Another nail in the coffin of social media marketing

Another nail in the coffin of social media marketing

This week has been a doozy for digital marketing, and everything I’m seeing tells me one thing: relationships are key. I’m going to warn you ahead of time, this one’s a two-part-er; and today’s newsletter ends on that mid-story bummer.

Let’s jump into the news:

Facebook begins its downward spiral.” Facebook has pissed people off. The upcoming generation (post-Millenials) are the first for whom Fb adoption has dropped off; and the existing users are more and more put off by its creepy degree of data accumulation, as well as algorithmic dominance over our lives.

 “This is largely anecdotal, but almost everyone I know has deleted at least one social app from their devices. And Facebook is almost always the first to go. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and other sneaky privacy-piercing applications are being removed by people who simply feel icky about what these platforms are doing to them, and to society”[1]

When we couple this trend with new fb controls over brand publishing, it becomes alarmingly clear that we cannot continue to rely on Fb as a keystone in our marketing campaigns. Unsolicited personalization is not a relationship, it’s intrusive. There’s no relationship, no foundation, no happy venn diagram; it is simply attention-theft, and that’s uncool.

Oh, and look, we’re losing Google remarketing, too.

First, what is remarketing? These are often called reminder ads, and they work like this: “You visit Snow Boot Co.’s website, add a pair of boots to your shopping cart, but you don’t buy them because you want to keep looking around. The next time that you’re shopping online, Snow Boot Co. might show you ads that encourage you to come back to their site and buy those boots.”[2]

On January 25th, Google announced that they were extending functionality to the Mute this Ad setting in Google Ads choices. This will allow users to turn off selected ads on Google, websites, apps, AND, in a few months, Youtube and gmail ads. Moreover, this will impact all devices.

Bearing in mind that this is a user choice, our question becomes, “How can we encourage users to keep our ads going?” The answer again is relationships. We must understand the people behind the clicks and craft a user experience that provides value or interest to those people.

But wait, there’s more. This week, it was reported that nearly three quarters of women Baby Boomers shun all advertising. Oh, and let’s not forget that 78% of over 50’s command the purse-strings in their households (in the UK, this age group amounts to half of all consumer spending!). What went wrong? Marketers have made assumptions about this demographic, and those assumptions were WRONG. This has killed relationships with their audience.

91% of respondents wished advertisers would treat them as people and not as stereotypes


There is a lesson to be learned here: in real life or in our marketing campaigns, when we forge relationships, we strive to get to know the other person. In digital marketing, this means we pay attention to data and social conversations to better understand what our demographic cares about and wants to become. Our content, email, and ads, are each a step on the journey to “making friends” with our audience. This research strongly demonstrates that consumers are now more than ever willing to simply turn off the ads.

Where the heck does this leave us? For the moment, it leaves us out of time (if your coffee is already cold, I apologize). But next week, we will jump right in to how we can redirect our marketing efforts toward better friend-making, relationship building, and customer loyalty.

[Photo by Adam Jang on Unsplash]