I think it might be time to stop putting hashtags in television commercials. Or maybe it’s just time to get a bit more honest about what their place is, or isn’t.
For starters, putting a hashtag on the end card of a tv spot is not a social media strategy. It’s a ham-fisted thing that marketers do, so they can somehow map tv spend to any associated social media conversation as a means to better quantify ad performance. At best, it’s an awkward swing at adding a tracking and measurement layer to the campaign, that everyone can see.
It’s sort of like if your end-card URL had ?src=AdCreative1&medium=television tacked onto the end of it, and you expected viewers to run to the web and type that exact string into their browser bar so you could better track how the spot was working.
The wonderful @fart (yes, I am quoting @fart to make a point), put it a bit more succinctly:
In my opinion, the big issue here is that a hashtag in a tv spot only provides value to the advertiser, and gives nothing back to the viewer. It’s really just our way of instructing users on how to tag their conversations, so we can more easily organize and count them. There’s nothing in it for the consumer at all.
Where things get really silly, is when we go off and talk about how “effective” a “strategy” that this is, getting all self-congratulatory about it. Somehow connecting the spread of hashtags in Superbowl spots, to brands “getting” social media. It’s a completely false premise.
To me, an uptick in hashtags on tv spots doesn’t in any way demonstrate that advertisers are now better getting social media, or that users are caring any more about brands than they did before. It just means that like all good marketers, we’ve found a neat trick to get people doing something, that we can all count.
And to be clear, I’m talking about advertisements, not television shows or content. In those instances, there can (and often is) actual community and conversation, the organization of which, does in fact provide real value to the user.