How can you tell when the ad sales team has taken over an operation? When a company starts to de-emphasize direct actions and play up the impact of message reach on sales. Facebook is the latest example:
“Just like in TV, they consume the message, and then when they go to the store, they are more likely to consume your product,” said Brad Smallwood, Facebook’s head of measurement and insights. “It’s proof that the click is not the right thing to optimize to…Reach, just like in TV, is also a crucial driver.”
Now don’t get me wrong – message reach is an important metric for a lot of communications programs. But eventually you’re trying to tie that back to some sort of action that impacts the bottom line. And advertising is (at least it should be) the primary form of marketing that is tied solidly back to bottom line results.
There’s nothing wrong with this sort of shift. It makes sense and, yes, looks and sounds a lot like the kind of pitch television ad sales people have been making for decades as they promise to reach X million households and Xx2 million individuals. But it also makes it perfectly clear that Facebook is now in the display advertising business as opposed to one that focuses on interactions, engagements and other direct actions.