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.”