Push a button and change the world. Push a button and line your pockets seems to be more like it in the digital space. Recently, The Wall Street Journal, among others, discussed the troubling picture of digital advertising – it may not all be real. (Gasp!)
Digital advertising has become the new “How do you know” basket case of the advertising world. How do you know what you bought was placed? How do you know that what you bought reached the people you expected to reach? How do you know “they” did anything?
We have all kinds of data, data about data in fact. But, is it real? Does it mean anything? And, if it means anything, just what is that meaning and to whom?
Could it be that programmatic ad buying is like a land rush into a wasteland where nothing grows for the advertiser? The land that was promised to be so fertile was just a rocky, barren place? Dust is kicked up, but does anything really happen?
Or could it be that we should actually consider the consumers in the process of deciding where to put our ad dollars and not simply push buttons and delight over the data we collect?
If $72.1 billion dollars is spent, how do we know which half is actually working? We don’t! Just ask Dentsu or Facebook or Toyota or “your name goes here”.
The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) is asking that agencies and advertisers make their relationships as transparent as possible. Exactly how do you do that with a button push? You can’t. It takes people talking to people and analyzing numbers, not just reporting them, to do that.
I believe agencies are in the people business, not the technology business. The more we get “Happy Ended” into believing that everything will just be better for us if we just jump on the tech train, the further away from what we do well we will get.
No, computers and robots will never rule the world as long as the world needs humans to make meaning of it all. Clients of agencies need us to make meaning of ad noise or the newest and shiniest objects. They always have, and always will, unless we give into the ease of simply pushing a button.
Dr. Paul Carringer is an associate professor of marketing at Columbus State Community College, adjunct instructor of marketing at Franklin University, and the president of Caring Marketing Solutions, a full-service PR, advertising, and production company established 24 years ago and located in Gahanna, Ohio. You can contact Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org.