As much as the majority of us would love for Facebook to not be the main conductor to the symphony of our lives, we’ve reached a point that, despite the overreported ad metrics, the privacy breaches, its ADDICTIVE presence within our society, we still can’t quit it. 

Yes, Facebook ad tracking is inaccurate. Yes, our privacy has been infringed upon. Yes, Meta is here and Web 3.0 is on its way. BUT, that doesn’t mean that Facebook is going anywhere, or that any of this information is actually NEW. And, psst, Facebook isn’t the only company adding fuel to this fire (hint: you can ask Alexa, Siri, or Echo who IS, if you’re still wondering).

If you’re worried about what this means for your business, your ads, and your audience, you’re not alone. But, don’t be too worried. 

I have a prediction that I’m sharing this episode that takes some of the scariness out of our upcoming future as a society and business owners.

In this podcast episode, I’m covering Facebook, the topics brought to light by the whistleblower (they’re not as scary as you may think), and aspects of the “Metaverse” that may seem impossible, but are more of a possibility than you may think.

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READ THE EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Emily Hirsh:

Hello, my friends. Welcome back to the podcast. Happy November. I am excited to dive into this episode. One of the benefits of not being super ahead on my podcast recording, just keeping it real with you guys, I have been in too many meetings lately and falling behind in my content, but it allows me to do more real time episodes. So there is a benefit to that. Usually I’m six weeks ahead on my podcast recording. And then if we want to push something out early, I have to rearrange things and change the order. But I haven’t been, my team keeps pushing me to get ahead of it. I’m like “okay, you guys, I’m going to,” but it’s been a very busy season for me. I just hired an Operation/Marketing Coordinator to help me organize everything and become my right hand internally.

I have a right hand on our ads team who’s been on my team for almost three years and is truly one of my closest friends, but also my right hand. She fills in for me and basically runs the ads department. But I have not been able to recreate that internally, especially with our marketing department and everything internally that we have to be doing. I’m still very much managing and I need to get out of that day to day. So I don’t know if you guys have Google calendar, but they, in the last month, added that little sidebar thing that tells you like how many hours you’re in meetings. And every week I’m like, “oh my God, like, this is so terrible.” It’s like 15, 16, 17 hours of meetings. And I only work about 30 hours a week, so that’s not enough time to be doing what I need to be doing anyways.

That’s my rant for you guys. But anyways, why I was saying this is going to be a really relevant episode is I’m talking about Facebook, the whistleblower, and the new name change. That was just announced Meta, which I was like, “seriously?” I don’t know. Maybe it’ll grow on me, but it’s a little bit weird. I thought it was a joke when I first saw it. But you know, Mark Zuckerberg is a smart person, so he knows what he’s doing, I think, but let’s talk about it. And give my take on it. It’s been really interesting to see our platform and the company, I built my company around Facebook and Instagram ads for the last six years, be all over the news, literally and mainstream people who have no idea about our industry now, talking about Facebook and the privacy concerns and the messing up of numbers and all of these things. And it’s interesting because people, my friends, my family and friends who don’t really live in this industry like we do have been like, “well, like, are you worried? And like, what does it mean?” And it’s just interesting to see that we’re like on CNN on all the major news stations, not us, but I’m saying our industry, our world of Facebook that we live in for business and it makes us realize how truly  the majority of people don’t have any idea how ads work and how businesses are using Facebook ads and how it can work.

I talked to people who are just like, “I just see ads” and they think that it’s Facebook doing it vs.  businesses. So, it’s interesting, first of all, to see that we’re mainstream in this way right now, but overall with the Whistleblower now I haven’t watched, it was too much to cover all of it. I also really stay away from all mainstream media. I personally don’t trust any of it. And so I don’t even consume it. I didn’t watch all the details of it. I do have obviously, the summary of it when it first started happening. So it happened that they were about to go live and then Facebook went down for that day, which was super interesting and people of course were like, “it’s because of the whistleblower.”

And that’s why Facebook would, which would make zero sense, because they came back up the next day. And then all this has been on Facebook regarding the whistleblower. So I don’t think that’s the reason why Facebook went down. They also obviously lost a ton of money going down for that half of a day so I don’t believe that, but when it first started happening and the whistleblower came out and this might, this could be like an unpopular opinion, but this is just me. Anything that’s heavily promoted by the mainstream media, I don’t trust. So I’m like, I don’t know, like the whistleblower, it seems a little bit strange to me because mainstream media and Facebook are tight. You know, they are in the same sphere in the same world and they support each other.

So I don’t know, and I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I do have trust issues with the mainstream media. So when that first started happening, I was just like, “I’m not really going to pay attention to this.” And then most of the things that have come out again, I haven’t watched every detailed segment of these interviews and whatnot, but most of the things that have come out from it, we already know these things. That’s why Facebook is changing all of their backend and their algorithms to really prioritize their users’ privacy in their head. And they’re being forced to do that. Did they probably get away with things that they shouldn’t have? Absolutely. But so did every other tech platform, Facebook’s just huge. They have billions of users and they are the biggest ones, but every platform, and Google included is also a very big one doing that.

And so what was being shared around the way that user’s privacy was compromised, potentially. And then there was stuff about Facebook kind of over-reporting numbers and making numbers in the backend with ads look better than they were — we know these things. I’ve known that for five years, when I first started my company, Facebook ads wasn’t accurate reporting. That’s why we put into place third party reporting, where you have separate funnels to verify your Facebook ads versus all your other traffic and or using UTM codes, just some sort of backup methods. So that’s not a new thing that Facebook isn’t reporting accurately. Are they doing it on purpose? Probably. You know, like I don’t trust Facebook as a company. I don’t trust huge corporations like that. They’re always in it for the money. So is every single huge company.

So a lot of what’s being said is probably true, but the thing about it is, it’s not a huge shock to me at all. And I also think that Facebook is the one being blasted and highlighted, but every company is doing this. Look at Amazon, how much information do you think Alexa is capturing when you talk in your house and your iPhone is definitely listening to you, like absolutely it’s happening all over. And, and is that a concern? Yeah, but is it avoidable? Not really, if you want to live in a tech world and I think that there’s some people who are more worried about that than others, but the reality is we live in this world and if you want to have an Alexa or have an iPhone or have a social media profile, you’re signing up for that.

And that’s the thing about Facebook is, you can choose to not have social media. You still have that choice, but yet millions and millions of people are choosing to go on Facebook and Instagram every day. And that’s the other interesting thing for it to me is throughout this whole process with the whistleblower, it’s not like people are like, “okay, we’re leaving Facebook and we’re going to go over to a new social media platform.” They’re complaining about it and they’re worried about it, but they’re still there every day, like feeding the addiction of social media. And so from a business perspective, if you count on social media and you count on ad revenue or getting customers from social media, you don’t really have to worry, because until there is something else that people are going to be going on to connect with each other in that way and feed that truly it is an addiction, feed that addiction, then you just are going to go over to that next thing. 

There always will be something, look at the day that Facebook shut down for half a day. Everybody just moved over to Twitter and Clubhouse and other social media platforms. Because they’re like addicts. We are all like addicts. It’s like, we gotta have this fix. It feels too weird without it. So you don’t really have to worry as a business that has just, you know, it could, I guess, disappear. I’m not worried at all that Facebook and Instagram aren’t going anywhere. I actually wish that a new social media platform would come along and be bigger than Facebook and Instagram and take them over because it sucks that they have such a monopoly and Facebook is not a great service and company to deal with when you have things like ad account shutdowns or issues in the backend, they don’t care.

They do not care about business owners, unless you’re one of their top revenue spenders. They really are not helpful. And so they are very frustrating, but you kind of have to play the game to reach your audience because that’s where your audience is. So anyways, through this, it was interesting to me that even though the whistleblower was doing all the sharing and everything, and that was coming out and people were worried and it was on the mainstream news and all those pieces, they still went on Facebook and Instagram. So as a business owner, I think that you don’t really have to worry about losing your audience right now, unless again, something else new ever pops up. And I truly do hope that someday it does, but it’s really hard because Facebook has such a monopoly that they either copy the features and bring it into their company or they buy the company out.

Like the one, they bought Instagram when that happened a little bit there. So it’s like they have a monopoly and I wish they didn’t. I don’t think Mark Zuckerberg is a super reliable person that should be able to be leading this movement of social media at all. But he is, and he has that monopoly. So, with the whistleblower, in terms of impacting your business and the things they’re saying about privacy that has been leaked or things that have happened that shouldn’t have with their users and then the tracking, I know a couple of our clients reached out and saw the news and were like, “oh, is this a thing, should we be worried about Facebook kind of fudging the data in our account?” And it’s not, this is not a new thing. Yes. That can happen and has been happening.

And we already have things in place to kind of make up for that. So the thing is with the whistleblower is it just became mainstream. But everything being said is really not new information. And then around the privacy stuff, you could say like, “oh, I don’t want to support this. I don’t want to be on Facebook and Instagram for these reasons.” But like I said, every single tech company is doing this, Amazon, Apple. They are; all the social media sites. Maybe not to that level they are doing this, but they are doing this. And they have been since the beginning. And so we’re definitely entering this new era where privacy is at the forefront of these platforms’ concern. And there’s having to change their backend to kind of make up for what they’ve been doing, but it’s not new news.

And we knew this going into the iOS updates that all of this was going to be changing. But the thing with the iOS updates is it was pushed by Apple. And so Apple has plenty of things it does to infringe on its user’s privacy. That obviously is not being addressed because they made the iOS 14 updates and kind of exposed Facebook for that. It’s all a game, it’s all a game. It’s all about money. It’s all about them winning for themselves. I think we know this. And so yes, we are in an, in a new era where, where all platforms, social media and tech companies are going to have to start being forced to consider their users’ privacy more. And they won’t be able to get away with as much as they were in the past. But again, Facebook has probably seen this coming for years.

We know they’ve seen it coming for the last year because of iOS 14, but I guarantee they’ve seen it coming for years. So overall with the whistleblower again, I didn’t watch every single segment about it because I don’t find it a good use of my time. But when I reflect on the major points, it’s stuff that we knew. And it’s fortunately stuff that I don’t think is going to impact business owners, because it’s still like carry on. As usual people are still getting on the platform. People are still utilizing the platform. Advertising is still working, yes. Is the tracking potentially inaccurate? Yes. So you need to have some backup ways to track your data. And one of those ways that we do is have a separate funnel for ads, traffic, so that all the leads around ads, traffic are tagged, which is great because then you can actually see them even months down the line, but that’s hard data in the backend of our client’s CRM that’s tagged.

I’m also building a software to help solve this problem of tracking that will come out in January. But yes, the tracking, it’s been an issue for the last five years, so that’s not new. And if you’ve run Facebook ads, you probably run into this and it is frustrating, but it’s again, we’ve got to step up. We have to deal with it because we need to market our business and reach new audiences and get new leads, which are on these platforms. So that is the whistleblower. Now let’s talk about the name change and the future of social media. So I don’t know how I feel about his founder’s letter. It’s kind of creepy to me what is happening. And, I am somebody who for my kids, they don’t play games. We don’t have a TV. I live in this tech world, but I’m actually very against it.

I think social media is really addicting. I think it takes away from connection with real people and your friends and family. And I don’t like to be on my phone when I have people around me and it is super addicting and I have to constantly kind of fight that addiction. I think a lot of people don’t fight it and they don’t really care about it, but it is addicting. They’ve built it to be addicting and I’ve never tried virtual reality VR experience before. I’m sure it’s really cool, but everything I’ve seen about it and the people I know who have tried, it said it is extremely addicting. It’s like you’re hooked into it. Because it’s like, so I don’t know, like cool and fires off, probably different things in your brain that make you want to keep doing it and keep doing it.

So that’s concerning to me because if that’s the case, you know, that’s social media is already addicting. And if they’re creating something even more addicting, it’s like, where are we going? So from a member of society and mom, you know, and human perspective, I am definitely a little scared for this future. I mean, essentially it sounds like Mark’s vision for social media is web 3.0 is instead of looking at a screen you’re in this experience and you can see your family. It’s so hard to comprehend, but like you’re in rooms and you can actually turn and see people versus looking at a screen. And so I think that it’s inevitable that a new web 3.0 is coming, that’s going to be different than just looking at a screen. Now it will be interesting to see what sticks and what doesn’t.

I think that they are probably a little bit ambitious to think everybody’s just gonna grab onto this and embrace it. We’ve had Kindles and things like that forever. And I still buy real books. So, there are things that I don’t think could ever replace true human connection with each other in person. And I think it’s going to take time for people to even start to adapt it because it is such a big shift, but you have to realize that any big shift, like the iPhone or, you know, Facebook and social media in general, like everybody, first thing that happens is everybody’s like, that’s so crazy. That’s so dumb. Why would anybody do that? And then it becomes the reality, three, four or five years later. And so I am seeing right now, after this announcement, a lot of people are going, Mark is crazy.

Like, “who does he think he is? Nobody’s going to do this.” And I’m like, “you guys just wait because you’re probably wrong.” Sadly, I wish that you weren’t wrong. But if it’s super addicting and you know, an experience that’s new like that, and it’s going to hook people in, it probably will become a reality. And so it’s interesting to me, like, people are like, Mark, what is he thinking, Mark? He’s a billionaire. And I think he knows what he’s doing. I think he’s trying to definitely monopolize this, this movement. I think that there’s a potential of him not being the leader of it, there are other companies that could step in. I mean, even video gaming companies, they’re closer to being able to create this as a reality, who knows. I hope that he’s not like I don’t want him to continue to have the monopoly of this, of this web 3.0.

So I think we are going to move into this direction, whether it’s in a year or two years or five years in the next five years, I think social media and the experience of being online is going to change significantly. And with Facebook changing their name, I mean, they’re going to start launching things around this at some point. And I think a lot of what they launch is not going to stick. I think some of what they launch is going to stick, and they’re going to figure out what people are attracted to and what they’re not attracted to. And that’s what they did with Facebook. Like they just tried things and they continue to listen to their users to see what they wanted and what created the most engagement. And they continue to do that. They continue to do that.

If you look at anything, they put out, they are listening to not what their users necessarily want, but what their users are telling them through action, that they will continue to go on their platform for, because if they listened to what their users want, I think right now, everybody would say, “we don’t want this,” but just wait until they put it out there and people start to get hooked on it. We’ll see from a business perspective in this web 3.0, made up possibilities, I think it will open up a whole new world of selling of different ideas and ways you could connect with your audience, advertising of course will become a thing. It is cool and exciting to imagine what that will be. And I think we won’t know until it starts coming out. But I think right now I watched the video from the Instagram creator yesterday.

And he said something like, “imagine being a creator and being able to create a room where all your followers can come in and be in that room with you.” It sounds mind-blowing right now when you hear it. But so did the iPhone. So did Facebook, all of those things we have to remember at that time, if someone would have said, “Hey, imagine having a phone that is the internet that you can look up, anything in your pocket.” We, people were like, “that’s insane. And why would you want that?” You know, that’s their response. And so these things will become reality. These companies, I do have to give it to these visionaries, regardless of what I think of Mark Zuckerberg, he is willing to imagine the impossible and then go make it happen. And you’ve got to have some respect for that.

Same with Elon Musk, same with Jeff Bezos. They have an extreme ability to imagine a future and bring it to life that majority, 99.9% of people can’t see as possible. So I do have mad respect for that. And I think he’s right. I know he’s right, because he wouldn’t be making this move if he wasn’t. So it will be interesting, web 3.0 is coming, I think from a human perspective and as a mom, I’m scared. I wish we could go back to the eighties sometimes. And the nineties, when I was a young kid, we just shouldn’t have this level of tech and it is really challenging to raise kids in this world. Sometimes it makes me really sad. We’re super anti-tech, but it still shows up.

I think it still impacts. And I think it will continue to impact as my kids get older, the way that they want to hang out with friends and interact with friends. And I really hate it. I really hate it. I hate social media for kids. I do not want my kids on social media and I hate phones. I just want them to be kids and play out in the neighborhood, in our cul-de-sac with kids and have, use their imaginations and play with toys. I don’t want them on games and I don’t want them on social media. I don’t want them making videos. I don’t want them caring about how many likes they get. I hate all of those things so much. And also we live in that world. So as a business owner and as adults, I’m constantly conflicted because it impacts me, and I don’t want to care about how many likes I get.

I don’t want to be sharing my every day on stories or feel like I did or I need to be doing that versus being present. It’s a constant push pull that I have of, I’m constantly conflicted with it. So I think with where we’re going, it is going to be interesting to watch unfold. We don’t know a lot. I would expect soon there’s going to be some more changes coming out as they start to test this and I’m excited for that. It is historical for sure. And I think from a business perspective, it is exciting to think about the new world that’s going to open up because we need that. Right. Facebook and Instagram ads haven’t really changed for the last 10 years. It’s been small changes. They’ve introduced, obviously Instagram was probably one of the biggest changes. And then there were features like stories and reels, but we could use a change.

And I think ad costs would significantly go down again, if we can get in on those changes early. So I’ll be watching for that. And from a business perspective, excited for it, for it as a mom, and somebody who values being unplugged and present in my life, I’m definitely nervous. And I am nervous for Mark Zuckerberg to be the leader of this. We’ll see, there’s a chance he won’t, there’s a chance that somebody else can come in. It’s definitely going to be interesting. So those are my thoughts on all of these changes and I will obviously continue to share as things come up and I hope you guys found this somewhat helpful. We’re all going to be okay. We have to just remember, there’s nothing that’s going to fully replace actual true human connection and being present and in the moment. And I do think there’s a movement going back to that. I think that it’s potentially stronger than these founders realize. I think, especially in the last few years, people have started to realize how addicting social media is and some have taken action against that. So it’s always going to be there, but you have to balance and decide how you want to participate in it. And you do still have that control. They don’t control you and you have that control and your boundaries around it. So thanks for listening today, guys. I’ll talk to you next time.

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