“Having a laugh”
1. When someone is being inconvenient, or taking advantage of someone else
2. To insult someone and then claim it was a joke
( The catchphrase of Andy Millman’s (Ricky Gervais) in the tv-show-within-a-tv-show, “When the Whistle Blows”. (from Extras.) Spoken in a high pitch and followed by “Is s/he havin’ a laff?”) Source: UrbanDictionary.com
Today is “April Fool’s Day” but long-suffering online advertisers might think that online giants such as Google and Facebook regard every day as as one for “Having a laugh” at their expense. You see, the issue of fraud in online advertising has once again raised its ugly head.
Of course, this problem has been around in some form from the very beginning of online advertising. In pay-per-click, one problem used to be fake clicks on ads to boost revenue to the sellers of online ads. Now it seems to have moved to a more worrying level as Malcolm Auld explains…
“Media companies have now admitted they have been falsely charging for online advertising and are returning $millions to clients, rather than face messy legal action. Dentsu was the first to raise its guilty hand.
I have one client about to go to court with its global media agency because the agency refuses to use the client’s programmatic advertising account. The reason is simple. The moment the client gets access to the account they will discover how much they have been ripped-off over the terms of the contract to date. It seems the agency is hiding behind a clause in the contract that says bookings must be on its account. The media agency would rather lose the client’s business across the globe than be found guilty of fraud.
Facebook admits it has overstated video viewing by as much as 80%.”
Well worth reading the whole post at “Would you encourage your children to work in marketing? I doubt it…”
And there’s another problem that advertisers don’t find in the least bit funny…
…their ads appearing in front of a…less-than-desirable…audience. From the 24 March 2017 issue of the UK’s “MoneyWeek”…
“Revelations that advertisements from such respectable outfits as the UK government, Sainsbury’s and L’Oréal were featured alongside inappropriate YouTube content – including white supremacist groups and jihadist preachers – have caused a host of firms and organisations to pull their digital advertising from the Google-owned video site.
Among the 250-and-counting organisations to suspend their advertisements include the BBC, The Guardian newspaper, Marks & Spencer, McDonald’s, Channel 4, Tesco, Audi and several banks. Many of the companies boycotting Google had discovered only by reading The Times’s investigation that their advertising budget was being used to place banner advertisements over these videos, thus indirectly funding extremists and damaging the prestige of their brands.”
There’s more at “The Crisis in Internet Advertising”. Arguably more significant than a short-term embarrassing glitch is this from Marc Pritchard, P&G’s Chief Brand Officer…
“Together [as advertisers] we’re now spending $70bn on digital adverts”, he noted, but complained that “we serve advertisements to consumers through a non-transparent media supply chain with spotty compliance to common standards, unreliable measurements, hidden rebates, and new inventions like bots driving fraud”.
His went on to say that the days of “giving digital a pass” are over.
So what is the typical small business owner to make of all this? To some extent, direct response marketers are protected against the problem. That’s because through proper tracking the results and return on investment from an ad campaign can be measured. Any fraud will inflate the overall cost, but that is in effect factored in to the overall assessment.
However, not everyone follows a direct response approach and not everyone is always diligent in tracking results. So the message is pretty clear…treat online advertising with a degree of caution and make sure you know exactly what you’re getting for your money.
After all…you wouldn’t want people to be “having a laugh” at your expense.