Social Media and The End of Everything
April 4, 2011 3 Comments
Email is dead. Direct mail is dead. Texting is dead. TV is dead. Everything but Social Media (and Google) is dead.
That’s the message we’ve been hearing, right? Now that Social Media is an integral part of our lives…and in some cases, the total sum of certain peoples’ lives…nothing else matters.
The argument that Social Media trumps everything, that Social Media eliminates all other channels, all other players, is complete crap.
Take SMS or texting as an example. In December of 2006, ZDNet prognosticated that by 2010, 2.3 trillion text messages per year would be sent worldwide. According to the ITU (International Telecommunications Union), 6.1 trillion text messages were sent in 2010. That’s more than double the 2006 ZDNet prediction. And if that stat isn’t enough to prove that Social Media hasn’t killed texting, try this one: At the close of the 2010 Japan versus Denmark World Cup soccer game, Twitter users were posting 3,283 tweets per second. During that same second, there were approximately 200,000 text messages being sent. Obviously, texting isn’t dead, but holding its own rather well.
And what about that old standby, television advertising? 2011 Super Bowl ad sales, considered one of the biggest indicators of ad spending for the year, were strong; Fox sold all spots months in advance of the big game. In 2010 CBS reported that nearly all 62 spots had been purchased a few weeks prior to the game, and at the same point in 2009 NBC had not reached the same volume in sold ads. So even though Pepsi chose to forgo a Super Bowl ad in 2010 in favor of a social media campaign (does anyone remember what it was about?), they came back in 2011. Did anyone notice that none of this year’s Super Bowl ads contained a social media call to action? It appears that television advertising is still a strong contender for brands’ marketing dollars. And not dead.
Then there’s email. Poor, denigrated email marketing. Marketing Sherpa surveyed more than a thousand email marketers and discovered that 41% of them will be increasing their email budgets by more than 10% in 2011. Why? Because email continues to perform. Open and click rates increased in 2010. We’ve all heard the declaration that comScore reported that email usage is down, right? Not so fast. comScore reported that visits to web-based email sites decreased 6% in 2010 while mobile email usage grew. Especially among younger email users, tomorrow’s consumers. Facebook even created their own email platform in 2010…if social media is everything, why is THE social media powerhouse developing an email offering?
I’m not denying the power of social media or the amazing variety of ways we use social media. In fact, the point is just that: social media has become pervasive. But it’s become integrated in the media vehicles, marketing channels, and advertising tactics that have been standard fare for the last 15 years. How many shows on Bravo, MTV, and Oxygen feature live “tweetups” during the season premiers and reunion shows? Billboards and emails feature live Facebook feeds and Twitter streams, direct mail pieces offer discounts for liking the brand on Facebook, and too many television commercials to count end with a request to find whatever at facebook.com/something.
Like all great technological advances, social media is becoming part of the things that already surround us every day. And those everyday things are adapting to take advantage of the power, relevance, and connectivity that integrating social media gives them. Rather than a parasitic relationship, where social media acts as the Gordian worm to marketers of the digital age, driving them to abandon perfectly successful tactics and strategy and drown themselves in a steady stream of social media madness, a mutually beneficial, symbiotic relationship is being established. Rather than killing everything, social media is helping our current media and channels evolve (yes, even email).
So what’s the point? Social media is another tool in the multi-channel market’s mix, strengthening traditional channels and being strengthened by them. This is the first in a series of articles where we’ll explore what makes up the marketer’s tool box (2.0) and how to use those tools together to create relevant, effective, and forward-thinking marketing in a real-time, multichannel world.
 “2.3 trillion text messages sent by 2010”, December 12, 2006. ZDNet Research. http://www.zdnet.com/blog/itfacts/23-trillion-text-messages-sent-by-2010/12176
 “ITU estimates two billion people online by 2010”, October 19, 2010. ITU, International Telecommunications Union. http://www.itu.int/net/pressoffice/press_releases/2010/39.aspx
 “The History of Social Media” [Infographic]. mashable.com. http://mashable.com/2011/01/24/the-history-of-social-media-infographic/
 “Super Bowl Ad Spending: What Does It Mean For Ad Trends?”, January 12, 2010. Julia Boorstin, CNBC. http://www.cnbc.com/id/34821174/Super_Bowl_Ad_Spending_What_Does_It_Mean_for_Ad_Trends
 “Chart: Changes in 2011 email marketing budgets”, February 8th, 2011. Jeff Rice, Research Analyst, Marketing Sherpa. http://www.marketingsherpa.com/article.php?ident=31832
 “Q1 2010 Email Trends and Benchmarks”, June 2010. Epsilon and The Email Experience Council (login required). http://www.emailinstitute.com/system/files/restricted/EPS_EmailTrendandBenchmarkReport_Q1_2010_060910.pdf
 “Email Evolution: Web-based Email Shows Signs of Decline in the U.S. While Mobile Email Usage on the Rise”, January 20, 2011. Sarah Radwanick, Senior Analyst, comScore. http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2011/1/Web-based_Email_Shows_Signs_of_Decline_in_the_U.S._While_Mobile_Email_Usage_on_the_Rise
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