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The Illusion of Advertising (on Facebook, on Google, on Twitter, on Everything)

They say half of your marketing money is wasted, you just don't know which half. Well, unless you do. Today the companies that sell advertising on the Internet - Facebook, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn - all have huge megaphones advocating advertising. Have you ever noticed how many times you see ads for AdWords? Like not just on YouTube, but EVERWHERE? Think about that for a moment:

Ads for advertising. How weird is that?

Facebook Advertising Fraud

Illusion of Advertising on Facebook
Then along comes the latest video (here) proclaiming that - surprise - Facebook advertising is expensive, and riddled with possible fraud.  Well, yes and no. Here's the non-surprise surprise: ALL forms of advertising are riddled with problems, and on the Internet fraud whether it's click fraud or like fraud has been around forever.

Don't be naive, Scarlett. It's not just Yankees in Atlanta, it's that all forms of advertising are ridiculously expensive.

As marketers, perhaps it's a good time to step back and compare "free" vs. "paid" in terms of marketing:

  • Free advertising - as in SEO or Social Media Marketing Efforts. The pro: well it's free. And the other pro: well, people often "believe" it more than the paid (people tend to skip ads). The con: it takes constant effort, and hard work (systematically). The big pro: generally speaking in terms of the ROI, dollar for dollar it generally blows the socks off of paid advertising.
  • Paid advertising - as in AdWords or Facebook advertising. The pro: well, it's easy. In just a few minutes you can get your message up and out. The con: people ignore them, there's quite a bit of fraud (more than you'd realize).
Perhaps advertising is fool's gold. Perhaps it's the crack cocaine of marketing. Seems easy but in reality the high fritters away quickly. Perhaps we should spend 80% of our efforts on the free stuff, and only 20% on the paid stuff.

80/20 on Free Stuff vs. Paid Stuff

Question to self: are we really systematically working on the free stuff? Or are we taking at "face value" the propaganda that Google and Facebook spout at us about the wonders of advertising.

Who has the megaphone?


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