The sole hope: let’s go back to its beginnings.
The best thing that ever happened to sociable media marketing was the hacking of the 2016 US election of Donal Trump by the Russians. Why? Because it placed bare what many in social media marketing has known for a long, long time: that interpersonal media platforms are a joke, their valuations derive from imaginary users, and their integrity lies somewhere between Lucifer and this guy who eats people’s faces in the movies. Michael Berookim
For marketing consultants such as me, recommending existing social systems such as Facebook, Facebook, and Instagram has recently been increasingly difficult, because -quite frankly- many of all of us don’t trust the metrics.
And why exactly should we? Fb doesn’t.
This is certainly from Facebook’s 2017 SEC filing (emphasis mine):
The numbers for our key metrics, which include our daily lively users (DAUs), monthly energetic users (MAUs), and average earnings per user (ARPU), are calculated using inner company data based on the game of user data files. While these numbers are based on what we should consider to be reasonable quotes of our user basic for the applicable period of measurement, there are inherent challenges in testing consumption of your products across large on the internet and mobile foule around the world.
The major data management company in the world says it shouldn’t really know if its numbers are exact. Estimates? What marketing professional wants estimated results after the fact?
It gets worse. Emphasis mine:
In the fourth quarter of 2017, we estimate that duplicate accounts may have represented approximately 10% of our worldwide MAUs. We feel the percentage of copy accounts is meaningfully higher in developing markets such as India, Indonesia, and the Philippines, as in contrast to more developed market segments. In the fourth 1 / 4 of 2017, we calculate that false accounts may have represented approximately 3-4% of our worldwide MAUs.
Let that sink in. Facebook is admitting that “approximately” 10% of their monthly active users are fake. Interestingly, they no longer mention what percentage of their daily active users are fake.
And gowns the challenge with social mass media. You don’t know can be real and what’s imitation anymore.
Social media hasn’t already been real for a while.
As marketers and advertisers, we pride themselves on accuracy. In the olden times of marketing and advertising, we engaged over rating numbers of television set shows, readership for print promotions, and delivery success for direct email.
In all cases, the platforms of the day were heavily audited. You knew, with fair conviction, was your audiences were for any particular medium or channel simply because there was usually a point of review someplace for the numbers.
Classic media such as a radio station, TV, and print got been around very long that there were thousands of case studies one could study the success or failures of individual promotions. Because these mediums were part of the criminal arrest record, it was easy to work backward to see what mix of media and budget worked well and what didn’t.