The Downside of Digital Word of Mouth and the Pursuit of Media Quality: How Social Sharing Is Disrupting Digital Advertising Models and Metrics

Gian M. Fulgoni and Andrew Lipsman

comScore, Inc.

INTRODUCTION

When the mobile Internet was still in its early growth phase, around 2012, social-networking usage shifted quickly in its direction. What followed was an unprecedented boom in viral content that shook the digital world.

Social media became so powerful a medium for spreading content and ideas that it was inevitable there eventually would be attempts to exploit it. Within a very short time, the environment became riddled with various forms of “digital pollution”—from spam to fraud and “fake news”— the prevalence of which has been accelerated and exacerbated by the rise of programmatic advertising.