Over the course of the 30 + years of transitioning from traditional to digital, the marketing professionals have had to adapt, pivot, and evolve in so many unforeseen ways that the industry has really blossomed. From message boards and Email campaigns, websites and splash pages, right through to finely tuned omnichannel multimedia blitzes all became new ways to present our brand to the world. Which was great, except now, a problem we are faced with is that there are only two players and they are so dominant that the lazy marketer has put all their eggs in those two baskets. Too many people are relying on Google for their ads, data, analytics, and SEO that it gives them entirely too much control over not just who sees your site, but even where your ads are placed. Now your advertising dollars are going where Google wants them to go. You have limited control over what messaging and content your brand is now endorsing. At least with the latter issue Google and YouTube have taken steps to mitigate the problem they created by making it more difficult to monetize misinformation. This is big because we know the climate science deniers, and anti-vax misinformation spreaders are able to drive engagement but at least now they won’t be able to capitalize on it. This, however, opens the larger issue of who is vetting the science and information. If Google, at its sole option, is able to decide which channels can and can not monetize and which sites do or do not show up on search then what’s the little guy to do?
Well, most have turned to Facebook as an easy/ lazy high trafficked option. But now we learn that Facebook has been studying the art of misinformation and mass manipulation for years and determined they make more money by keeping you angry. So, they do it. They polarize your views; they manipulate your emotions, and they piss you off on purpose! Why? Because it drives engagement and thus Zuckerberg gets richer.
I am hearing some say that cable news has been doing this for decades and that Facebook’s only sin is the sin of self-reflection. Except Facebook has been calculatingly turning up the heat on the pot slowly and deliberately and unbeknownst to us. Like the proverbial frog in the water, we didn’t notice. At least on cable you choose between Fox and MSNBC with Facebook I’m just there for the family photos and the party announcements but now I have to scroll past infuriating political cartoons or wildly erroneous “news” articles. As an advertiser I personally don’t want my customers to be angry when they are viewing my content. It seems that if I am advertising I want the viewer in a good mindset ready to make purchasing decisions, I do not wish to appeal to an angry rabble.
At least for business, it doesn’t have to be this way. The most misunderstood aspect of digital marketing is your own branded website. You knew you needed one back in the naughties but it is so much easier today to just update a Facebook page and send people there, and who has time to upload video content when they could just livestream. Back when server space was expensive it was true that YouTube was handy because they would host the content, and I still council my clients to host a YouTube channel as they are still the second most used search engine. But and this is a big but, I can not lie, but it is so cheap and easy these days to host good content to your own website, why give up control? We should all be taking charge of our own branded websites, keeping our blogs fresh and our message consistent. Push the traffic to your own site and then you are in control, and you have the power. It may be a little extra work, but over all I think the benefits outweigh the extra effort. Web Samurai for Hire can help and remember if someone is getting rich off your content, and it is not you, then you are probably doing something wrong.