Can Social Media Become Marketing’s Crystal Ball?
November 22, 2011 by Dave Kissel, President & CEO, InStadium
While we’re still at the early stages of understanding social media and its impact, the new study by Optimedia suggests it may not be the “next big thing” in marketing many tout it to be. Their findings, while initial, and as reported in the Wall Street Journal, suggest there is no correlation between online buzz of a new television show and the size of the audience that ultimately tunes in.
The Optimedia study found the top five shows in online buzz were not the top five shows in viewership and, in fact, the corollary was also true; some of the shows with low levels of pre-air buzz ranked up near the top of the ratings. As marketers, what can we make of this?
While the research is preliminary and the agency pledges to see if the initial findings hold true moving forward for the rest of the television season, the operative word should be “caution” when it comes to expecting too much, or reading too much into, the predictive marketing capability of social media. As social media is an ever-growing way to create and sustain dialog about subjects people care about, it may be better used to observe and understand people’s passions right now. And what do people care about?
There are few passion areas that elicit more conversation and social activity than the sports and teams people love, and love to hate. Nowhere is this more evident than inside the stadiums themselves, where smart-phone equipped fans are tweeting, texting, blogging, and liking anything and everything about their experience with their players and teams.
There’s no question social media is pervasive and its impact, from changing news-gathering, to toppling repressive regimes, to keeping teenagers connected, among others, is real and significant. And maybe expecting that social media can help us predict the future may be too far a stretch. But as a way to assess what people care about right now, it just may be a terrific laboratory to understand our passions, in ways that truly help marketers drive business results in the marketplace.
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