It’s time for pragmatism, not #DeleteFacebook, says Bray Leino’s associate media director John McNamee
Facebook seems to have a good way of dealing with issues. They deal with them before they happen.
Following the Cambridge Analytica data breach, the social media giant claimed this couldn’t happen on Facebook today. Job done.
Likewise, Google was easily able to solve the brand safety concerns on YouTube with a few tweaks to their algorithm last year. Not to mention, the company also recently solved the fake news problem with its Google news initiative.
Of course, the problem with these solutions is the continued lack of transparency. Have the real issues really been fixed? No-one really knows. But I believe the in-house solutions we have seen to-date gloss over them, and we’re yet to see action that truly benefits users or advertisers.
As admirable as Mark Zuckerberg’s New Year resolution to ‘fix Facebook’ was (although, as some pointed out, that’s his job), maybe he should have given up coffee or something more realistic, because like most resolutions, it has failed. Fixing Facebook now looks like something not even Zuckerberg can achieve.
As marketers, we fund these platforms. As an industry, we can have an impact on how they are run.
It’s easy to kick suppliers when they’re down. Cynicism about their agenda is fashionable right now, and with good reason. But as marketers, we should not forget that, despite their flaws, Google and Facebook offer great value.
I am not, like some, suggesting we withdraw our budgets from these platforms. Facebook and Google are intertwined with our daily lives. They’re a key channel to reach audiences.
That’s why I believe the #DeleteFacebook movement will be short-lived. Likewise, while some advertisers such as Mozilla have ‘paused’ (note, not pulled) their Facebook activity, I feel that Facebook and Google will continue to dominate media spend…
…for now. This is pragmatism, not resignation.
The rate of consolidation in the industry has led some to speculate that, before long, media plans might consist of a single sentence, or focus 100% on programmatic. I don’t buy into this (although it would make life easier).
Our job is to evaluate strengths and weaknesses across all different media options; plan and buy solutions that deliver results. That’s our responsibility. We cannot simply hand over the reins to one all-powerful media company.