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Anti-social advertising?

March 22, 2017

social media programmatic advertising

Social advertising is making headlines for all the wrong reasons, with the UK Government and other brands making loud noises that their adverts are to be found against unsuitable content on Facebook and YouTube.  This Digiday article makes for entertaining reading with lots of robust comment “under condition of anonymity”…

Social advertising is something of a devil’s bargain – it is cheap, it delivers big reach, but the trade off is the quality of the user-generated content – and brands and their agencies have to be aware of this.

The social platforms’ answer to this latest PR storm is likely to be “here – have some more tools” – seeking to put the control/operational responsibility to avoid being associated with unpalatable content back on to the brands and their agencies.  After all, strategically the social platforms have never been exactly keen to be, or be seen to be, a publisher.

It will be interesting to see how these tools are used – cheap advertising versus brand unsafe content – who wins?  Only one way to find out…

Agencies are equally tough to impress. “They haven’t really said anything, have they?” said a media agency CEO who spoke under condition of anonymity. “We don’t know what these new tools will be, but it will be the responsibility of the agencies and advertisers in future. That’s what ‘more controls’ really means.” Simply put, it just shifts responsibility for the policing of ads to the advertisers and agencies. And why not: “Facebook makes a 45 percent margin, and Google 25 percent. If you create a platform that lets every weirdo in the world express themselves, you won’t make that margin if you have to police it like a publisher,” said the same media agency CEO.

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