Here’s how we can really ‘fix Facebook’
Facebook seems to have a good way of dealing with issues. They deal with them before they happen. Following the Cambridge Analytica data breach, they claimed this couldn’t happen on Facebook today. Job done.
Likewise, Google were easily able to solve the brand safety concerns on YouTube with a few tweaks to their algorithm last year. Not to mention, they’ve also recently solved the fake news problem with their Google News Initiative.
Of course, the problem with these solutions is the continued lack of transparency. Have the real issues really been fixed? No-one really knows. But I believe the in-house solutions we have seen to-date gloss over them, and we’re yet to see action that truly benefits users or advertisers.
As admirable as Mark Zuckerberg’s New Year resolution to ‘fix Facebook’ was (although, as some pointed out, that’s his job), maybe he should have given up coffee or something more realistic, because like most resolutions it has failed. Fixing Facebook now looks like something not even Zuckerberg can achieve.
As marketers, we fund these platforms. As an industry, we can have an impact on how they are run.
It’s easy to kick suppliers when they’re down. Cynicism about their agenda is fashionable right now, and with good reason, but as marketers, we should not forget that, despite their flaws, Google and Facebook offer great value.
I am not, like some, suggesting we withdraw our budgets from these platforms. Facebook and Google are intertwined with our daily lives. They’re a key channel to reach audiences.
That’s why I believe the #DeleteFacebook movement will be short-lived. Likewise, while some advertisers such as Mozilla have ‘paused’ – not pulled – their Facebook activity, I feel that Facebook and Google will continue to dominate media spend… for now. This is pragmatism, not resignation.
The rate of consolidation in the industry has led some to speculate that, before long, media plans might consist of a single sentence, or focus 100% on programmatic. I don’t buy into this (although it would make life easier).
Our job is to evaluate strengths and weaknesses across all different media options; plan and buy solutions that deliver results. That’s our responsibility. We cannot simply hand over the reins to one all-powerful media company.
At Bray Leino Media, I believe we have a vital role to play helping advertisers optimise their media spend. But to do this, we need to push the big beasts to improve their offering, tighten the issues that affect advertisers, and insist on transparency to fully understand and justify their place on our plan.
As an industry, we’ve been blinded by algorithms, duped by dubious in-house metrics and dazzled by the shiny new appeal of these platforms. But that’s over, our Clients need us to be more considered. In fact, they need us to be cynical bastards, representing their interests, questioning everything and flushing out overpromise.
We knew this before Zuckerberg broke his resolution, and the recent headlines only underline it. We need to keep up the pressure.
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