Perhaps thinking that 88% of digital ad clicks are fraudulent is an exaggeration. And perhaps it is true that digital ads are so cheap that at the end of the day ad fraud is not a big issue.

But at some point, as marketers, we will have to acknowledge the big hallucination we are living through.

Influencers can buy fake followers by the truckload — roughly 20% of them are fake. Approximately 40% of Donald Trump’s followers are likely bots. Social media platforms are rife with cats and bots: Facebook admits to shutting down billions of fake accounts on its platform every year. Even app store installs are fake. Bots/click-farmers download 1 in 5 iOS apps. On the Android platform it’s 1 in 4.

Scott Galloway, here

Might this be one of the reasons why CMO tenure is at the lowest in more than a decade?

And when is the last time you have had a digital ad ignite your buying process?

No customer

Beyond the headline below, there is a committee.

There is marketing with an idea. There is sales with a preferred way to tell about the product. There is the executive team with their years of tenure and the history of the organisation. There is product with a use case, and product marketing with the results of market research.

And of course, there is no customer.

Your choice

Facebook is aware that its tools have damaging effects on teenagers, particularly teenage girls. They also know that troll farms manage some of the most successful pages on their platforms.

Amazon regularly hires elderly people to work in their warehouses, asking them to work 10- to 12-hour shifts in challenging conditions. They keep them motivated by praising their work ethics and promising a social experience. Amazon also has the most dangerous warehouses in the US, with twice the rate of injuries of an average warehouse.

Of course, these are big companies, under a lot of scrutiny. But for you as an individual the question is: are you ok supporting that?

Both yes and no are legitimate answers.

Just make sure you act in accordance with your choice.

Does it matter?

In 2012, Google launched a brilliant campaign in view of SXSW.

Project Re:Brief wanted to give old school admen, creators of iconic ads (such as this, and this, and this), modern tools to see how their campaigns would look like on the web.

It is a wonderful idea, and the campaign got very good numbers. Google also made a documentary out of this project.

A few days after the launch, one of the people responsible for the campaign was presenting the social media results to the rest of the team. Their boss, perhaps a bit harshly, asked an important question (the full story can be heard here):

Does it matter?

The point is, Google can certainly spend time and resources tracking and reporting on things that do not have an impact on their mission, vision, numbers.

But can you?

Out of curiosity

To stop you from checking emails when you are not supposed to, think about the following.

Are you checking because you can take a meaningful action or out of curiosity?

If knowing the content of a mail now changes the way you act (compared to what you’d do if you would check at the appropriate time), that is a meaningful action.

In all honesty, there are very few cases where this is true.

Our opinion is not stronger if we share it now or tomorrow. Hearing some feedback is not going to make us change now, and probably it won’t tomorrow. Checking now if that email we have been waiting for has finally arrived is not going to give us a headstart on tomorrow’s work.

More often, it’s curiosity that drives us. It’s the dopamine hit we get from knowing something, even though it does not affect our possibility to do something about it. It’s like scrolling your social media timeline out of boredom.

We can train at keeping that impulse under control.