2016: the year that shocked us all. With all the drama we’ve endured, there are naturally a lot of topics we’re sick of hearing, talking and thinking about as the year ends.
The same goes for the digital world - there are loads of campaigns around now that are, frankly, getting old. It’s important to have fresh content if you want to keep your audience engaged and attract new customers. But it’s easy to follow past popular trends, which can make your campaigns feel a little stale.
We’ve compiled a list of the digital campaigns that have been grinding our gears over the last year. Hopefully, we’ll see the back of these in 2017!
Don’t get us wrong, we love a fundraising campaign. But do big companies really need motivation from their social following to donate money?
British Gas recently ran a campaign where, for every tweet sent using #TweetForShelter, they would donate £1 to the housing and homelessness charity Shelter.
While this type of campaign raises awareness of the charity and your brand (you’ll doubtless get a few cheeky followers out of this), you’ve clearly got the money to donate, so just do it. Encourage others to do the same, but don’t encourage them to encourage you!
The fake shock factor
Hands up if you’ve ever been tricked into clicking on what appears to be an exciting link, only to be greeted by thin, uninspiring and often inaccurate content?
Clickbait articles have been rife this year, and it’s easy to fall into the trap. They often strike on social media, with titles like ’10 Ways to Beat the Monday Blues’ and a naughty little tagline like ‘#6 will really surprise you!’. In reality, #6 would make even the planet’s most easily shocked person sigh and yawn.
This also happens with those annoying articles that brands share on social media, where the titles bend the truth. They usually target celeb fans and lure you in by offering some juicy gossip on the latest beef in the showbiz world. But when you read the article, it’s nothing of the sort and you get a snapshot of the so-called rivals sending each other jokey tweets or something equally friendly. Give your audience what they want and don’t try to fool them, or you’ll just end up losing their trust.
The death of relatable vlogging
YouTube bloggers started out as average kids in their average bedrooms. Your everyday teen could relate to – and be inspired by – what their online gurus talked about, be it new game reviews or make-up tutorials.
But as the digital world grew, so did the vloggers’ salaries. Today’s video bloggers lead a celebrity lifestyle, one no longer relatable to their young audience. How did this happen? They’re starring on TV shows, they have bestselling books, the products they used to review are the products they now endorse…we could go on.
Of course, vloggers are great at their craft – they don’t make that kind of money doing nothing – but instead of a style you can copy, the youth of 2016 are now contending with the less attainable goals of fame and fortune.
Trying to make QR codes happen…
They’re not going to happen. They are dead. Once a simple way to marry the online and offline worlds with the quick scan of a smartphone, QR codes did have a brief stint in the limelight. But there are so many reasons why they just don’t work.
For one thing, QR codes tend to be in awkward places – not many of us fancy scanning a billboard or the side of a bus. And even then, who even remembers being told what to do with a QR code? They just sort of appeared one day and all we knew was that we had to scan them in some way (that’s if we were lucky enough to spot a ‘scan me’ instruction nearby).
Finally, there’s the ‘so what?’ element. When a QR code just leads to a website homepage, your customer might wonder what all that production was for. The whole process just seems a bit slow and unnecessary.
Riding the carousel
Who doesn’t love a top 10 list? We click on them daily, but there’s nothing worse than the horror of finding that instead of a nice list that takes you on a journey from 10 to 1, you get a carousel.
Not only are they littered with ads every few slides, clicking the back button (at the point where you just give up and want to go back to the page you found the demon article on) takes you through every. single. slide.
And if you’re promised 12 slides, often you only get 11 – the last slide is actually the first of the next infuriating article.
You know the ones. Those interstitial ads that pop up when you’re having a quiet browse or playing a game on your smartphone. Do the companies behind these ads want us to hate them?
It’s not just that they pop up and obstruct what you’re reading/watching/playing, it’s the fact that you have to very delicately tap a tiny X in the corner of the screen to get rid of it. And if you miss the little cross and accidentally hit the ad, you’re automatically thrown onto the download-this-app trail, causing much aggrievance.
But there is hope – Google stopped using these annoying ads last year. Rumour has it that next year, they’ll start to lower the rankings of sites with ‘difficult to access’ content, so let’s hope 2017 is the beginning of the end for bothersome browsing.
Trying to go viral
Overnight success is the ultimate dream for any brand, and if your content goes viral, you’ve won the digital lottery. But you can’t just create something and call it a viral campaign. That’s the same as calling yourself cool, which isn’t for you to decide. Let your audience be the judge.
To be honest, it probably won’t even help you that much if your content does go viral. Do you really want loads of views from thousands of people who don’t care about your brand, or would you prefer hundreds of shares from your loyal customers? Besides, most viral content gets big by accident anyway, and it tends to get forgotten after the hype dies down!
We’d love to hear which digital marketing campaigns wound you up in 2016, so let us know by dropping a comment in the box below. It feels good to vent! And if you’re struggling for campaign inspiration, get in touch with us here – we’d be happy to help!