Before taking your marketing plan for 2017 to the board for final approval, please read this article.
Facebook recently acknowledged following an investigation by the Wall Street Journal, that ‘a glitch’ caused the social network to overstate its reach by an average of 33% per week and 55% per month.
That’s one hell of ‘a glitch’ if you’re a marketing director making decisions, allocating budgets and planning campaigns around those metrics. Facebook also admitted back in September that it had been overstating time spent with videos by as much as 60% to 80% for up to 2 years. That ‘glitch’ was attributed to issues across four of the key metrics the company used to track audiences.
However – in its defence, Facebook has insisted that advertisers were not over-billed due to the glitches. But that comes as little comfort to agencies, marketers and businesses who are now realising that their campaigns and strategies have been fundamentally flawed and the metrics they placed so much trust in were dangerously misleading.
This comes as something of a major blow to the advertising industry at a time when it is working hard to re-gain the trust of clients and demonstrate accountability.
For many, the metrics being generated online seemed to offer a level of security and transparency that allowed brands to really target audiences with a level of precision never before known. Big Data became the populist mantra of 2016 and we were assured that we were on the brink of a new golden era that would once again leave all other audience touch-points obsolete.
Unfortunately, Facebook’s glitches have dampened the hopes of many and should force you to interrogate the digital metrics that you’re basing your 2017 online activity on with ever greater vigour.
Let’s not forget the revelations coming from Facebook follow a series of embarrassing predictions throughout the year as time and time again we have seen the data being collected and interpreted by these digital giants get it horribly wrong.
Somer more cynical onlookers have also considered the fact that we’ve seen a rapid growth in the adoption of adblocking technology in recent years and that it is – well – convenient that metrics coming from companies that have a business model centred on advertising sales did not notice that for up to 2 years, their metrics were off by up to 80% in some instances.
So before presenting your plans for 2017 to the board, please take the time to interrogate the metrics.