(For those who say I just don’t get it…get this!)
Not all that long ago I touted a warning that I felt was about to plague social media in a way the social media complex itself never bargained for. That warning? When advertisers suddenly become “spooked” about where and how their content for advertising gets distributed across the web.
What that warning entailed was not so much how the providers would react e.g., the social media platform providers such as Facebook™, Twitter™, Google™, et al. But rather, how the advertisers would react. e.g., The ones that actually pay for that placement. For if they decide to move their advertising dollars back into traditional areas such as television, radio, display and others? The entire social media complex, along with its “We’re the best place to advertise!” narrative goes from crumbling (because it already is) to imploding.
Here’s what I said back in early January. To wit:
“More often than not businesses of all stripes will do “whatever it takes” as to make it stop. Even if they didn’t do anything wrong to begin with. For in business one of the first rules is: Never let your business, yourself, or employees be seen doing anything, or promoting anything, that could cost you business. Period.
It’s what I call the “Rule 1.A” of business. For if Rule 1 is – don’t lose money, and Rule 2 is – see Rule 1. Failing to understand there is Rule 1.A can lose you more business, or money, faster than Rule 2 can ever be applied.
So here we are today with businesses (or brands) as squeamish as ever when it comes to the possibility that their products or services could be seen, or inadvertently be interpreted, in some form of “bad light” (think of all the pixellated logos you see throughout television programming) now are facing what I believe is the first real-time example showing the potential for harming, or disgracing a company, product, or brand that may have taken years, if not decades to create.
Why? Algorithmic insertion marketing. Social media’s #1 raison d’être for extracting monetary gains via the “ads for eyeballs” model.”
This was in response to that day’s debacle where Facebook (You know, the one’s who are supposed to be able to place ads where they belong with pinpoint precision based on all that data they collect and charge handsomely for. Or at least, that’s what you’re told – then sold. But I digress.) allowed a live streaming video of a kidnapping to play out uninterrupted for quite some time.
Although there were no ads within the travesty, it was precisely that case which I used as to make the claim implying: Not now, but when?
Hint: That “when” has just arrived, again, to wit:
From the article at The Times:
“Global brands including Volkswagen, Toyota and Tesco last night joined the more than 250 companies that have suspended advertising deals with Google as the internet giant apologised for failing to crack down on extremism.
ITV, Aviva and Heinz also pulled advertising from YouTube, Google’s video platform, after an investigation by The Times found the companies promoted on videos posted by hate preachers, rape apologists and homophobic extremists banned from entering Britain.”
Why is this so telling? Let me remind you of how Facebook via their official spokesperson to The Guardian™ responded to their debacle which I outlined in my previous article. To wit:
“In this report from The Guardian, Facebook refused to explain (“refused” meaning not sounding like utter nonsense) why the live streaming torture video wasn’t taken down sooner. As I inferred, it isn’t that they refused to answer, it’s what they did state as a reason that was far more alarming. Here is what was given as an explanation by a spokeswoman for the company:
“We do not allow people to celebrate or glorify crimes on Facebook and have removed the original video for this reason. In many instances, though, when people share this type of content, they are doing so to condemn violence or raise awareness about it. In that case, the video would be allowed.”
Got that? Again, don’t take my interpretation. Re-read it for yourself and try not to think “Wait…What?” for yourself.”
Maybe Facebook will now see things a little clearer since this time (as opposed to my original Facebook example) advertisers were actually placed – and were actually harmed i.e., the inferred tarnishing of their brand.
So far, Facebook seems to have managed to delay this (in my opinion) inevitable issue from happening only because at the time of their incident the program was still in some form of beta type mode. I believe that is now irrelevant, for the first “blood” to be drawn has occurred – and advertisers will treat this now as a “hot stove” type of debacle.
The real problem for all of social media and subsequent “eyeballs for ad dollars” models?
Priced for perfection valuations are about to be repriced.
© 2017 Mark St.Cyr
Addendum: I no sooner hit the publish button on this article when the following AP™ story hit the wires at 11:20 EDT. To wit:
Are you beginning to see my point?
Footnote: These “FTWSIJDGIGT” articles came into being when many of the topics I had opined on over the years were being openly criticized for “having no clue”. Yet, over the years these insights came back around showing maybe I knew a little bit more than some were giving me credit for. It was my way of tongue-in-cheek as to not use the old “I told you so” analogy. I’m saying this purely for the benefit of those who may be new or reading here for the first time (and there are a great many of you and thank you too all.) I never wanted, or want, to seem like I’m doing the “Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah” type of response to my detractors. I’d rather let the chips fall – good or bad – and let readers decide the credibility of either side. Occasionally however, there are, and have been times they do need to be pointed out, which is why these now have taken on a life of their own. (i.e., something of significance per se that may have a direct impact on one’s business etc., etc.) And readers, colleagues, and others have requested their continuance.