We all know that you can’t trust everything you read on the Internet. It’s just too easy for someone to post “facts,” sound professional and reputable, and even quote dubious sources to give their claims an air of truth. As we are now finding out through the ongoing troubles with Facebook’s advertising and news programs, it is also easy for a large, popular website to be less than truthful with the millions of folks who interact with it on a daily basis. Now, additional revelations about Facebook’s advertising policies in particular show that the website’s metric mistakes—whether intentional or not—have likely cost its advertising partners a lot of money. Here’s your Tallahassee SEO consultant’s take on the situation:
What’s Going On?
The background of the advertising fiasco is the spotlight that was placed on Facebook following the 2016 presidential election. In the days leading up to the election, Facebook failed to filter out fake news stories from the headlines that appeared in users’ “News Feed” section. In addition, experts noted that Facebook’s new system of ranking news items (based on the interests of users as reflected in past activity) resulted in a skewed view of what was actually happening in the election. For instance, if a Facebook user had previously shown lots of interest in posts about Donald Trump but none in posts about Hillary Clinton, that user’s News Feed would emphasize pro-Trump stories and filter out pro-Clinton ones.
Into this atmosphere came an announcement from Facebook that the website has been inaccurately reporting key metrics concerning advertising reach. The mistakes are fairly major, and they further hurt Facebook’s credibility with users and advertising partners alike.
When your Tallahassee SEO consultant analyzes visits to your website, he looks at “metrics”—detailed information about the number of visits, length of those visits, and other factors. Facebook does the same with its advertising content, keeping track of how many users see each advertiser’s messages and how long they view video ads. According to the announcement, the website failed to account for important details like repeat viewings of ads by a single user. The resulting metrics were off by as much as 55 percent, implying that advertisers were reaching far more Facebook users than they actually were.
This is a hugely important mistake. Not only would current advertisers have a false sense of success at such high viewing results, but potential advertisers also base their decisions to work with Facebook on the results of past ad campaigns on the site. If the metrics had been reported accurately, it is impossible to know how many companies would have elected not to invest the way they ultimately did.
The Importance of Honesty
Many Tallahassee SEO providers use the term “Wild West” to refer to the governing of the Internet. That is, companies and individuals can really act however they want to, and unless they are breaking state or federal laws, there probably won’t be serious consequences. But the flip side to this situation is that trust is both powerful and delicate. If a website consistently serves its users well, its reputation will spread and more users will flock to it. On the other hand, if a website breaks trust with users as Facebook appears to have done, it can take a very long time and a lot of effort to earn that trust back. Facebook’s double dose of inconsistency—its News Feed mistakes and its ad metric errors—could hound the website for a very long time.
The same thinking applies to a Tallahassee SEO company. Sadly, there are many consultants who set up shop and simply sign on as many clients as possible while never intending to provide responsible, long-term, effective search engine optimization for any of them. A Tallahassee SEO provider that builds a reputation for honesty, integrity, and long-term success, on the other hand, will attract new clients on a regular basis as people respond to their positive customer reviews and word-of-mouth recommendation.
We hope that you will get in touch with us, browse our website, and see what our clients think of our Tallahassee SEO services. We hope to hear from you soon!