample for this study was weighted to be demographically representative of the U.S. adult population, using 2012 Current Population Survey figures. For results based on this sample, the margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point at the 95% confidence level. Margins of error are higher for subsamples. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error and bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

    18000 is a very high number for phone interviews. I think most were internet polls. So 18000 people who clicked on and took a survey while casually surfing said they are not influenced by social media? If such click-any-dialog-that-pops-up-randomly people are not influenced by social media, what about the people who are actually skeptical of the "series of tubes"?

  • by MooseTick (895855) on Monday June 23, 2014 @04:11PM (#47300177) Homepage

    "According to the WSJ, citing Gallup, "62% of the more than 18,000 U.S. consumers it polled said social media had no influence on their buying decisions."

    I suspect most people would answer a poll saying advertising NEVER influences their buying decisions. Independent analysis may prove otherwise. Coke, GM, or whoever don't spend billions on advertising because they think it helps. They have done lots of tests and analysis, and they know it helps. Sure, lots of advertising is a waste. But targetted advertising at the right time and place can have a ROI.

  • by gurps_npc (621217) on Monday June 23, 2014 @04:12PM (#47300179) Homepage
    Look, there are two basic kinds of advertisement:

    Informational: This is what most people think advertising is all about. It provides you with information about a product. It might be telling you a new product exists, or just a new flavor/kind of an existing product. It might tell you about what it does, or the price, at heart it is simple and easy to understand - people can't buy it if they don't know about it.

    Branding: This type of advertisement is not about information, it is about a feeling. It's what most of those 'cool' superbowl ads are trying to do. It's why Coca-cola and Apple keeps advertising (everybody already knows about Coca-Cola and they rarely talk about price/new products). This is about creating the feeling that this product is the kind of product that people like you buy. It also makes people believe the product is higher quality, because look, they can afford to advertise. (which also implies they have insurance to pay out if they accidentally put lead pain in your toothpaste, as opposed to that store brand you never see on TV).

    Because lay people don't understand branding, they routinely underestimate the value of advertising.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Look, there are two basic kinds of advertisement:

      No. There are two basic kinds of advertising. Most advertisements use both.

  • Ad overload (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joe Gillian (3683399) on Monday June 23, 2014 @04:18PM (#47300219)

    The reason the bubble is bursting is no doubt another case of ad overload. It's a cat-and-mouse game that's been going on forever - advertisers flood a given communication medium with advertisements and people find a way around it. TVs have things like the DVR (and earlier the VCR), one of the key selling points of which is being able to record a show and fast-forward through the commercials. There's also the TV culture of using commercials as a time to get a snack, go to the bathroom, or do something else and then come back afterward.

    The internet is becoming the same way. First it was pop-up and pop-under ads, which caused all of the mainstream browser developers to implement pop-up blockers as an integrated component of the browser. Sure, they're not 100% effective and many advertisers have tried to find workarounds for it (such as ads embedded into the website layout that cover content unless clicked away) but for the most part, the pop-up is nowhere near as effective as it used to be.

    The same thing is happening for banner and flash ads. In the days when Internet Explorer had near-100% market share, it was comparatively difficult to install an ad blocker, as most of them came as third-party programs that had to be installed separately. Now, most of the major browsers (IE still doesn't to the best of my knowledge) have a modding interface that allows for easy installation of things like Adblock.

    Advertisers have to learn how to advertise smart, rather than try to be as intrusive as possible.

  • First off, I just instinctively turn off ads that I see in a browser. They are nothing more than an annoyance to me. Secondly, FB and Twitter are full of fake profiles.

  • by JoeyRox (2711699) on Monday June 23, 2014 @04:23PM (#47300249)
    "Every time you're exposed to advertising in America, you're reminded that this country's most profitable business is still the manufacture, packaging, distribution and marketing of bullshit. High quality, grade-A, prime-cut pure American bullshit."
  • "consumers are highly adept at tuning out brand-related Facebook and Twitter content."

    Or better yet, just not going to those sites at all.

  • by Stormy Dragon (800799) on Monday June 23, 2014 @04:41PM (#47300365) Homepage

    62% of the more than 18,000 U.S. consumers it polled said social media had no influence on their buying decisions.

    I hate polls that take some factual statement that is either objectively true or isn't, and then ask people whether they think it's true, as if that tells us anything about the factual matter rather than just the biases of the poll sample.

    Social media advertising either influences or it doesn't. And it will influence or it won't regardless of whether zero, half, or all of the country thinks it does.

  • ....since I suspect it's based more on consensual delusions & back-scratching within the industry than actual data.

    Does Nike *actually* get $3 million more profit if they have a superbowl ad, than if they didn't? If they don't, then do they really need to pay that cutie-pie that is the assistant to the assistant director $85k/year to fetch donuts and sort the mail? Or the still photographer an annualized contract rate of $160k/year to shoot the 'making of the commercial' art book pictures? Aside from the shlubs who sling lights and mikes and do the tech work, the media industry is generally staggeringly overcompensated. I wonder when someone will notice?

  • by superdave80 (1226592) on Monday June 23, 2014 @04:49PM (#47300425)

    Most advertising doesn't really affect buying decisions. Sometimes you might see something new, but mostly it's Coke, Budwiser, etc., things that everyone has known about for decades.

    The funniest online ads I see are when I search for or buy something... and then see an ad for that exact thing a few minutes later on some sidebar ad. Hey, dipshits, I already know about that thing you just advertised BECAUSE I JUST WENT ONLINE TO LOOK FOR IT AND BUY IT!

    This is a little bit like paying someone to hold up a sign for Ford cars to show to people that have just left a Ford car lot.

  • by ErichTheRed (39327) on Monday June 23, 2014 @04:51PM (#47300433)

    I honestly don't understand the effectiveness of advertising, but that's just because I ignore most of it, and of the stuff that gets put in front of me, none of it influences a single purchase decision I make. I would much rather see a product for myself or rely on a non-sponsored recommendation from an acquaintance.

    It boggles my mind that there are humans that are controllable enough to fall for the "Oooo, here's an ad!" --> "Let's click on it!" --> "Psychologically engaging content designed to sell me something" --> "Let's buy that!" chain of events. It must work, otherwise there wouldn't be a whole science behind advertising / consumer psychology, but I don't get it.

    It seems to me that if you have a good product, it will sell itself and all you need to do is get a few people to try and recommend it to their friends. If you can do that, then you're just wasting money on traditional ads. Everybody knows Rice Krispies exist, and some people find them tasty. Why does Kellogg's have to tell the world over and over again that they exist?

    Oh well, I'm not looking forward to the 40+% drop in stock market values that's coming with the next bubble pop, but I guess that's the way the new new economy goes.

    • I know rice krispies exist, and I may like them okay. But if all I see are frosted flakes and lucky charms, I might forget about my beloved rice krispies. If they're not in front of my eyes when I make a shopping list, I might just replace that box of frosted flakes that's getting low.

      More to the point, if I'm looking for a new car -even just thinking about it (or dreaming about it), I might click on an ad for a car I might not normally chose just to see some pretty pictures and feel-good video about how ha

  • by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Monday June 23, 2014 @05:05PM (#47300521)
    I have clients who have basically thrown their money into a facebook toilet; and I also have clients who have reaped huge benefits. The key for the ones where it worked was that they knew exactly who their customers were and very carefully measured the results and could then compare the value they got from facebook as compared to all other media including billboards. Facebook was the hands down winner and was more than 100x cheaper than things like radio on a per customer generated basis. On a side note billboards were far less effective but the best of the traditional media.

    But that only applied for a few narrow products. I don't think it would work very well for a high commitment product such as a car. I would not be surprised if the car companies have tried facebook and spent more in advertising per customer generated than they got back in profit per car. For instance I would recommend facebook for a TV show on tonight, and as a reminder to listen to some radio show. But it would require highly targeted advertising. So for Game of Thrones it probably isn't too hard for them to nail GOT watchers on Facebook with pinpoint accuracy and to make sure the ads were even episode specific. But for NBC to remind people to just watch NBC in general, probably a waste of money.

    So basically I would dismiss anyone who makes any generalizations about social media advertising as either being good or bad. It is a very specific tool that is very good for a narrow range of jobs.
    • We have a yarn store. When we started it about three years ago, the problem was nobody knew we existed.

      We got measurable and worthwhile returns from Facebook advertising.
      We got diddly squat measurable returns after giving money to Google.
      We advertised in the local paper. It's not obvious that the people it brought in covered or will cover the cost of advertising.
      We participated in a local yarn store community event (http://www.rosecityyarncrawl.com/) and have had 2X the business ever since.

      There are people

  • And if they surveyed people on how much TV advertising affected their buying decisions I wonder what the result would be? Above or below 30 percent? And what multiple of social media ad spend is spent on TV advertising again? 10x, 100x? By thatmettroic everyone in America better say they are not only affected by TV ads, but they cause them to buy two of everything.

  • I do not know if anyone else recently clicked that Facebook: "give us feedback" link.

    I was interested in what Facebook was currently working on, so I did. It was a unabashed survey used to try and make ads less visible and more like the rest of your feed. So I think that FB would agree that 60 odd percent is a failure, but they are continually working at integrating ads better into all of our feeds so that we do not even know that they are there.

  • 62% of the more than 18,000 U.S. consumers it polled said social media had no influence on their buying decisions

    sure, there are of course individual ad campaigns that fails, but this isn't how you come to that understanding.

    while i'm not a professional "pollist", this seems tremendously flawed. first, advertising's effects are largely on the subconscious. it's not like you see an add for mcdonald's and think out loud to your self "i'm going to get some mcdonalds". it's more like you see 500 ads for mcdonalds where multicultural hipsters are hanging out and having fun eating mcdonalds on youtube and the next time you

  • Many here would basically diss ads, but they might sing another tune when all of this stuff you get for free now, like email, news content, etc, ends up costing even more money out of your pocket in addition to what you spend on the internet connection itself. Be careful what you wish for. This is the sheer stupidity of the "ad busting" thing, how the hell do you think that the companies that provide these free sites to you pay their bills? Do you realise that without the ads these sites would not exist or

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