This is an unfortunate reality in the digital advertising industry today. This is a topic that doesn't receive that much attention since it places both Google and Facebook at the center of the spotlight. This is something that we as a company have stopped recommending to our clients. Below we have listed a series of issues that lie within this pandemic fraud that so inherently exists within our digital community.
1. Immediate gratification. Buy an ad, expect traffic.
At the core of it, is the idea of immediate results which some clients make an investment into marketing themselves in the digital world. Any marketing consultant that misleads clients to think that ads will render immediate results should accept some of the shadow cast by this $16 billion problem. They should educate their clients better. This is the fundamental flaw that exists in the online marketing community: Social media platforms like Facebook want to behave like Google. The only reason ads may function better on Google is simple: you are searching for something and when you are searching for something, you are more prone to consume an ad. As opposed to Facebook where the ad is much more disruptive. Unfortunately, for Facebook and other social media platforms alike, their revenue model depends heavily on advertising revenue and as clients see their competitors buying ads, they want to do the same. Sort of the 'monkey see monkey do'. This should be corrected at a marketing strategy/media buying level since these social media platforms have to respond to their shareholders and won't be changing their product offering anytime soon. Here is a video clip we prepared that that explains this in more detail.
2. Social media is an administrative cost of doing business
For the most part, we have been advocating that social media is an administrative cost of doing business. It is a cost that should be amortized over time and not a marketing expense. In a nutshell, social media platforms are gated online communities, and your page is your new phone number within this gated community. If you use a phone, then what would be the return on investment on your phone? Here is link that explains this further.
3. Monopolized access to Followers on Facebook
Staying with the example of social media platforms like Facebook as gated communities, access to your own audience has been monopolized. Facebook for instance, owns the list of people who like your company page. Once someone likes your page, you will no longer be able to see them or message them directly. Instead, you will have the opportunity to boost your post as a way to reach them. How organic is that? Seeing a boosted message. The like on a Facebook page technically translates as the new "I consent to receive boosted messages from this brand" and not necessarily I am genuinely interested in following this brand since the chances of a follower seeing a posted message within their timeline is unlikely. Last we checked less than 1% of the followers (likes) of a Facebook page will see a post. Here is a link that explains this further.
4. Rise of Influencer Marketing
We see a different future for social media platforms and how clients can benefit from them. We see them as gated communities and the rise of influencer marketing supports this model. We have created products that position our clients as influencers within their targeted segments. The world of digital marketing ads, or how smart programmatic ads and/or native ads, is at the core of the problem. Since the client does not know who is ultimately clicking on their ads. Anyone can do the clicking and nobody accepts responsibility for this gross misuse of money and trust. It is not like it is a controlled post and only those with a link can see. This is how these platforms can ultimately claim that they are not at fault, but as the saying goes, bots (who click your well designed graphic or written link) do not buy, but the brand is on the hook for the cost of the click/impression. Bots cost clients $16 billion dollars this year alone. This is double last year. MIT/McKinsey alumni Dr. Augustine Fou explains this in more detail in his presentation. We really encourage clients and fellow digital marketers alike to reconsider buying these digital ads and invest their (client) dollars differently. We suggest them to invest in programs (such as our own) that expedite the old organic growth model. We position our clients in a place where they may auto-discovered by their next client. This auto discovery is invaluable when it comes down to the brand position. The idea of immediate results is a thing of the past. Consumers are more tech-savvy and the rise of ad blockers is not making digital marketing any easier in the future. Check our last journal entry for more information, but nevertheless, we support the idea of positioning our clients as an influencer, not the other way around.
5. Clients/Agencies can't be bothered with the work of generating real interest to their brands
We have found many brands who have excellent content and amazing moderators. We absolutely love to see this. We have a strategic model we use. We call it the ACM model: Audience, Content, and Moderation. 3 distinct responsibilities should be present in any digital marketing campaign. Building an audience is what is under the spotlight. Unfortunately, digital ads are an obvious waste. If ads continue to be purchased, it is almost criminal negligence now as reports of fraud trickle in. Agencies should evaluate their complicit positions when evaluating media purchases in this space as there may be future repercussions and/or consequences. We do provide an alternative model to generate good old-fashioned interest into our clients' brands and advise agencies to contain this issue as they may already be exposed. Content and moderation is a pass or fail. Either you are good at it or not, but growing a presence is what is a challenge for brands. We can help with all 3 three Audience, Content and Moderation.
- Rod Ponce, CIO BHIVE
We are finally starting to see a shift in advertising dollars. This is a topic that we have been advocating for some time now. Our products are designed to not only break market segments for our clients but also position them as the influencer within their industries. Social media is long-term investment. One that should be discussed directly with the CFO. Social in a nutshell is an administrative cost, not a marketing expense.
- Rod Ponce, CIO
The BHIVE Channel Partnership Program is designed to increase the organic viewership of specified landing page via a social media distribution network to reach more people in different micro-segments. Our internal studies show an increase of interest and viewership when content is distributed via multiple micro segments.
Our program focuses on changing how content from advertisers and publishers is delivered and consumed by users. Online users treat pop-ups and banner ads the same way as ads in reality. They serve as low priority viewing because they aren’t the reason why the “user” is visiting the “site”.
The BHIVE Channel Partnership Program was designed with the launch of our own news channels and is ready for a select number of digital publishers to take advantage of. Although in beta mode, we will invite a number of digital publishers to partake in our program and see how this works for themselves. We look forward in receiving your application and working with you.