Invisible Brand Marketing Is Not Just a Facebook Problem!

Invisible Brand MarketingStop grumbling about Facebook’s latest blow to marketers.

You’ve increased your likes 100-fold in the last two years, and many of your competitors have too. Others have finally jumped on the social media bandwagon, adding their own voice to the marketing cacophony of Facebook.

Of course your posts aren’t reaching as many people on Facebook!

Yes, Facebook is a public company and they need to increase revenue. The pressure of the Wall Street machine may be behind some of Facebook’s recent changes. But step back, this trend is way bigger than just Wall Street or Facebook.

All Your Brand Communications Are Slowly Disappearing

It doesn’t matter what channel you look at, your message isn’t getting through the way it once did. Instead of gripping, as marketers this is just our new reality. We need to work harder than ever to reach our audiences.

Social: Twitter Click Rates Are Falling

Facebook isn’t the only social network where brands aren’t reaching their audience as effectively today.

Twitter has gone from a social network to a content deluge. In the last two years, click rates on Twitter have dropped precipitously. No, Twitter isn’t filtering out your brand updates, everyone else’s content is bumping it aside though. The deluge of content has driven click rates down significantly for nearly everyone.

Twitter Click Rates Are Falling
(2011 data from social sleuthing article, 2013 data was collected with the same methodology. Comparable results for Jay Baer and NY Times are not available).

However, the problems don’t stop with social.

Email: Click Rates Are Falling

You are a significantly better email marketer than you were a few years ago and you put a lot more effort into it as well. You create numerous versions for different audience segments, multiple triggered email streams and possibly even personalize your send times.

But despite all of the extra focus that goes into today’s email campaigns, average click rates continue to drop year over year. According to Epsilon, click rates were below 5% every single quarter last year (2012), down nearly 20% from an average of about 5.5% in 2011. Based on the results from Q2 2013 the trend is continuing. (source and source)

Online Ads Are Blocked

Thanks to today’s online ad targeting, you can follow your audience all across the web. In response, they have turned to ad blockers. Today, the two most popular extensions in the Chrome store are ad blockers, with more than 10 million users each. Particularly if you target tech savvy audiences, 30% or more may use an ad blocker. This gaming site reported 42 to 46% of visitors use ad blockers earlier this year!

It isn’t just digital. Traditional channels are also impacted.

They Skip Over TV Ads

TV, still home to many of the most creative ads, increasingly struggles to actually deliver ads to their audience. Thanks to the DVR, removing ads on television is easy. In the US, 74% of DVR owners record shows so they can skip over your ads.

Time with Print Keeps Dropping

It may be hard to skip a print ad, but it isn’t hard to skip print. With almost any publication available online, hours or days before it arrives in your hands, more and more consumers are just avoiding print.

Between 2008 and 2011, the average time spent per day with newspapers fell 32% and time spent with magazines fell 28%.

Today, audiences aren’t just dispersed, many are taking steps to actively avoid advertiser. Getting seen and heard today is harder than it has ever been, not just on Facebook, but in every single channel.

As a marketer, this is what keeps your job, and my job, interesting and challenging. It’s time to stop complaining that it isn’t fair and start embracing the challenge.

Your Turn

How else do we actively avoid marketing today or what advice would you give marketers struggle to cope in the face of these trends? Share your view in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).

Photo Credit: stars alive via Flickr cc

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About Eric Wittlake

I am a digital and B2B marketer with a background in online media and analytics. I work with B2B clients on media and integrated marketing programs at Babcock & Jenkins. You can connect with me on Twitter at @wittlake or in the comments here on my B2B Digital Marketing blog.