Skip to content
Opinion
Lionel Laurent

Meta’s Facebook Algos Are Losing Ground to Europe’s Mad Men

Social media’s grip on advertising dollars is loosening, and a weak economy isn’t the only reason.

In the advertising industry, billboards are back in fashion.

In the advertising industry, billboards are back in fashion.

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

The economy is weakening, and so is demand for advertising — at least, that’s how Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc. justified its first-ever quarterly decline in revenue last week. Social-media rivals Snap Inc. and Twitter Inc. echoed the gloom, worsening this year’s share-price slump in the sector.

Strange, then, that some of advertising’s more old-school players in Europe, from “Mad Men”-style agencies to billboard operators, are reporting a more upbeat experience. It suggests there are deeper shifts happening in tech and media after Covid-19 and the Ukraine war — and that the “Math Men,” as author Ken Auletta styled them, don’t have all the answers.