Grant Blackley accuses Facebook of deliberately pushing regional advertising away from radio

Facebook has recently rolled out a series of roadshows in regional towns as part of its Community Boost program, prompting a response from Southern Cross Austereo‘s Grant Blackley who has cast doubt over the purity of the social media giant’s intentions.

SCA’s chief executive is worried about the impact the roadshows, which began in Mackay in February, could have on advertising decisions made by small to medium sized businesses in attendance, with the potential to steer them away from radio.

According to Blackley, these roadshows have included information designed to drive advertising away from radio and television, a claim that Facebook has denied.

Core to his fears, are that if businesses “accept at face value the claims that Facebook makes about the engagement and size of its audience, there is a risk that they will move a disproportionate amount of their advertising onto Facebook.

“Facebook’s claims don’t withstand close scrutiny, especially when compared to commercial radio’s robust, well-understood and independently audited measurement systems,” he tells Radio Today.

A spokesperson for Facebook has denied it has provided information on the effectiveness of advertising on radio at the roadshow events.

“The Community Boost program aims to support all members of the local community – from youth and parents, to small businesses owners, not-for-profits and local media – by sharing tools, tips and advice to help regional Australians and local communities engage safely and successfully online,” the spokesperson told B&T.

“The workshops are suited to everyone, and equip people with skills the they need to ‘boost’ their community – whether they’re looking for in-person training about setting up a Facebook page or group, want to explore a career in technology, or simply use Facebook and want advice on how to stay safe online and engage with the local community.”

Blackley tells Radio Today that ACCC needs to act on the matter as part of its world-first inquiry into Facebook and Google.

The ACC must “review and regulate the market power of Facebook and Google to ensure that their growing role as gateways to the Internet does not diminish the unique direct engagement that radio has with local communities,” he says.

“Facebook and Google should be required to properly measure the effectiveness of online advertising and to clearly explain the algorithms they use to prioritise the advertisements and other content that users get to see.

“Their current claims for audience size and engagement don’t withstand close scrutiny, especially when compared to commercial radio’s robust, well-understood and independently audited measurement systems.”

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Recent comments (6)
Peter Turner
13 Jun 2018 - 11:09 pm

Blackley should be worried, the standard of the programming SCA pumps out is terrible, i live on the Gold Coast and the combined audience of their 2 stations here is less than 25% of total available audience. All SCA does is go for the LCD and these people have no money. Mr Blackley is is only going to get worse it is up to SCA to lift their standards or loose more audience. Streaming is where it is at, not the rubbish SCA thinks is entertainment.

Dan
14 Jun 2018 - 1:08 am

To quote Harvey Spector “winners don’t complain when the other side plays the game”.

Mark
14 Jun 2018 - 7:36 am

There’s a risk that they will move a disproportionate amount of their advertising onto Facebook. Oh gee it’s called competition. Bad lunch for all those SCA monopoly markets in regional.

Scott
14 Jun 2018 - 7:05 pm

When Facebook came to Mackay their team went straight from the airport to our station, they had their Australian people and Singapore people with them, and spent 2-3 hours with us. It was brilliant, they quizzed us about how we use FB for on air, marketing and everything else, and we quizzed them. We got so much out of that meeting and a heaps of tools and tricks we never new about. Highly valuable time, advice on stuff we never knew about. If Facebook comes to your town, set up a meeting, you’ll get heaps out of it. And maybe one of the free Facebook pens and T-shirts too.

Michael
14 Jun 2018 - 7:12 pm

Why not just fix 2DAYFM that’s worth lot more then a few Facebook ad budget dollars.

Anonomous
14 Jun 2018 - 7:13 pm

Grandstanding maybe ?