By Darren Gilbert

Having said that, we spoke to a few in the industry about what they thought were the biggest myths surrounding the digital marketing industry. 

Myth 1: You can create viral content

‘Make it go viral’ is surely a phrase that anyone working in digital marketing has heard at least once. Unfortunately, as anyone in the industry will tell you, it’s not that simple. In fact, it’s near impossible since there is no method, formula or even recipe to create such content, says Michelle Jones, head of content at Rogerwilco.

The content that does go ‘viral’ can often be quite random. Think the series of Damn Daniel videos. Or even, more recently, Candace ‘Chewbacca Mom’ Payne. The problem with seeing something like this makes it appear as if it’s easy to produce this type of content. However, what goes viral and what doesn’t is completely subjective.

“There is just no way of knowing what piece of content will go viral,” points out Jones. “Yes, we can see trends and analytics. But these are showing us what happened in the rearview mirror.” They don’t show us what’s to come.

Speaking on the first day of Marketing Indaba 2016, Jarrod Eckstein, MD of Unit 5 at The Creative Council agrees: “You are more likely to contract and STI than make someone go viral.”

Instead, as Jones points out, to debunk this myth, we need to fight the notion that we can create such content. “We need to push back in meetings with clients and bosses when they ask to go viral.”

Myth 2: Digital equals social media

“When I am talking to someone and we discuss what I do for a living, I mention to them that I am involved in digital advertising,” says Jade Duncan, digital account manager at Hellocomputer. “Many will respond with a question to do with social media or share a story about a cool advert they’ve seen on Facebook.” 

The fact is that digital is so much more.

“The combination of rapidly growing trends within the social media space as well as the fact that they are ‘internet’ or data-based creates the stigma that what is seen on these platforms would be categorised as ‘digital advertising’,” says Duncan. 

As for debunking this myth, Duncan says it’s simple.  It’s not that companies and their employees are against digital. Instead, they need to be made aware of the benefits of going the digital route. “Education is a huge role player in conveying the possibilities of digital advertising and when taught with keeping the human psychology in mind, the opportunities are endless,” she says.

Myth 3: Digital will assist in bringing in new and younger audiences

While online brings with it the opportunity to reach a wider audience, for Mike Jones, strategic planning director at NATIVE VML, there is a myth that digital marketing will assist in bringing in a new and younger audience.

“’If they are online then we must communicate online’ sounds right, but the reality is that digital should be transforming your business,” says Mike. For example, Uber wasn’t successful because it used digital marketing to land the awareness of the service in market. It used digital to disrupt the taxi industry.

“A silver bullet is only as good as the gun it was fired from,” continues Mike. “We need to ‘fire’ the correct gun in order to utilise digital in the correct fashion.” Because the digital revolution is a consumer revolution, businesses need to allow for the marketing department to lead the transformation as they are the closest to the consumer.

What other digital marketing myths do you wish were banished? Tell us about them below.