Because social media is new it is easy to hype, marketers do. While I too have hyped the interactive nature of blogs and the web, I find that connecting directly with the end targets and their interests is typically more predictable and more profitable than running strategies through sites like Digg. With that thought in mind, I asked if social media traffic is worth a cent.
Google slightly missed their Q4 whisper numbers, by a wider margin than some appreciate, due to gains associated with weak US dollar value. Paul Kedrosky stated that Google's quarter over quarter gain due to exchange rates was $93 million, and year over year was $200 million.
Why were Google revenues soft? Perhaps analysts were expecting too much. Perhaps the pending recession. Who knows, but the one thing that Google did state as a big weakness was social networking inventory. On the call George Reyes, CFO of Google, said
We have found that social network inventory is not monetizing as well as expected.
Social media has little to no value to advertisers. There is little to no implied intent. It is the exact opposite of focused marketing like search marketing, direct navigation domain names, and targeted affiliate sites. You simply can't put a value on a social media connection like you can on search.
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