In The Headlights: June 12, 2019 Issue

In The Headlights

We’ve talked in the past about when automation isn’t always the right answer, around cost-benefit analysis. There’s another aspect that we haven’t addressed because of an assumption that I’ve seen become more and more unsound: that marketers know what they’re doing with automation.

This past week, LinkedIn rolled out arguably one of the most annoying features yet: the ability for people to send connection requests from companies. You may have seen these in your “My Network” tab: So and so invites you to like this company page. As soon as it was rolled out, the various bot-makers announced the addition to their software: “Invite all your first degree connections to like your page, 100 at a time!”

This is, by the way, expressly prohibited by LinkedIn’s Terms of Service, but based on my LinkedIn inbox, no one’s paying much attention to those rules.

Also this past week, I got connection requests that read like this:

Hi Christopher, always nice to connect with other gym owners!


_Hi Christopher,

I’ve been following your content here in LinkedIn, and I’m impressed thanks for sharing. I’d love to hear more about your work – Let’s connect on LinkedIn. Allow me to ask you a question: What is your biggest challenge in supply chain management?

many thanks in advance_

Whoever’s set up the bots for these marketers has no idea how targeting and automation work. Their targeting leaves a little something to be desired. (for the record, I do not own a gym, nor do I know much about SCM)

Did automation fail these marketers? Maybe. They failed to know anything about automation or worse, outsourced it to someone else who knows even less, or doesn’t care about accuracy. No matter how you slice it, automation is making these marketers and their associated companies look incompetent at best.

Automation is a methodology, in the same way that deep-frying is a methodology. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you may be setting yourself up to get burned. Do it well, or not at all.

The Bright Idea

This week’s Bright Idea is all about Instagram engagement. Back in the early part of this year, we put together a list of 3,637 Instagram Brand accounts to see how they performed. Well, we went back and checked in on engagement rates since then. If it feels like engagement has been dropping since early May… it has! How much has it dropped? About 20% in the last 45 days:

Instagram Engagement

Want to see the full-size version? Join our free Slack group, Analytics for Marketers, and grab the full chart showing 2019 year to date.

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