Spin Sucks – Especially in Marketing

My friend Gini Dietrich and I became friends a few years back when I found her blog Spin Sucks.  The blog’s premise that the Public Relations Industry has no problem ‘Spinning Stories’ to benefit their clients and other unethical behaviors. And I asked her about that and talked about how marketers are worse. And then we bonded when I learned her feelings for Mashable were similar to mine. What they do in marketing is Spin Numbers (or sometimes blatantly lie) something I have mentioned plenty of times before.

So here is an update from Facebook about auto playing videos in the mobile app news feed.

First I will address why: The latest ComScore numbers shows Facebook struggles with Video.

October 2013 ComScore rankings

October 2013 ComScore rankings

As you see only 2 sites have lower monthly viewing consumption than Facebook. Even with Facebook ranked 2nd in Unique Viewers and Total Plays. In fact only half of Facebook’s US users will watch even 1 video a month. And the one’s that do watch just 1 minute per day.

How does Facebook fix this? Auto Play! Force people to watch videos is the answer. Even if they keep the sound off it counts as a view!

To be fair even YouTube at 500 minutes a month comes in at 16 minutes per day vs 4hrs of TV for the average US Citizen.

But what is the reason Facebook gives?

‘Since September, we’ve been testing a way to make videos more engaging on Facebook, and as a result we’ve seen views, likes, shares and comments increase more than 10 percent’

And that is where the Spin comes in. This is really about views on Mobile. With the migration to Mobile of users Facebook is struggling even more to get the same level of video consumption that YouTube has. To be honest I do not use the Facebook Mobile app, it is deactived on my Android. (Won’t let me uninstall but I have tried it. This is an ethics decision). But I have kept my 2 year old pacified watching Elmo on my phone on YouTube.

So where does the 10% increase in engagement come from? Clicking the link doesn’t solve this. Is the engagement rate 10% and bumped to 11%? Is it 0.01% and now it is 0.011%? We will never know. They won’t tell us probably because it is a sobering low number. And because this is not about Engagement. It is about video views. And the last 4 years Facebook has been unable to figure out how to get more people watching video on their network.

So let’s AutoPlay baby! Maybe this will work!

About Howie Goldfarb

Howie Goldfarb

Also playfully known as the Chief Alien of Blue Star Strategic Marketing, Howie Goldfarb relishes his role as an industry outsider. With 20 years of Sales, Marketing, and Business Operations experience founded Blue Star Strategic Marketing to serve as the objective and strategic adviser of brands to help them grow and thrive.

His Degree in Finance givess him a CFO’s view to marketing, bringing a dose of reality to the confusing world of jargon, spin, and hype. After a 14-year career in direct B2B industrial sales Howie decided to lighten up his dreary work life and move into consumer advertising and marketing. Now he champions up and coming Consumer Brands.

Formerly an Angelino and New Yorker, he currently lives in the Green Mountains of Vermont and is still seeking his first moose sighting. His passions are his family, community, art, music, and the outdoors, He tries to cook, has been known to hunt Fiddleheads and loves the Vermont Fresh Network and other sustainability initiatives like farm to table and buying local.


  1. […] dwell time, said Howie Goldfarb of marketing firm Blue Star Strategic. He wrote an interesting post about the first release of video play in Facebook’s mobile news feed. In it he says that the […]