Authenticity vs. algorithm: can money buy customers? [infographic]

When the Internet trickled into people’s lives in the late 1990s, it didn’t make much of a splash with the public until companies figured out how to make money from it. Initially, social media seemed merely to be a means to share one’s routine activities with friends and family. However, social media startups soon learned how to incorporate advertising into users’ activity feeds. It has been a competition between authenticity vs. algorithm.

Computer algorithms were incorporated to examine users’ profiles, locations and topics of interest to determine, with pinpoint accuracy, which ads would be best suited to them. Today, social media apps are just as much platforms for advertising as they are communication vehicles, if not more so.

Maybe that’s not a bad thing. After all, shouldn’t consumers appreciate being targeted with ads that connect with their hobbies and lifestyles rather than being bombarded with random advertisements that might not be of any value? Maybe, but remember that viewing advertisements isn’t the reason that users signed up for the app.

Constantly seeing ubiquitous advertising and promotional posts in their feeds has become more of a mild annoyance with individuals. It has become a “cost of doing business” with the app. Many people unconsciously scroll past the ads without giving them a second thought.

Businesses and non-profit organizations can reduce this “ad fatigue” by connecting with customers who might genuinely embrace their products and causes. By being more authentic, these connections can convert consumers into brand advocates:

  • Ensure your posts have value: Blog about subjects that matter to your audience, not just about those that interest you.
  • Create messages that matter: Millennials and Gen Z customers want to spend their money with companies that share their values.
  • Be sincere: An honest video featuring a real consumer is more appreciated. It is better than a splashy video starring a Hollywood influencer.
  • Be worthy of their trust: Don’t share their information.

Authenticity vs. Algorithm

Learn more about focusing on authenticity with your customers in this infographic below.

This infographic was created by Beantown Media Ventures.