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Poorly-targeted social marketing is a waste of time

Justin Grey
11 November 2011 1 minute readShare
My Business

marketing-iconA new study of 72,000 consumers online behaviour suggests a majority don't want brands selling to them within social media.

A majority of consumers worldwide are uninterested in being approached by brands on social networks, according to the Digital Life Study of 72,000 consumers conducted by global market research company TNS.

The study found that 57 per cent of social network users in developed markets, a definition TNS says includes Australia, “do not want to engage with brands via social media.”


Of course that leaves 43% who do – and that’s a nice big chunk of the populace to chase online. Australia reportedly has more than ten million Facebook users, meaning more than four million people await your approach!

TNS thinks you therefore need to target your approaches online.


“The online world undoubtedly presents massive opportunities for brands, however it is only through deploying precisely tailored marketing strategies that they will be able to realise this potential,” said TNS Chief Development Officer Matthew Froggatt. “Choosing the wrong channel, or simply adding to the cacophony of online noise, risks alienating potential customers and impacting business growth.”

That's hardly a marketing revelation - poorly targeted marketing activity is a dud idea in any medium.

But Froggatt made a better point by lablling poorly targeted social media marketing “digital waste” and pointed out that many brands  fail “… to understand that these spaces belong to the consumer and their presence needs to be proportionate and justified.”

That's more in line with other commentary we have heard about the intimacy social networks, and of mobile devices. In the former users create a space to share with friends and don't like intruders. Mobile devices, we've been told, are acquired through emotion-charged processes akin to those used when buying jewelery or clothes because people want their phone to say something about them. Barging into that environment uninvited seems a very bad idea.



The report offers a few useful insights for online businesses, finding that only a quarter of social network users see those networks as a place where they want to buy products. But in less developed nations, nearly half are happy to do so. In India, 59% of users see social networks as a place to buy from brands.

Almost half of Chinese digital consumers have already used group buying, well ahead of some other nations. Asia is also a hot spot for mobile commerce, with 34 per cent of mobile internet users in China and South Korea already shopping on their phone, falling to just two per cent in Egypt.

Interactive displays of the report’s findings are online at tnsdigitallife.com

Poorly-targeted social marketing is a waste of time
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Justin Grey

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