Artificial, fake, fake: Epic tweetstorm focuses on marketing’s metrics house of credit cards

Aram Zucker-Scharff, ad engineering movie director for Washington Post’ s study, experimentation and development team, lighted up  a tweetstorm Wednesday,   calling just about every way that electronic marketers measure and report upon performance fake.

The anger is real. Zucker-Scharff’ s comments handled a nerve in the adtech neighborhood, with his initial tweet racking up a lot more than 6, 000 likes, nearly three or more, 000 retweets and a host associated with comments and sub-threads. The rant came in response to a  New York Magazine article , which usually accused most corners of the Web as being largely “ fake. ”

A house of credit cards.   Frustrated by misleading metrics and what he says is a proliferation associated with “ fake” ads, traffic, customers and metrics, Zucker-Scharff said that the particular industry’ s “ scale company models are a house of credit cards on a base of imaginary amounts. ”

Some of the phony audiences and traffic Zucker-Scharff talked about is surely due to malicious hacking for example botnets , but some are due to simple deceptions, like those uncovered in an October  revelation that Facebook had been inflating the video metrics.

Zucker-Scharff and other notables within the adtech local community such as Ross Maghielse, the Philadelphia Inquirer’ s manager of target audience development, and  CEO of industry group Digital Content Next Jerrika Kint, chimed in with their own comments and examples throughout the thread.

In her response towards the thread, former Reddit CEO Ellen K. Pao said, “ Almost everything is fake. Also, mobile consumer counts are fake. No one offers figured out how to count logged-out cellular users, as I learned at reddit. Every time someone switches cell systems, it looks like another user plus inflates company user metrics. Plus, if an unlogged-in user utilizes the site on multiple devices, every device counts as an unique consumer. ”

Why should you care.   It hasn’ t been a good year intended for transparency. Facebook alone has invested most of the past year apologizing to marketers to make mistakes .

Zucker-Scharff said that the problem  extends to every single metric, including app installs, agency-reported metrics, and even the ads by themselves, and whether they are trending.   Throughout his Twitter thread,   Zucker-Scharff provides links to other documented issues with metrics, including those offered by third-parties like comScore and IAB.

As an advertiser, you need to know what you’ re paying for. Electronic advertising is still experiencing growing aches but at some point, the industry needs to develop. Perhaps regular uproars from adtech practitioners like Zucker-Scharff will lastly get ad platforms to stop giving apologies and instead figure out a method to deliver usable and accurate metrics. The time has come.


Regarding the Author

Robin Kurzer began her career as a daily newspapers reporter in Milford, Connecticut. The girl then made her mark for the advertising and marketing world in Chicago with agencies such as Tribal DDB plus Razorfish, creating award-winning work for several major brands. For the past seven years, she’ s worked as a freelance author and communications professional across a number of business sectors.

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