The Death of Hashtags

Advice about social media is all over the road and in my humble opinion, it's creating a credibility problem for the channel.

It was not that long ago that Twitter mavens and Facebook gurus touted using hashtags as a crucial (nay, critical) element in high-performing social media updates. Well, it seems that now you can pretty much throw that guidance out the virtual window.

Twitter released a study focused on direct response ads, which are intended to drive a specific result, like an app install or a website visit, suggesting that when these ads included a hashtag or mentioned another account, they didn't perform well  SUBSCRIBE to Website Magazine - 12 Issues FREE 

For example, when you're trying to drive visitors to your website, a tweet that doesn't include a # or @ mention will generate 23 percent more clicks. When the tweet is focused on driving an app install, forgoing a # or @ mention increases clicks by 11 percent.

What the Twitter study reveals is that these "clickable" parts of a tweet distract people from taking the action the advertisers want. While this is really about getting the most activity from these direct response ads, perhaps there is a lesson to be learned here according to Anne Mercogliano, head of SMB marketing at Twitter.

"If you're trying to join a conversation, you should absolutely use a hashtag," she explained. "But for driving for a specific click that you're looking for off Twitter, the less noise that you put in between [the better]."

To most of us however, what the study really shows is that Twitter can't even define the best practices for using Twitter - and that's not just a problem for social media marketers, but everyone else (investors incldued).