The Shift to Accountable Marketing
The adtech Industry is poised to clear a significant hurdle in 2017: For the first time, money spent on digital advertising will surpass ad spending on television, which for decades has been the undisputed heavyweight champion of marketing media.
According to a forecast by eMarketer, a media research firm, next year TV spending will total $72 billion; digital is expected to generate $77 billion. Television remains brands’ most powerful storytelling medium, of course, but the precise measurability digital offers will continue to drive ad dollars in the direction of accountability.
Companies’ finance and operations executives are, frankly, tired of hearing about “extraordinarily successful” ad campaigns from their internal marketing teams, given that they have scant insight into what tangible effects these efforts are having. The opacity is compounded further by the enormous but nebulous engagement numbers generated by brands’ social-media platforms: The numbers have become so large that they’ve lost all meaning.
Does it matter, for example, if a campaign delivers 50 million “engagements” over a single weekend if it isn’t clear how that translates to actual customer acquisition? AdTech is now at a stage of its evolution in which every data point can and should be measured. No more fuzzy, unfalsifiable claims about a campaign’s wild success; today’s marketers have no choice but to justify every decision (and every penny they spend) with a clear demonstration of how the relevant numbers affect key business metrics. They must be able to articulate, with great specificity, a given undertaking’s return on investment — or, in marketing parlance, “Return On Ad Spend,” or ROAS.
This is not to say that every campaign should be hostage solely to customer-acquisition numbers. On the contrary, the smartest companies encourage their marketing teams to be bold, take risks — and relentlessly test the efficacy of various approaches. Indeed, that should be baked into the job description: We place an immense premium on continuous learning in order to stay relevant in the high-churn, high-velocity world of AdTech. Do you?
When Plush Digital assembles a media plan, we always make room in the budget for research and development, which is not held to the same profitability standard as items in the core budget. This structure encourages experimentation and allows for the discovery of effective new channels and partners that eventually become part of the core system — an investment in a more profitable future, in other words. But all this fieldwork must be smartly planned.
The dollar figures don’t lie: AdTech is increasingly the most important part of many brands’ marketing outreach. The industry is unquestionably labyrinthine, to be sure — and Plush Digital is best equipped to be your guide through the maze.
Posted on 16.9.2016
by Neil Bar-or