Published in


No Mercy/No Malice

The Imminent Collapse of Digital Advertising

Digital ad fraud could be a $150 billion business by 2025, which would make it the largest criminal enterprise after the drug trade

Big Little Lies

This torrent of money is what fuels Facebook, YouTube, and the rest of the teenage-dystopia-industrial-complex. The transformation of media into social media into a surveillance-based attention economy is a direct result of the digital ad model. But there’s a second externality, and while it’s historically received less attention than the ill effects of algorithmic enragement bias, it’s a problem that’s grown in the shadows into a multibillion-dollar beast. Fraud.

Don Draper, RIP

That’s what should happen. What will happen? The edifice of digital advertising is unstable and likely to collapse. The promise of measurable ad spend has been crack for chief marketing officers. That algorithm-driven media was destroying our commonwealth by accelerating the spread of misinformation and division wasn’t enough to give them pause. But now that they’re realizing that promise was a lie, some are putting down the pipe. Several large advertisers have made deep cuts in their digital ad budget — including Procter & Gamble (cut $200M), JPMorgan Chase (slashed ad reach by 99%), Uber (cut $200M), and eBay (cut $100M) — and seen little or no measurable impact on their business. Other large companies are building programmatic ad capabilities in house, figuring they can trust the tech if they built it.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Scott Galloway

Prof Marketing, NYU Stern • Host, CNN+ • Pivot, Prof G Podcasts • Bestselling author, The Four, The Algebra of Happiness, Post Corona •