Facebook post vs the actual post: The power of print

Facebook post vs the actual post: The power of print

High door drop interaction rates across all life stages
Frequency of exposure:
MillenialsHome OwnersFamiliesSocial Grade A65+
Door Drops2.612.642.632.482.85
Partially Address3.463.973.773.403.78

Mark Davies, managing director of Whistl Door Drop Media, discusses the many advantages of direct mail over social media advertising.

The pandemic has had a had huge impact on advertising and back in April, our best guess was that revenue across the board would be down.

However, by the end of the summer, it became apparent that direct marketing had been far less affected than digital – and it had in fact outshone expectations.

Despite a less than cheery initial prognosis, based on the disruption caused by Covid, there has been something of a reversal of the digital transformation process.

The Covid crisis has provided a favourable backdrop for direct mail. Until now, digital advertising had been indulged, rather like a favourite child; now, however, its faults are beginning to show.

In addition to the challenges posed by Covid and the impending Brexit, the integrity of digital was hit by data scandals, fake news fiascos and during the summer there was a boycott of Facebook over its support of sensitive topics.

One poll suggested that trust in Facebook had dropped by 66 per cent since the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Forty per cent of respondents said they would not trust Facebook with their personal information. Almost half of those surveyed – 48% – believed it was a brand’s own fault if their content appeared next to something inappropriate.

All this created something of a perfect storm, with the pandemic wiping out SMEs who spent more on Facebook advertising than bigger brands while erstwhile big spenders political parties opted to stop advertising on the platform altogether.

Changes ahead

This year, there have been many articles written around mistrust in digital and there will be changes to come, not least regulatory ones.

Facebook and Google used their own analytics as ‘proof’ that using the platforms for marketing was working – and sure enough, marketeers fell for this. But change is around the corner.

As the highly respected marketing consultant Peter Field put it: “We are being over-hyped and over-sold on a uniquely digital future. We need to get real and take a more evidence-based view of what really drives effectiveness.”

New believers

The pandemic has seen a huge uplift in e-commerce – and the industry has learned a thing or two about direct marketing in that time. Brands you may not expect have been using the channel to great effect; brands such as Wayfair and Uber Eats, that operate online but want to reach out to customers through direct marketing.

This year, it’s not about reaching people at festivals, football matches and city centres, it’s all about the home. People are spending so much more time at home so have the time and opportunity to engage with door drops more than they have ever done.

In fact, advertising mail is enjoying its best ever life span, with a piece of addressed mail staying in the home for an average of 8.5 days.

This is compared with people looking at content on a laptop for 2.5 seconds – and Facebook itself states that in News Feed people spend on average 1.7 seconds on a piece of content!

Moving forward

The future for direct mail is looking positive, particularly as the direction of travel is currently going against digital. We have to evolve what we do and keep moving forward. For instance, the language we use has to change – marketers love algorithms, so we need to describe our results in these terms.

We must present what we do in a clear way, to make it as easy and clear to understand as Facebook and Google have done.

We are seeing that the SME space has been a lot more resilient than expected and is bouncing back quickly – in fact, we have seen a greater resurgence in the SME side of the business than in national.

Case study: Movember

The campaign objective was to create a GDPR compliant, highly targeted campaign using Royal Mail door to door.

A well-branded creative, offering a free razor to the first 20,000 people to sign up to Movember, was distributed.

As a result, Movember generated almost 3,000 new donors, a response rate of 1.48% and more than 780 existing donors signed up again. In total, the door drop generated £252,725 in donations, an ROI of £8.19.

Facebook loses the public’s trust

Companies people trust least with their personal information*:

*Online survey completed by 1,000 representatives between December 9th 2018 and December 15th 2018.
Source: Toluna via Recode
MARK DAVIES