Most of my life — from childhood until about 20 years ago — I was king of the early adopters. Whatever was new and hot, I was on like white on rice.
I was so into technology that back when the Motorola
Startac was the phone, I dreamed of phones that incorporated a phone, a Palm Pilot, a way to hand-write notes, and a
bunch of other stuff. I literally carried a pager, a Palm Pilot,
and that Startac. And you don’t even want to know about
the electronics I had in my home!
When the internet came to be, I was on that and email
like nobody’s business. I was hooked — at the scorching
14. 4 Kbps my blazing-fast modem could muster. It was pathetic. I remember telling anyone I knew at the time that
the internet was not going to become anything big until it
became really fast.
It turns out I was right, which in and of itself is no big
deal. What is a big deal? All the amazing innovation that
came along with the World Wide Web.
I remember when friends told me about Facebook and
Twitter — like it was the Second Coming! I wondered how
I’d missed these developments when I’d been so in tune
with tech not all that long before. And I realized that I’d
missed the big developments in social media because I’d set
technology aside in favor of focusing on deepening my personal connections with live people — in person.
I know, imagine that!
But I did see the potential benefits of being on social
media, so I engaged in a bit of tech stuff and purposefully
grew my influence on Twitter and LinkedIn. With the
same purpose, I put in nearly zero effort at having “friends”
or “likes,” or whatever they call them, on Facebook. I just
didn’t see the point to it, even though there are more than
2 billion of us nicely shepherded into the Facebook corral,
lining up for eventual slaughter. (I’m kidding … kind of.)
I think Facebook is the single-largest
mistake in human history — and that’s
coming from an early high-tech adopter.
Its scale dwarfs everything else human
beings have tackled, yet it offers nothing
of discernible value, despite being used
nearly ceaselessly by hundreds of millions
of people every minute of every day.
If you’re on Facebook, try not looking at your news feed
for a day. I dare you. You can’t. You’re addicted. Be honest
and nod your head in agreement; it’s OK. You’re in spectacular company.
How do I know you’re addicted? Because I’ve been an
addict, and nothing shines brighter to me than first-hand
experience. Even in the face of real news about how Facebook’s guardians have used and abused us, their faithful
“community,” we shrug our shoulders and dive back in,
headfirst, like an ostrich putting its head in the sand.
I won’t lie and tell you I don’t partake, because I do. But
I must not have been that hooked to begin with, because
I have gone days without looking at it or posting a single
thought. That doesn’t make me better than anyone else. I’m
not bragging; I’m just telling my story so you know I have
a natural bias against what Facebook stands for. I want to
be clear, so you know my point of view as I finally steer this
titanic column to performance marketing.
All the research I’ve done in the past three-to-four
months shows me that Facebook’s CPMs are going up without any added value — every month. This is because of the
shrinking time people spend with their news feeds.
In response, Facebook recommends expanding reach
parameters and otherwise loosening targeting. So here’s a
truth for you if you’re in business and either using Facebook
or contemplating it: everything the folks at Facebook suggest is literally Marketing 101, except they’re peddling it as
if they’re experts who are in your corner.
They are neither. But they are desperate not to lose their
pull on your money.
If you stop and evaluate their;recommended;“best
practices,”;you’ll clearly see they’re all the things;for
which;you;don’t;use Facebook. You don’t want to generalize
your campaign; you don’t want to expand
your targeting; and you don’t want to
have to increase your scale (and thus your
The fact is, in light of Facebook’s rise
in CPMs, it has less to offer you. Why
spend your hard-fought budget there
when you can buy other media far more
Following the Herd Only Bene;ts