Stand Easy, Marketers -- Digital Detox Is Just Hot Air

So the average Brit spends more time on devices than sleeping, according to Ofcom. That means there is good and bad news for consumers as well as brands. For consumers, three in four say the Web is important and four in five say it makes life a lot easier. So that's the positive bit. The negative part comes with those long hours in front of the television, mobile device, iPad and laptop -- meaning that one in three of us have decided it's time to cut back on consumption, even to the point of a "detox."

A third of the country deciding to detox digitally? Is that really a thing? I think a third of the country trying to cut down on some of their more vacuous social media surfing is almost certainly happening. You can see it around you as people call out anyone in a social gathering peering down at their mobile devices. You also detect that people are trying to get a better work-life balance by not actively engaging with evening emails as much as perhaps they have done in the past. These are things I think we would all say we're bearing witness to. 

But a digital detox -- what nonsense. It's one of those trendy, pointless things people say that's right up there with pretending not to watch television. It has become trendy to pretend to have ditched a smartphone for a book or a conversation, but I very much doubt this is happening to the point of one in three moving to the woods and taking up basketweaving as a hobby.

It reminds me of the very loud ways in which many "preachers" on social media announce that they are ditching the channel because they spend too much time on it or it's boring them. Typically, nobody begs them to stay and within a week they're back telling us all where we're going wrong and how great their kids are in comparison to everyone else's. This digital detox phenomenon is exactly the same thing -- a lot more talk than actual real action.

To put it simply, then, any digital marketer who has woken up to alarming headlines that one in three Brits are detoxing from those digital channels that hold such promise can rest easy. They say they are -- but just check media consumption and I doubt very much if it will be down.

That's not to say we don't waste too much time on devices -- clearly we all do. The key, as ever, is finding the right balance and using these new devices as tools to make our lives simpler. Whether it's ordering shopping online, being recommended an article we wouldn't otherwise have seen or avoiding repeats on the tv for a new series on Netflix, digital is a tool in our hands to make things simpler and better. That will never go away.

Digital marketing has absolutely nothing to worry about. Let people talk about digital detoxes as you get on with targeting them on the very device they have pretended to have ditched. 

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