Did the ad work?


This post is by Seth Godin from Seth's Blog


Digital advertising has turned millions of people and organizations into not just the target of ads, but the advertisers as well.

But it doesn’t easily answer the obvious question: Did that ad work?

Long before digital ads were invented, my late friend Lester Wunderman coined the term “Direct Marketing.” This is measured, active advertising. Spend $10 on an ad and you’ll know by tomorrow if you made $20 or lost five.

Lester helped invent the American Express card and grew the Columbia Record Club, among other direct marketing heroics. The secret is simple: Measure an ad, and if it ‘works’, do it more.

And so, Google. Google makes billions of dollars selling direct marketing to organizations that aren’t being particularly brave, insightful or clever. They’re simply testing, measuring and repeating.

On the other hand, ads on podcasts or Twitter almost never measure well. They rarely seem to ‘work’ in the P&L sense, because they’re brand ads, not direct ads.

The purpose of a brand ad is to deliver a hard-to-measure but important feeling to the potential consumer. The brand ad tells a story, builds trust and most of all, helps a customer decide that this brand makes them feel good enough (hard to define) that they’ll pay extra for it.

If you try to measure brand ads, like quarks and other quantum phenomena, the benefits disappear. The very things you would do to make them measure better cause them to be pretty lousy brand ads.

Running brand ads in a (Read more...)