What can you say dear reader…
Both Facecrook and Floptus use full page press advertising to try to rebuild credibility.
Who do you trust – certainly not the digital channels that’s for sure…
For a couple of years now dear reader, I have been presenting the mathematics of Facebook at marketing events. Each time I invite members of the audience to challenge them and put me straight, to make sure the numbers are correct. But nobody questions the numbers. They just nod in agreement.
Recently I’ve also replied to sales pitches from alleged Facebook experts in my inbox, and replied by inviting their assistance – with no response. But as you know, marketing automation doesn’t allow you to fake sincerity. So I don’t know if my messages have been received and ignored, or not received at all, due to the weaknesses prevalent in most marketing automation systems. That is, when you reply to a message, it gets lost in cyber-space because humans do not monitor the computers.
One issue I have with the numbers, is that I have to rely on Facebook – take it at Facevalue so to speak – when it comes to statistics. And as one of the most dishonest brands when it comes to user statistics, the numbers given out by Facebook always feel dodgy. After all FB regularly claims to have more users in an age demographic, than the living population of that demographic.
Last week folks, Facebook announced its fake accounts to be 270 million – way more than it alleged only a week earlier. Many suspect the real number of fake accounts to be much higher. It’s why so many marketers refer to FB as:
The figure for inactive accounts appears to be unknown. I have at least 3 inactive accounts that are still sitting idle and get the occasional view – according the the FB bots that notify me.
Interestingly, every teenager I know – mates of my kids – has at least one fake FB account. They use the account to log-in to games and other sites that force you to use FB to log-in. The kids don’t post to the account. The account names are fictitious. They only use the accounts for log-ins. So they are active accounts, just not socially active. Who knows how many millions of these false accounts exist around the planet? One can only assume they are included in FB’s statistics of active accounts?
So here’s the maths for you – all numbers are alleged, and taken from reputable online sources:
Total monthly active accounts = 2,000,000,000
Less fake accounts = 270,000,000
Less business accounts = 100,000,000
Less ad blockers (the single biggest consumer protest in history) = 700,000,000
Leaves alleged active accounts = 930,000,000
Percentage of users an ad on FB can reach is way less than 5%, but say 10%.
Advertising Reach = 93,000,000
Maximum engagement (Forrester and others) = 0.7%, but say 1%
Active engagement = 930,000
930,000/2,000,000,000 = 0.00465
So average active engagement = less than half of one percent!!!
This is less than an unaddressed letterbox leaflet.
That’s not so say FB won’t pay for itself, but it’s not viable for all brands or categories.
I have a number of clients who find it pays and others that don’t – it’s horses for courses. And FB is rarely the primary media channel for doing business. It’s just another channel you test and learn, then use if it works profitably.
I welcome any input into the numbers please. Also suggest you read the Ad Contrarian, Bob Hoffman for some more facts and revelations.
Gotta go – need to post this blog to reach the handful of humans who will actively engage with it on FB…
Last week I explained the numbers behind Twitter users, based on available information online.
Each month I take a cursory look into the top couple of hundred social media sites to see if consumer brands are making any inroads. And each month nothing surprises, as not much really changes.
The one thing it does reinforce is that the most popular sport in the world is, and always will be, people watching. It seems our fascination with celebrity is insatiable. And it’s why social media will primarily be a social channel rather than a business channel for consumer brands.
Instagram is not as easy to categorise as Facebook or Twitter, as there are accounts that are not always easy to define. Some describe themselves as actors and models, or actors and musicians, or TV stars and models, so I may have put one or two in categories that don’t represent their primary skill – so to speak.
Here’s the most recent summary of the Top 100 Instagram accounts. The only international consumer brand is Victoria Secrets – which I suspect has lots of young male followers who aren’t really customers. There is also a huge bias to American accounts.
The training videos refer to bloggers of nail polish and make-up application lessons. The top account in Instagram is Instagram itself with 65+ million followers, while the second highest is Justin Bieber with 23+ million. The 100th account has 4+ million followers:
Here’s the latest list of Top 100 Facebook accounts. The top 3 accounts are Facebook accounts with 534 million+ down to 161 million+ followers. The next is Cristiano Rinaldo with 102 million+, while the 100th account is the TV show The Big Bang Theory with 32 million+ followers.
Interestingly there are two accounts of dead people – Michael Jackson and Bob Marley. And Bob died before the internet was invented.
There are only 7 consumer brands in the Top 100 – apart from Red Bull, they are all American global brands that have spent $millions on their accounts: McDonald’s, KFC, Oreo, Pepsi, Starbucks, Walmart and Red Bull.
The concern of course, is for the future of marketing. Global brands have a collective marketing budget of $billions and thousands of degree-qualified marketing staff to do their bidding. Yet only 7 brands are in the Top 100 FB accounts and handful of lingerie/fashion brands are in the Top 100 Instagram accounts.
Yet the musicians, celebrities, actors, models and the like, generally have minimal marketing budgets, a PR Manager and maybe a handful of marketing staff. But they dominate the Top 100 social media accounts.
If they can dominate the social media space with comparatively minimal marketing support – what does it say about the skills required for the future marketer? After all, you can fail Year 10 at high school and easily be a social media manager – there are no skills/qualifications required to Tweet or post images to a social site.
Social media management continues to be the new industrial age job function – unskilled labour, doing mindless repetitive tasks at a machine – tweet, retweet, hashtag, upload, Like, tweet, retweet, hashtag, upload, Like, repeat infinitum…
I’m off to teach advertising strategy at university tonight – might have to revise the notes…
Each month I check the movement of the top social media sites to see if there’s anything enlightening.
Only this year have brands finally started to appear in the Top 100. Until a few months ago Coca Cola was the only “brand” to make the FB list. The list was dominated by musicians, actors and vacuous celebrities.
The World Cup has created an increase in football players and clubs making the Top 100 FB and Twitter accounts.
Given the amount of industry focus on social media, it is fascinating how few brands make the Top 100 lists. There are 11 in the FB list and none in Twitter. And those brands that do make the list have spent tens of millions of dollars to do so – Coca Cola, Red Bull, Converse (2 sites), Nike, Starbucks, Pepsi, Oreo, KFC, McDonald’s and Walmart.
Whereas the celebrities, musicians and actors have invested very little by comparison. If the biggest brands on the planet with their massive budgets, struggle to make social media work, what chance do most other brands and businesses have in social world?
It’s no wonder so many business executives are cynical about social media. As Associate Professor Mark Ritson says; “social media is about people it’s not about brands“.
As I’ve said before; “there’s a reason it’s called social media, not business media“. Most marketers need to invest a large part of their budget to get social media to work profitably, if at all. That’s not to say you cannot get a positive ROI on social media, but it’s not easy to do so.
And it’s not surprising that people are more interested in Cristiano Rinaldo, Shakira or even dead musicians, than they are in Walmart or McDonald’s. It’s human nature. After all, the world’s biggest sport is people watching. And this may come as a shock to some, but people don’t want brand relationships. Scary hey?
Account Type Facebook Twitter
Musician/Actor 47 63
TV Show/Movie 19 9
Football club/player 7 10
Social media site 8 8
Games 5 0
Vacuous celebrities 0 5
Dead musicians 2 0
Leaders/Politicians 1 5
Brands 11 0
Total 100 100
Hmm, I wonder what the Kardashians are up to today…
This was the headline in the SMH this week.
I was curious to read the article, because as I have primary school-age children, the subject of social media usage is regularly discussed among parents. In fact the kid’s school even had an expert on child psychology and technology, address the parents recently. We’re certainly in for a wild ride.
It was interesting to read that the 13 year old has no interest in Facebook, because it’s not something her generation is using. They prefer Instagram and Snapchat. And I’m not surprised. Social media is fashionable and fashions come and go.
And once parents start using the same social sites as their kids, the kids will abandon the site faster than they can send a text message – PLOS*. This is one of the reasons Billabong lost its mojo – middle-aged dads started wearing the same brands as their teenage kids. Sick hey? Not! (about as cool as dad saying ‘sick hey’)
I suspect that when my kids are young teenagers they will view that antiquated social site called Facebook as “dad’s technology” and have no interest in it. A bit like the way they look at my vinyl and CD collection.
The problem for parents like me is that the social sites in which our kids will be involved, have yet to be invented. We’ll have to learn about them on the fly if we want to know what our kids are up to.
I have to admit, while I help clients and my business with social media strategies, including FB pages, I rarely look at my FB account. This blog gets automatically posted to a FB page and apart from occasionally checking if people have commented on it, I spend little time on FB.
I recently asked a group of friends aged 30 to 55 if they were on FB and more than half don’t have an account, even though their kids do. They have their social networks which they address via phone, text and face-to-face. They are also time-poor because they have kids and most of their social habits were cemented with age. So they just aren’t interested in FB and don’t believe they are missing out.
Certainly they are still alive and none have lost their jobs or friends as a result of not using FB. I also know lots of people who are addicted to FB, spending loads of their life posting and time-wasting. And that’s fine if that’s what you like to do. Other friends from foreign lands who reside here, find it extremely helpful for keeping in touch with family back in the old country.
The point is, the sun will come up in the east and set in the west regardless of social media sites. And just as most choices we make in life differ among individuals, so our use of social media sites will vary. After all, today’s Facebook is tomorrow’s Second Life.
That reminds me, I need to update my profile on ‘Facebook with a Necktie’ – that’s LinkedIn, in case you haven’t heard the latest buzzword:)
* Parents Looking Over Shoulder