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The Death of Advertising

February 1st, 2010 by Bob Bly

Word-of-mouth marketing has always been more powerful than paid advertising, simply because people believe their friends more than they believe advertisers.

Social networking multiplies your ability to share your opinion about a product exponentially.

According to a study by Jupiter Research, online social network users are 3X more likely to trust their peers’ opinions over advertising when making purchase decisions.

People talk about products on social networks. The social networking site myYearbook found that 81% of survey respondents said they had received advice from friends and followers related to a product purchase through a social site.

Of those who received advice, 74% found it to be influential in their purchase decision.

It would seem that marketers who can successfully integrate social media with traditional marketing would wipe the floor with the rest of us, don’t you agree?


This entry was posted on Monday, February 1st, 2010 at 5:20 pm and is filed under Advertising. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

120 responses about “The Death of Advertising”

  1. James said:

    But where do your friends hear about the product in the first place? I’m a believer that social media plays a part in the conversation, but it’s only a part. The ice breaker and awareness comes from traditional advertising. But of course, you know that already.

  2. Chris said:

    Absolutely agree. I’m trying to make in-roads into b2b applications of social network marketing. Other than LinkedIn, heard of any networks where decision makers congregate by industry type?

  3. TonyD said:

    I can think of many times when I chose products other than those recommended by friends or reviewers.

    In those cases, marketing was able to successfully differentiate the product. I came to see the product as having benefits not seen or used by the other users, but significant to me.

    So a “pitch” delivered by multiple channels is still a “pitch”. Competing with it will just require a different strategy.

  4. Annie Daniel said:

    It’s actually possible that we plainly rely on our friends statement on trying a particular product or service. Why? Because, they believe that we are telling the truth. There are so many paid people now who are willing to give do a positive advertisement. Even without enough knowledge about the product or service.

  5. Kamil said:


  6. Brandon said:

    James is right. Social is great and it plays a part in the decision-making process. But it doesn’t always introduce the product or service.

    Another spin that I recently discovered in working with a client. Facebook advertising may not be good for gathering direct sales, but it has helped to introduce the products to a target demographic. The traffic later converts through search or direct visits to the website. Figure that: brand awareness that eventually converts to sales on a social network. Who da thunk it?

  7. William Reynolds said:

    Sometimes the introduction to products or services can occur as a by-product of an introduction to the industry expert behind them.

    People aren’t just recommending products or services to each other through the grapevine — they’re recommending information. “You’ve got to read this guy’s blog” is pretty powerful stuff, especially if the blog is selling its author as an industry expert through informative articles, links to recommended resources, product descriptions, etc.

    A regular stream of useful online content will have readers coming back for more and spreading the word about this new information resource. Over time those readers will develop more and more trust in the industry expert’s tips and recommendations, and they’ll start buying associated products or services and then pitching them to others.

  8. Phil Wrzesinski said:


    I think the real issue here is that “trust” sells. And people trust their friends more than they trust traditional marketing because for too long they have been burned by traditional marketers not being trustworthy. At the same time, there are ways to get more trust through your traditional marketing.

    I just read a great book on this topic by Tom Wanek called “Currencies That Build Credibility”. In the book Tom shows how to make your ads more trustworthy.

  9. Melle Johnson said:

    You wonder about Farmville, the Facebook game. They used paid Facebook ads to introduce and I read from one source that the creators are making a killing. I doubt they have much or any marginal costs, maybe server space. But the spreading was built on trusting their friends entertainment sensibility.

  10. Sarah said:

    yes,totally agree. People don’t trust advertisers because they think advertisers only wanna sell their products, and they may lie to customers for their own benefits. Friends are more reliable and they may tell how they feel after using the product, and usually they don’t lie.

  11. Leisa said:

    Word-of-mouth advertising is probably the oldest as well as the most trusted. Why? Because we believe our friends. However, many times our tastes and needs are different from our friends.

    Social media is a good way to create a brand image through awareness over a period of many months (usually 6 to 7) to possibly a year.

    While I have generated a few clients from social media, I have found that the availability of information and experts is well worth the time spent on many of the social media sites (Ryze, Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter).

    In answer to your question, Chris, Facebook now has groups. There are many of them and you will have to search through them by topic. They are not usually industry specific, but you can join and find friends who are in your industry by browsing a few profiles (yes, a bit time-consuming). You can also create your own group.


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    I also prefer the opinion of my friends and family particularly the associates that I trust and have known for a long time! Plus I also understand that several advertisers get paid good cash to generate bad items look spectacular!

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