Discover more from Hot Takes
You are not an “average” user
Asking "does anyone still post here" to products with 100s of millions of users illustrates deeply held personal biases. We must shed them...
It is a false assumption to think everyone is like you. That they use technology the same way, spend time on the same networks, use the same devices, watch the same shows, listen to the same podcasts, enjoy the same music. To take this perspective will greatly hurt any of your marketing efforts. It’s also tempting to break everything down to things like “left vs right” but this is amoeba-brained thinking, and the tribalism presented by politicians and media may get short-term, low value results — but any data obtained is likely not an accurate representation of reality. Nuance is real.
Still, I see examples of this thinking time and time again. “Oh, everyone is on X network because I use it every day, so we should market there.” Or, “I decided to stop using Y, so it’s clearly dead - is anyone still on here (product with hundreds of millions of users)?” Another favorite: “no one clicks ads because I don’t click ads.” All are false assumptions, of course. Probably the worst of which are from people who believe if something isn’t a billion+ users, it doesn’t matter. They’ve become lost in their thinking due to a certain mindset, and because of this missed great opportunities of where real influence happens chasing large numbers for numbers sake or what media tells them matters. A diverse amount of popular networks exist (whether you use them or not) and in fact, well crafted ads following the right strategy create positive ROI for companies every day. Plenty of Apple-only apps that died perhaps could have won if their teams weren’t trapped in the Cupertino bubble and realized Android was bigger, and those devices have been feature-parity for a long time with sophisticated users willing to spend. Many such cases.
There is a danger in thinking you are the “average” user or that your use of technology represents everyone else’s. The only way to truly understand the situation for your brand or startup is to dig into data, get outside bubbles, shed biases and test assumptions. Web personalities or media can pontificate all they like, but if you want to understand reality you are going to need to do some work and ignore the easy answers. My friend Sean Byrnes describes the difference between these two things in his latest Substack post:
It might be a fact if… You have real data.
It might be a belief if… You have a very strong feeling about something that you can’t describe.
When you do dig in and find the answers, without network, device, ad type, sunk cost or personal belief bias: realize it is not a 1 or 2 thing world, but perhaps a 5 or even 10 thing: so you’re going to need to ship for multiple platforms, devices, languages as well as be active on many networks (at least to ‘show up’ and signal to users you are active and a legitimate entity). Maybe not today, but you will. This is the nature of the modern digital landscape and the new norm means fluency across many specializations. Don’t panic: there are efficiencies and processes you can setup here, it’s very workable.
So yes, do one or two things best, but don’t wholesale ignore the rest. The danger here is to lose out on new users or momentum because you don’t present an option for them. You’re stuck thinking everyone is ‘like you,’ of course the average user representation in your mind. I dislike LinkedIn and have a clear bias against it, for example, but using it professionally has actually shown value. Personally, as a user, I prefer YouTube for podcasts due to the superior subscription options. So if a podcast has no video or isn’t at least publishing audio there (you can do this without video) it likely doesn’t exist to me. These are two examples to illustrate why it’s important to shed bias on both sides of the trade, you get the idea.
Just remember, you are likely not an “average” user, it is so limiting to think everyone is like you. Perhaps no one is.
Hot Takes is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.