web analytics

Number seven will blow your mind

It’s Summer reading season and I’m working my way through my backlog of saved articles. I’ve just finished this interesting story from the New Yorker’s January issue on Emerson Spartz, one of those irritating young new media booboos who are transforming the internet into a eyeball abusing listicle shithole. Things that don’t surprise me:

■ 80% of his company’s time is spent on social media (mostly FaceBook) promoting content, 20% on developing actual content.

■ His content isn’t his content. It’s borrowed from other sites (like mine, I s’pose, but I’m not running a clickfarm).

■ His every fiber yearns for you to hit that button. There is no other purpose to his activity.

He has a staff of elves that actually feed content into his sites. Himself sits all day in front of a screen of analytics. He will publish the same exact story on FaceBook with ten different titles, then watch which title get the most clicks in realtime, then winnow out the losers until he has found the perfect Darwinian clickbait.

Yes, it looks as though he is the creator of my current favorite hate title: X pictures of Y, #Z will blow your mind!

I’m a veteran of these things because I hang out on FaceBook passively stalking old friends and family members, and I love looking at pictures.

You click on the first picture and there’s, like, ten ads all around it. Usually animated. Usually the next button is hidden and several of the ads have right arrow buttons that look like the next button. Next picture, whole new set of ads. I’ve gotten so wadded up about these things I’m currently taking a positive delight in not clicking the bastards.

I’ve got one in front of me now. The obvious next button is actually an ad for M&S Men ‘s Linen Trousers (one above and one below the picture). Marks and Spencer’s. What are they thinking? What the hell kind of customer relationship do you build when you trick people into clicking an ad they didn’t want to click?

One of two possibilities: either the internet is so huge that if one in a hundred of the one in ten people who mistake-click your ad go on to buy your crappy trousers, it’s worth your advertising money, even if you piss off everyone else.

Or this approach to marketing is a big stupid obvious mistake that we will look back on some day and shake our heads.

June 4, 2015 — 10:35 pm
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