Dear Brands: Sorry We Haven't Mentioned It, But Half Of Us Are Ignoring You

It's the inconvenient truth that brands have been hoping they wouldn't have to face up to. Their competitions may have farmed quite a few likes and they may have occasionally made us laugh enough to share, but typically, 40% of us Brits don't have a tinker's cuss what they put up on their profiles. The simple fact is that we mainly use social to talk to friends and build our own networks, and we're just not all that bothered if a brand wants to pretend it's not selling us something by putting something in our news feed that is kind of, well, ultimately trying to sell us something.

The Kantar TNS survey published yesterday will surprise some marketers but not others with its finding that although the UK is toward the top of the pack -- 57% disregard branded social in Scandinavia -- the global average is still around one in four. The researchers attribute this to people adopting new channels that were ad free but now take advertising, such as Instagram -- leading to a feeling that wherever they go, social users cannot avoid branded content.

The researchers go on to explain that two in five Millennials trust influencers more than official sources, but this is always the bit where I call out the statisticians and point out that means three in five do not, so stop trying to make a point that isn't there to be made.

Back to the research -- the finding is that brands must overcome the cynicism that many online users feel in being followed around wherever they go. In other words, if you just keep telling people to buy your stuff, they will switch off. The most successful social campaigns, it goes on to say, come from involving users in features such as Snapchat filters, for which Starbucks and McDonald's win notable citations.

The one bit of good news is that acceptance is far higher in growing economies where users may not yet have had time yet to become so cynical to branded posts. Kind of a backhanded compliment, that one, isn't it?

So, the takeaway for brands is that you will tuned out unless you are truly helpful, thought-provoking or entertaining (even all three). Use social as a broadcast medium that just pumps out what you want people to hear and you'll likely be not well received.

The figures are in and it doesn't make flattering reading. Social media users are feeling bombarded and in place of any blocking technology is social, they are instead mentally zoning out on brands that bore them.

Put your audience at the heart of what you do and involve them in it or be ignored. It's as simple as that.

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