My latest piece in HBR (link) deals with the uncomfortable truth that digital marketing is just as wasteful as off-line advertising. This waste is a result of the prevalence of fake data. Because so much money is channeled into digital these days--all the big Web companies are essentially advertising agencies, scammers are everywhere siphoning off the advertisers' dollars. As I demonstrate in the piece, these scammers can make a good living. New technologies like cloud services and programmatic/algorithmic buying have unintended consequences of making the system more opaque and more in-the-moment, abetting the scammers. The industry is ignoring the problem because it benefits from fake traffic and fake clicks. Data analysts are churning out meaningless reports built off of fake numbers.
See the entire article here.