The most surprising thing with this growing move away from social media advertising is that it has taken this long for brands to realise that they can’t control the context in which their adverts appear – and that context can change perception of their messaging.
The real lesson here is not that social media needs stricter controls (an ethical debate), it’s that in the classic Paid/Earned/Owned model, the *only* part brands can fully control is Owned. Many are only now beginning to wake up to the fact that their social accounts are not Owned platforms.
All this should have been obvious for years – every fresh story about an algorithm change destroying business models that were relying on social audiences has been an alarm bell. But perhaps now brands are finally realising that social isn’t as straightforward as they’ve long seemed to believe.
What does this mean for brands?
1) They need more robust, nuanced social strategies. Chucking money at paid posts and adverts doesn’t cut it. It never has.
2) The quality of their genuinely Owned platforms is becoming more important than ever. These are the only places they have complete control over the context and the message.
And it’s also notable that many brands joining the boycott have solid Owned strategies in place…