We have this idea for a book we’ll never write, so here’s an outline for Malcolm Gladwell’s next slim read (side benefit = he won’t have to rehash “Outliers” again):
1. Everyone (except us) thinks digital advertising will soon reach 100% of all ad spend
2. Currently, digital (Facebook Twitter, et al.) gets the free pass that traditional ads do = impressions
2. Digital will reach a “reverse tipping point” (hah!) if it doesn’t solve for engagement
4. The road to digital engagement looks bleak
5. Twitter’s stock value plummets
Point #4 comes from an observation we made related to research just released from Edelman, “the world’s largest PR firm.” Somehow, someway, the Edelman folks came up with sixteen ways that brands can share with consumers…
Let us pause, and repeat that…
SIXTEEN WAYS THAT BRANDS – inanimate objects, mind you – can SHARE with consumers.
Only one of which turns out to have anything to do with selling an actual product, but we digress.
Edeleman then surveyed 11,000 people globally and found out that not a single one of the 16 “ways of sharing” was rated as important by more than half of those polled. Said differently, and using Edelman Way #1, for example: If you asked two random consumers if it was important to them that a brand “listen and respond thoughtfully,” one would say yes, the next would say no.
And so on, down the list of sixteen. Which makes the whole platform of “brand sharing” seem rather specious.
Here’s the kicker, and the one most important to our, er, Malcolm’s future book. “Edelman Ways #14 thru #16” is the future for Twitter. They go like this (slightly paraphrased):
> “Invites people to share their product experiences with others”
> “Links people online and offline thru events and activities”
> “Enables people to share info/stories/videos with friends”
They finished dead last in importance. Not even one of every three people polled thought it important for brands to “share” in these ways. Just as interestingly, they also finished dead last when rated by the respondents as to how well brands do those things today. Fewer than one in ten said brands did these three things well.
Think about that. These are the user-generated contests, hashtag promos, and share-this-link-and-we’ll-donate-a-penny folderol that brands have fallen over themselves pumping out for the past three years.
And they are Twitter’s future. Or lack thereof.
So if you get some hot IPO stock, mark your calendar for October, 2015. Check to see if digital advertising has plateaued. Then ring the register on some of that Twitter stock.