Social Media

Stop the Daily Hyperanalysis of Facebook

Posted by Keith Trivitt on July 23rd, 2012 at 6:37 am

Take a step back from all of the digital experts' views on Facebook

Another day, another report telling marketers something they probably already know about Facebook.

Last week, it was a survey from the American Customer Satisfaction Index, reporting that “Facebook's reputation for customer satisfaction continues to tarnish while Google+ pops up,” as CNET described it.

Also out last week was a report by TBG Digital, which found that Facebook outperforms Twitter on the mobile advertising front. This comes after a mountain of reports and punditry informed marketers that Twitter was gaining the edge over Facebook in all things advertising. So much for that.

Not a day goes by, it seems, that another survey or analysis is issued in which it is claimed that Facebook is either doomed, poised for one hundred years’ growth or something in the middle. See this week’s speculation over what The New York Times described as Facebook’s “day of judgment” over its forthcoming earnings numbers.

The analyses are understandable, perhaps, given Facebook’s recent IPO, its 900-plus-million users and the fact that many brands and advertisers have staked their digital success on the hope that Facebook’s meteoric rise continues.

But the reports are nauseating for marketers who are seeking more in-depth guidance as to where the industry is moving.

What are marketers to make of these conflicting reports, surveys and anecdotes? Unfortunately, not much. Each adds to the cacophony of noise surrounding all things social media. And each adds another layer to the confusion companies have over where to invest their marketing dollars.

It’s no secret that marketers are feeling pressure to come up with provable ROI for their social media spend. But as eMarketer found last year, demonstrating ROI is becoming increasingly difficult as the social networking landscape continues to shift, consumers’ interest in social media waxes and wanes seemingly on a weekly or monthly basis and conflicting reports make it difficult to get C-suite buy-in for even the most basic of social media and digital investment.

It’s time for a break. Enough with the deluge of reports, analyses, surveys and general punditry about the brand value of Facebook, Twitter, et al.

That’s a tall order, I know. And it’s not likely to happen. But for those marketers who are grappling with the weight of keeping up with all of the information and data flooding in about their own brands, let alone the countless reports one needs to read to stay on top of industry trends and news, it’s necessary to take a step back.

It’s time to focus more on one’s brand(s) and less on the daily minutiae of the industry. Doing so will ensure marketers keep their focus on the bigger picture and don’t make snap campaign or budget decisions based on one-off reports and analyses.

What could help remedy this problem? A couple of ideas:

  1. More analysis and less punditry. We get it: Facebook and Twitter are hot. They are growing. Or maybe not. It all depends on which report or pundit you believe. But enough with the day-to-day micro-analysis. Marketers need deep more in-depth, macro-analysis that extrapolates past results with future possibilities to help them understand where, when and how to invest their brand dollars in social networks and how those investments might pay off in the long run.
  2. Less of the “this social network is up while that social network is down”-type of reporting. Who cares? In the grand scheme of things, these “analyses” don’t matter to brands and marketers because they generally make their investments in large enough chunks that a weekly examination of which social network is winning the growth game is irrelevant to their long-term planning.

My fear is that as the digital age evolves, we’ll continue to see more of-the-moment analysis of social networks’ growth and prosperity. It may make for great headlines but it’s lousy for helping marketers understand where and when to place campaigns on various social networks. For that, the industry needs more in-depth analysis and a move away from the weekly punditry cycle.

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