The Leander C. Seidl Blog

Facebook, Google, Transparency: A Data Driven Nightmare? – The Digital Marketing Dissection Ep 07

Are we living in a data driven nightmare?

That’s probably a bold statement to make, considering that I love being a data driven performance marketer. But hear me out: we are seeing all major browsers getting rid of third-party tracking. We are seeing huge allegations against major platforms regarding fake numbers.

Facebook essentially got caught faking their video view numbers in the years 2015, 2016 and beyond – for the sake of getting more publishers and creators to focus on Video publications directly on Facebook (the company of course denies doing it on purpose, attributing the issue to bots and unintentional errors). One prominent recent victim is the long-running comedy site CollegeHumor. The site pivoted early to Facebook Video – and paid the price for it after losing massive amounts of advertisers in the following years.

Without doubt, we are witnessing a discussion about the reliability of these numbers, that is just increasing in intensity. A few weeks ago, The Correspondent published an excellent piece about the “Advertising Bubble” and the many irreliable data points that we are forced to work with. The main thesis of the article is that its impossible to tell if online ads are really worth their price. It’s a bold statement and I’m not sure if I fully agree with it yet – but I definitely see the point that the large amount of inaccuracies, and the small amount of gatekeepers who control the data is problematic.

I think it’s time we rethink “performance data” as a whole for our digital marketing activities.

Where this would lead us? I’m not sure, but I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

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