Bob Garfield

2 industry terms that need to die

The marketing industry is full of meaningless buzzwords, and sometimes good terms become outdated over time. Here are the worst offenders.


Using the word "native" is OK if you're a single site or publisher, but using that term industry wide is dangerous and meaningless. People don't just have one digital expression. Their content consumption touches multiple publications in one day. As an industry, the word "native" has been used to describe a site experience that feels native and natural to the tone of the publication. But then, marketers want it to scale, and something that is niche might not scale. Marketers need to come up with a word to replace "native" that encompasses their concerns. Publications and marketers have very different objectives, and it's time they both stop sharing that word.


Marketers are obsessed with "likes." Entire marketing careers are spent trying to boost a brand's popularity on social media, and "likes," "followers," and "fans" are critical to a social media manager's goals. However, this is soft currency. The truth is, "likes" don't really mean anything anymore. Consumers have oversubscribed, over-liked, over-followed, and over-pinned. To the average person on the web, hitting the "like" button is just another click, with no real thought behind it. So what metric can we look toward for a true representation of consumer engagement on social? "Shares" are actually the closest thing we have to dissecting the motive behind a social activity. People who share have generally spent more time reviewing and digesting the material, and they want to spread it to their friends because it's become meaningful to them. Marketers should replace "likes" with "shares" as a true metric for social success.

iMedia speaks with AOL's digital prophet David Shing at ThinkLA's Trends Breakfast about why these two industry terms should be removed from our mainstream marketing vocabulary.

Click here to subscribe to the iMedia YouTube Channel.

"A little boy with a weapon on a black background" image via Shutterstock.