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Tuesday, Jul. 8, 2008 at 7:30 am

Traditional Media Stimulates More “Conversations” Than Digital Media?

By Jeffrey Eisenberg
July 8th, 2008

Wow! Is that true? I know lots of my colleagues wouldn’t want to believe it, but it certainly could be true, based on an interesting blog post I just read from Bob Hoffman.

The Ad Contrarian writes:

One of the axioms of Web 2.0 zealots is that “markets are conversations” (see Clueless and The Cluefree Manifesto) and that online social media (blogs, networking websites, Facebook, MySpace, etc.) are uniquely capable of stimulating “conversations” among consumers.

Just one tiny problem. They’re wrong.

On June 18, some facts arrived. And I think the social media maniacs are going to find the facts a little disturbing.

read the entire post

Let us know what your take is on this. If it’s true, then why do you think that is? If you think it isn’t true, then why not?

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Comments (4)

  1. We have come full circle with marketing and branding. I used to notice online advertising more and spend quality time reading, surfing and being inspired by web branding. In the last two years, I moved to skimming articles and rush through blog posts in my READER.

    Now when I read a magazine or watch TV, I get engaged with an advertisement. This makes me more likely to talk to my peers about a commercial or a print ad that catch my eye.

    Of course, then I go online and express my POV of the ads or branding strategy. And I am less likely to do that for a banner ad or web viral campaign.

  2. Jeffrey:

    In the NYTimes article, the authors of the report, the Yankelovich people, offer an interesting hypothesis on why this is true:

    “A principal reason for those results, said J. Walker Smith, president at the Yankelovich Monitor division of Yankelovich in Atlanta, was that for ads that made an impression, consumers using traditional media were in a more positive mood and more likely to be interested in entertainment and relaxation.

    “By comparison, consumers using digital media were more likely to be in busy moods, seeking control or solving a problem, Mr. Smith said, and they were more likely to be by themselves. In contrast, traditional media are often watched, listened to or read by people in groups.”

    This corresponds with a pet theory I have. One of the reasons the web has turned out to be a pretty lousy ad medium (other than search) is that it has remained to a large degree a medium of communication and information. It is only to a small degree a medium of entertainment. People are used to entertainment media carrying advertising. But they are impatient with advertising in media of communication and information.

  3. Bob,

    Interesting theory. I’ve been studying something similar. I suspect the “mode” people are in, affects how they respond to advertising.

    For example, if someone is in shopping mode – they’re probably more likely to respond to a percentage off or free shipping ad.

    But if they are in “relationship” or “communication” mode on a social media site, like Facebook, would that percentage off ad work as well? Or would a more “relationship” mode ad work better, say, promoting a free sample to “get to know” a product or brand. Or, take Ben & Jerry’s – would an ad asking people to “be a chunk spelunker” (their community to help pick new flavors, get free samples, etc.) be more effective?

    I don’t know. If you come across any more research on the subject, please do share.

  4. Holly,

    I’m planning to post something about this on my blog next week. I’ll let you know when I do.

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Jeffrey Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark. You can friend him on Facebook.

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