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The social media myth (how 16 million followers equals seven sales)

The social media myth (how 16 million followers equals seven sales)

Last week Mark Read, the likable CEO of WPP, told me that the ad giant’s spending on TikTok was up five-fold in the last year.

He didn’t give a specific amount, but his point was clear. That is where clients want to go for marketing and advertising. Not just TikTok, but social media in general rather than, say, the Evening Standard.

His business is adjusting accordingly.

Is the PR trade going to have to go the same way, to spend its days on Twitter rather than with The Times?

Well, maybe. But disputes about the value of, say, ads on Facebook have been raging for several years.

The value of an ad in The Times seems comparatively easy to track.

Last week, gossip email Popbitch (our sources are wide-ranging), had this anecdote:

One company who paid for social media influencer and occasional singer Rita Ora to plug their (very affordable) product got a bit of a shock when they totted up the stats at the end of the campaign. The number of sales generated by Rita posting an Instagram photo and video to her 16 million followers?


If social media doesn’t work for advertising. Maybe it doesn’t work for PR either.

And we may be exaggerating the death of traditional media in any case.

Tomorrow, ITV posts full-year results. It has been trying to diversify its business for a few years, with some success. But the cash cows are still Coronation Street and whatever Ant and Dec are doing on Saturday night.

The City thinks revenues will have jumped to £3.4 billion, leaving profits of £630 million.

Hardly any of that will be to do with the ITV website or social media influencing.

Who is benefitting from higher oil and petrol prices? Well, big oil companies and speculators. But the Treasury too, this from Fair Fuel points out.

The VAT windfall from higher prices is worth £2 billion a year, it estimates.

Petrol could go to £1.80p a litre, it predicts.

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