Their own private web

Ironically, just at the time when a market leader appears most firmly ensconced at the top of its industry, it may be vulnerable. Its system may be so superior that potential competitors may decide that it is hopeless to compete against it on its own terms.

New and Improved. The story of Mass Marketing in America, pg 245

That’s exactly the situation Google was in: complete dominance of the online space. Then, Facebook, aka the new AOL, became huge with their own private web, and Apple launched the iPhone and another private environment, Apps.

Social Media Marketing Bullshit

I’m taking a look at books on the subject of Social media Marketing. I’m having a ball merely by reading the titles: Social Media Marketing essentials, blueprint, tactics, tips, zen, secrets, strategies, for beginners, for everyone, for dummies…

Very imaginative indeed. Even more shocking to me: not a single book that says that this whole field is nothing but a bunch of useless shit. That’s about to change.

This is the intro to my upcoming short book: What Happened To Advertising?

From the blue “e” to the white “f”

Remember when the average Joe thought that Internet Explorer’s blue “e” icon somehow stood for “the Internet”? You thought that was bad?

Many in the world are at risk of growing web-literate, so to say, thinking that the Internet is a white “f” on a blue background on their Android phone.

And any time you speak of “Social Media”, you’re doing them a favour.

Facebook, plus of course Instagram, Whatsapp for those who like things simple, and their own Messenger, which they are styling after Line and WeChat and trying to make into a platform in its own right, is not “a” Social Network, but rather THE Social Network. The new AOL, as Jason Kottke said back in 2007. Facebook is what we used to have before Facebook, i.e. the Open Web, but behind closed doors, delivered very well and a bit sanitised. There are plenty of reasons why you should be worried.

One of the main reasons why I am worried is precisely because you are not.

Clickable Ads on Instagram

Clickable Ads on Instagram are a shock to me even if I’ve been saying that so-called “Social Networks” are just ads platforms for longer than I can remember.

The following is from my upcoming little E-Book…

Together with Web2.0 came the horrible but very telling idea of User-Generated Content (UGC). According to this crude view of the world, people were using – or being used, and being duped into using, if you listen to Richard Stallman – Web-based tools little more than to provide content against which advertisers could place their ads. Then at some point the whole circus started being called “Social Media”. Why the word “Media”? Are Social Media what Social Networks become once you have to try to monetise them by sticking ads all over the place?

I’m not surprised at all that Instagram is pushing towards more ads. Nor am I surprised that the ad they chose to show in their short video about the new format, the so-called Carousel Ads, is about a non-profit that helps kids in Africa.

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Lies, Damned Lies, and Mobile Lies

This is the bad faith logical fallacy crap that passes for “research” in the marketing world: counting not the number of people who bought a product out of those who saw an ad, but the number of people who saw an ad out of those who bought a product. Which, if you too have a retarded conservative party which is against the liberalisation of soft drugs in your country, which you probably do, would be like counting not the number of people who make the jump from weed to heroin, but the percentage of people who do heroin who smoked a joint. Funny, isn’t it, that they never tell you the percentage of people who do heroin who smoked a cigarette? Or the percentage of people who drank water, or milk. Guess what, 99.99% of those who do heroin actually drank water. Stay away from drinking water: it leads to hard drugs.

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Wanamaker was more than right

Turns out good ol’ John Wanamaker was more than right:

Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.

– John Wanamaker

Google admitted that 56.1% of all the impressions served on Google’s Display Network — that is, served by a serious company, not by an un-named organisation running a dubious ad network from the middle of nowhere — could never have been seen.

But that’s only half of the story. Or 56% of it, if you wish. The more interesting part, and the one nobody talks about, is: what do you track? Tracking systems will tell you that a user “has seen” a certain banner ad and will speculate that even though he did not bother to click on it, he was in fact influenced by it when, on a later date, he encountered another ad or did a search on Google, clicked and then converted.

But can we trust this to be true, especially when Google is selling not merely Adwords on the search results, but a large part of the banner ads as well via Doubleclick? Another good question could be: is this guess done on ads that the users have seen, or on those served to them? A further one: why do we “attribute” part of the merit to banner ads nobody clicked on, but fail to do the same with print, radio or tv ads?