Does anyone believe ad products actually work?
Here’s my take on digital advertising after 10+ years in the industry and having worked at Google, Snap, and in the agency world. I’ve personally spent hundreds of millions of dollars throughout my career.
-Attribution is still absolute dog crap. No one knows how to properly attribute conversions to media channels. I’ve worked with many of the top attribution platforms (both FB, Google, and independent). The data is barely actionable.
-Many ad agencies call push channels “brand marketing” and use awareness/consideration lift as measurement because they can’t prove value to the advertiser using CPA/ROAS. I’ve yet to see an agency or brand scale new demand efficiently using ads. CPAs almost always come out too high for advertiser to continue to invest.
-The marketing funnel as we know it is a bit of a joke. Most ad products aren’t designed to target individual users sequentially.
-Pull channels are always efficient with low CPAs and high ROI. I’ve run dozens of tests including less sophisticated (on/off and geo) and more sophisticated (ghosting). For every dollar you invest in pull channels you’re lucky to get a few cents of incremental revenue back - those users were likely coming to your site anyway. If you have decent SEO (and as long as the space isn’t overly competitive) pull channels barely contribute anything.
-Pull channels are likely just an additional cost to what you’re paying to drive the demand in the first place. I.e. generate lead through YouTube at an inefficient CPA and then retarget to same user at an efficient CPA - you just paid twice for same user.
I watch agencies “make it work” all the time by blending ad spend. I.e. spend a little on push and most ad dollars on pull. Then give the client blended CPA/ROAS.
Push channels - YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, Snap, Yahoo, DoubleClick, GDN, Google non-brand search, Facebook, Instagram, Gmail
Pull channels - Google brand search, Bing, GDN retargeting, Google Shopping, Amazon display (the most atrocious attribution out there), Amazon search ads
Agencies I’ve worked with through my career: OMD, AKQA, Fetch, Vayner, Essence, various small shops
Some of these channels are both push and pull, I realize this. This is my best effort to bucket them.
These are generalizations but hold true for 98% of advertisers with the exception of app install with high AOV and high margin/low price point impulse retail products.