As marketers we now have access to our customers in every nook and cranny of their lives. But with more layers of technology between us, we have less insight on what makes them tick.
“Algorithms cobble together ads based on "optimization," instead of creative teams dreaming them up based on human insight. We're told that all that data is making ads "more relevant" but consumers find our ads annoying and their use of ad blockers is at an all-time high.”
So what, nothing new here!
Well, take another look and open your mind up to a few seismic shifts in what used to work in marketing might not deliver the same in the next 12 months onwards.
With some degree of accuracy algorithms can probably predict that your Wife is pregnant before she even tells you, and that you're looking for a new car, again before you've even had chance to talk it through with your Husband, scary stuff eh!
To be honest the principles around these types of algorithms have been around in home shopping and eCommerce land for some time, even Amazon use the same principle when they show you stuff you are buying (or bought) to reflect back at you that 'people who bought this, also bought that'. In mail order and eCommerce its known as 'propensity modelling', same thing different title and it works on certain similar behavioral traits you and me exhibit when we browse or make a purchase.
Social media is designed to connect us with like minded people, yes it's used to connect with family and friends, but the growth and activity around LinkedIn suggest more of a collaborative mindset is in play, a habit we see more and more on places like TikTok and Instagram, where the best profiles actively encourage and generate engagement.
One of the biggest collaborative platforms that came along long before Facebook et al, was YouTube, now this was/is a platform that gave virtually anyone a voice, somewhere other like minded people could collaborate and join in with the subject matter or conversation.
The downside of YouTube for me is having to wait for those 6 seconds to pass so I can skip the rest of that digital intrusion called an advert in order I can get to the content.
And therein lies one of the key issues with brands who have simply moved their 'advertise, promote, and talk about me, me, me, me' thinking into the social media landscape.
YouTube's ad sales in the last three months of 2019 rose 31% year-on-year to $4.7bn (£3.62bn), Alphabet said.
Overall Alphabet revenue increased by 17% year-on-year to $46bn - the slowest rate in more than two years.
One of the key reasons that 'Youtube' works for Alphabet is the recognition that 'content discovery' is already huge, and the media landscape for savvy brands are starting to well, think like media companies and not advertising companies.
Search is great, but only if you know what you're looking for which is why 'content discovery' is a critical part of the 'Alphabet' owned 'YouTube' business model because it also increases dwell time, is a more immersive experience and a lot like Alice going down the Rabbit hole.
When you put your website together one of the key things all companies are required to do is to 'optimise' them for SEO, we all know that right?
This is all so that they can be easily found when the unwitting consumer who can't remember your brand name from that TV advert you ran, or simply want to find a vendor who matches with what they are looking for.
This is also one of the reasons that brands historically have spent huge sums on paid media to retain #1 search position for those keyword terms.
As more and more people around the world adopt social media for a place to avoid intrusive ads (currently 3.8 Billion) then search is becoming less relevant.
The whole way we are discovering new things is happening on those social media platforms, therefore it seems logical to me that providing helpful content and brand storytelling in an authentic way by the companies employees has huge benefits for everyone, including your SEO strategy.
YouTube now counts about two million paid subscribers, Mr Pichai said. At more than $15bn for 2019, YouTube's ad business accounted for almost 10% of Alphabet's overall revenues last year - but the firm also said it shares a large portion of YouTube ad revenue with people posting videos. Mr Pichai said the firm sees opportunity to make even more money off its YouTube adverts, including by targeting them more precisely. "We see that as a big opportunity and are investing for it," he said.