Social Media Marketing Is a Joke – It’s Time We Admit It

Truly the only hope: let’s go back to its roots.

The best thing that ever developed to social media marketing was the hacking of the 2016 US political election of Donal Trump by the Russians. Why? Because it installed bare what many in social media marketing has known for an extensive, long time: that social media platforms are a joke, their worth are based on imaginary users, and their integrity lies somewhere between Lucifer and that guy who eats people’s faces in the movies.

Pertaining to marketing consultants such as myself, recommending existing social types such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram has been increasingly tricky, because -quite frankly- many of us don’t trust the metrics.

And why should we? Facebook doesn’t.

This is from Facebook’s 2017 SEC filing (emphasis mine):

The numbers for the key metrics, which include our daily active users (DAUs), month to month active users (MAUs), and average revenue per customer (ARPU), are calculated using internal company data depending on the activity of user accounts. While these numbers use what we believe to be reasonable estimates of our user base with the applicable period of measurement, there are inherent challenges in approximately usage of our products across large online and mobile masses around the world.
The largest data management company in the world says quite simple really know if its numbers are accurate. Offers? What marketing professional wants estimated results after the point?

It gets worse. Emphasis mine:

In the fourth three months of 2017, we estimate that duplicate accounts can have represented approximately 10% of our worldwide MAUs. We believe the proportion of duplicate accounts is meaningfully higher in acquiring markets such as India, Indonesia, and the Philippines, as compared to even more developed markets. In the fourth quarter of 2017, most people estimate that false accounts may have represented approximately 3-4% of our worldwide MAUs.
Let that sink in. The facebook is admitting that “approximately” 10% of its regular monthly active users are fake. Interestingly, they don’t mention just what exactly percentage of their daily active users are fake.

And that is certainly the problem with social media. You don’t know what’s real together with what’s fake anymore.

Social media hasn’t been real for a while.

Like marketers and advertisers, we pride ourselves on consistency. In the olden times of marketing and advertising, we obsessed over report numbers of tv shows, readership for print promotions, and sending success rates for direct mail.

In all cases, the platforms of the day were heavily audited. You knew, with rational certainty, was the audiences were for any particular medium or perhaps channel because there was usually a point of review anywhere you want for the numbers.

Traditional media such as radio, TV, and print had been around long enough that there were thousands of instance studies one could study the success or failures with individual campaigns. Because these mediums were part of the public capture, it was easy to work backward to see what mix of multimedia and budget worked and what didn’t.

As an industry, we could quickly establish benchmarks for success – not just based on your personal experiences- but in the collective experiences of undoubted strategies laid bare for everyone to dissect.

Well, that most of went out the window with social media.

Facebook, Twitter, as well as Instagram’s numbers were always a joke.

In days of yore, company valuation was based on revenues, assets, and individuals capital, and performance.

That all changed when someone came up with the concept of “daily active users. ”

The race to gain clients became the driving force for social media platforms in a way that we have now never seen before. Now, the obsession with end user growth opened the door to advertising and marketing fraud on a increase that just wasn’t possible previously.

Let’s get a little something clear: any platform that allows for people to create thousands of fraudulent profiles so others can buy likes, followers, retweets, or maybe shares is toxic to advertisers and brands equally.

Now, I understand that the word “allows” is doing a lot of operate in that sentence, so let me expand a bit what I mean.

I just don’t think I’ll get many arguments when I say that -regardless of what I think of them- the most successful social media systems on the planet are also some of the most sophisticated technological enterprises on the planet. Obtained -arguably- some of the best AI around, as their entire business units revolve around being able to crunch numbers, facts, and obscure waste data millions of times a second.