Newly released research from YouGov’s Media Consulting team implies people are reluctant to mix their social media accounts with marketing activities. A little under half (43%) of those polled were unlikely to talk about a brand on a social media site even if they heard something positive about it. Is online word of mouth fizzling out?
If these figures are to be believed, it just might be. The report also discloses that 44% of the British online population would not feel more positive about a product that their friends have followed and/or liked – so even if somebody does flag up a brand, it may not have any effect on their peers’ opinions. Whether these numbers reflect the thinking of the British population as a whole is up for debate, but if they do, it’s a damning indictment of the work that Facebook and its throngs of social marketers are undertaking.
YouGov’s Media Consulting Director Dan Brilot thinks the situation isn’t quite as clear-cut as the figures suggest, believing that we are yet to see the true power of social media marketing. “While social media can be a key tool in the brand marketer’s armoury, in particular to maximise commitment amongst those already highly engaged with the brand,” he says, “it has not quite reached the effectiveness necessary to be considered as a truly mass media marketing tool.”
The YouGov research goes on to state that 47% of the UK’s social media-using online population are uncomfortable with seeing ads based on their profile activities. Brand marketeers and media owners might do well to heed these sizable figures when building new targeting models.
A4u spoke to Stacey Alexander, Account Development Director at Arena Media, about the new research. She was optimistic about the role of social media marketing, telling us that Arena has had “great success working with clients in social spaces.” Alexander went on to say that creativity is key, and while immediate results might not be completely apparent, the aim is to build the brand’s relationships and create consumer confidence. “Social media should make consumers feel warmer about a brand,” she reveals, “and you can use peer-to-peer marketing to do this.”