Who is eating your marketing budget? | MARKETING Magazine Asia

Who is eating your marketing budget?

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Well, not all of it has gone into the special Meat Stack sandwich at Subway.

Half, or if not more, of marketing budgets are now spent on digital, mostly using programmatic tools.

And however much I write about it, marketers have yet to see the truth from the lies when they invest in online media.

They buy into simplistic explanations like ROAS (Return On Advertising Spend) which are not definitive the way they are made out to be. It basically explains how, for example, an airline can calculate how much ticket sales they got due to people who clicked on a Google Search ad. But Google has no clue whether the guy watched a TV ad or saw a Facebook post from his friend before coming to Search to book the ticket.

Another falsehood marketers have been sold on is “last click attribution” which is a huge hogwash and highly debatable.

… Media specialists live off Facebook and Google and their various other tentacles. The bummer is the digital giants do not give kickbacks to the agencies to cover shortfalls in targets, plus the money is too small…

Recently, The NY Times ran a piece about how since the US elections FB has been struggling with the issue of misinformation vs money. It’s a very simple formula: the more lies, hate and misinformation their algorithms promote, the more money they make.

Fear is also a great motivator, galvaniser and is renewable.

Fear feeds off a chain reaction between advertisers, media owners (especially digital media) and media specialists or trading desks. No one wants to upset Google and Facebook as the duopoly reign supreme. We don’t talk about it, but fear drives this (sometimes reluctant) triumvirate.

Media specialists live off Facebook and Google and their various other tentacles. The bummer is the digital giants do not give kickbacks to the agencies to cover shortfalls in targets, plus the money is small. So the agencies dangle, rightfully, the fraud issue to keep the relationship on an even keel. I call this feeling as being “fraud with fear”.

… Digital giants have gamed the system (the one they set up) by using money to offset all their faults…

Google and Facebook fear the agencies but not as much as the agencies fear them. They fear marketers more, as the moolahs are there.

And what do marketers fear? That they are being taken for a ride.

This concern is addressed by racks of data dossiers that aim to justify ROI (to this day I can never imagine anyone going through them). If you can’t explain, confuse. If that doesn’t not work, then philosophise. Humans assimilate well articulated tales readily.

The final role of fear is to use it as an excuse for everything: “please charge me less” (so I can charge the client that “won’t pay” more); “deliver by this Saturday” (or I look for someone else who can, as they are knocking on my door daily) and “do not go directly to the client” (or I’ll have your head).

In October, Facebook saw a 22% increase in ad revenue, from US$17,383 million in 2019 to US$21,221 million, in the third quarter of 2020. This was despite the ad boycott FB faced earlier in the year, with major brands such as Microsoft, Lego, Danone, Mars, Volkswagen Group, Diageo, and Coca-Cola temporarily pausing their advertising on the platform.

Digital giants have gamed the system (the one they set up) by using money to offset all their faults.

Facebook is reimbursing advertisers after allegedly misreporting one of the measures of ad effectiveness over the course of a year. It said that its conversion lift tool encountered a glitch which impacted “thousands of ads” between August 2019 and 2020. According to the Wall Street Journal, in 2016 FB admitted that for two years, it “vastly overestimated” the average viewing time for video ads on its platform.

We live in an age of manipulation.

I can’t take beef in my Meat Stack sandwich so does that mean I double up on other meat I do not want?

Or do I ask Subway to put the money they saved from me back into their marketing budget?


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