Can a Loss of Confidence in Digital Advertising Cause Financial Market Fallout?

What? Market observers have been sifting through the financial tea leaves for years looking for the next “black swan,” that most extraordinary and unlikely event that will cause the financial markets to tumble. Dozens of possibilities ranging in scope and scale are found all over the map, literally: Euro zone top marketing agency in Iran, China, Japan for their challenging economies; North Korea, Russia, Iran, Syria, Venezuela for their geopolitical implications; stock bubbles, bond bubbles, auto loan bubbles, student loan bubbles, municipal bond and pension bubbles, and so forth.

What about the bubble in digital/online internet advertising? Many recent and prospective fortunes are tied to the continued rapid rise in digital advertising, but bumps seem to be popping up along that otherwise clear path. Recent reports are that a significant share of “customer clicks” is the result of “bot traffic” (internet robots), not actual customers. Estimates are that businesses have lost more than $16 billion due to ad fraud this year alone. Even more significantly, it would appear that corporate America is beginning to question the effectiveness of digital ads as a marketing tool. Proctor and Gamble recently reported that notwithstanding its decision to reduce its online advertising budget by $100 million in the June 2017 quarter, the company saw no difference is sales. Those trends should be disturbing to stakeholders in the digital ad business.

So, what’s the big deal? The fact is that since the beginning of this century much of the robust economic growth of mature global economies in many industries has come from the growth of the internet, in one way or another. Much of the optimism about future economic growth stems from its continued expansion. The problem is that much of that activity is paid for with revenue from digital ads, and the fate of many of the fastest growing and most valuable companies on earth, like Google and Facebook, are tied to ad revenue growth.

If partial announcement of the counts was not possible, which I have proven is not the case, how come Mousavi announcement of his success is possible even before that and from the same Interior Ministry. Why nobody said that it was Mousavi who want to rig the results in his favor by such an early claim of victory quoting unknown officials. A double standard indeed! If count was not possible then it was not for all the candidates and not for Ahmadinejad only. I would like to add one more fact here. It’s the same arch-conservative Interior ministry who declared Muhammad Khatami, a more popular and liberal, winner in the past, not once but twice. And Khatami didn’t have the stigma of working as a Prime Minster under the more radical leadership of Imam Khomeini, what Mousavi had from the perspective from liberal camp. Here if we check the results of that 1997 and 2001 elections, we would found the Khatami won with even higher percentage of lead i.e. 70% and 78% respectively and at both time the turnout was over 80%.

It would be of interest if I quote here what Muhammad Khatami said after winning the second consecutive elections: “Every ballot in the box is a vote for an Islamic system of government here”. Someone was saying that the larger turnout is for change but if the rhetoric is true why there was such a higher turnout in the second term of Khatami. No! Its about popularity as well. And it is almost same the case with the elections in 2005 when Ahmadinejad gave the surprise with winning the elections against a most powerful candidate, Hashemi Rafsanjani. Ahmadinejad got more than 17 million votes though voter turnout was just 48% compared to 85% this time. It make the lead in this term more realistic and sync with previous results. It is the reason that John Stremalu, Vice President for Peace Programs at the Carter Center, admitted that fast announcement is not necessarily proof of rigging. The guy has monitored 75 elections over the past two decades. And keep in mind that Iran does not have any history of rigged elections since revolution.

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