Dr Sharp: Digital ad targeting has been oversold

Ehrenberg-Bass institute director also suggests marketers have rushed to digital advertising without understanding what they're buying and it's time for a rethink

Dr Byron Sharp
Dr Byron Sharp

The value of precision targeting in advertising has been massively oversold and there’s still a need for mass market campaigning, Dr Byron Sharp claims.

Speaking on the latest episode of the AANA’s Marketing Dividends program on Sky Business TV, the director of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute at the University of South Australia Business School took aim at the way digital marketers have narrowed their focus through personalisation, and pointed out the biggest brands in the world were built through reaching out to broader markets.

“The lure of precision targeting has been massively oversold,” Dr Sharp said. “Marketing science clearly states we need to reach all categories of buyers, and the value of targeting smaller segments is actually far less effective.

“The ability of these new media to even deliver on targeting is far less than what is promised.”

Dr Sharp also criticised the way digital giants such as YouTube, Facebook and Google have been evaluating their own effectiveness, noting that it’s the equivalent of a TV station running its own rating scheme.

“Marketers were originally sold the idea that in digital, there will be these fantastic trustworthy metrics,” he commented. “Digital was given a ‘get out of jail free card’ for too long.”

As an example, Dr Sharp noted the current backlash and boycott against YouTube for placing ads against inappropriate and extreme content. As well as suggesting it wasn’t as big an issue as was being made out, he again suggested the problem was that marketers have been motivated by money rather than brand safety.

“The problem with digital has been it’s fashionable, people have rushed like lemmings to the edge of the cliff and thrown huge amounts of money at something without fully knowing what they are buying,” he said.

The latest scandals should trigger a pulling back on digital, a flight to quality and demand for metrics that are trustworthy, Dr Sharp said.

“The current YouTube scandal we have at the moment, has given marketers permission to pull back and say ‘maybe we don’t know what we are buying here. Maybe we’re spending billions of dollars of shareholder money and maybe we should be more circumspect,” he added.

But for Dr Sharp, the key to winning over consumers is to get in front of consumers more often.

“The biggest mistake that marketers make is that they forget they’re in a battle for physical and mental availability,” he said. “Marketers think the primary issues holding their brands back are some sort of attitude problem or that their brand isn’t loved enough. In reality, consumers just aren’t thinking of the brand enough.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Conversations over a cuppa with CMO: Microsoft's Pip Arthur

​In this latest episode of our conversations over a cuppa with CMO, we catch up with the delightful Pip Arthur, Microsoft Australia's chief marketing officer and communications director, to talk about thinking differently, delivering on B2B connection in the crisis, brand purpose and marketing transformation.

More Videos

JP54,D2, D6, JetA1 EN590Dear Buyer/ Buyer mandate,We currently have Available FOB Rotterdam/Houston for JP54,D2, D6,JetA1 with good and w...

Collins Johnson

Oath to fully acquire Yahoo7 from Seven West Media

Read more

Great content and well explained. Everything you need to know about Digital Design, this article has got you covered. You may also check ...

Ryota Miyagi

Why the art of human-centred design has become a vital CX tool

Read more

Interested in virtual events? If you are looking for an amazing virtual booth, this is definitely worth checking https://virtualbooth.ad...

Cecille Pabon

Report: Covid effect sees digital events on the rise long-term

Read more

Thank you so much for sharing such an informative article. It’s really impressive.Click Here & Create Status and share with family

Sanwataram

Predictions: 14 digital marketing predictions for 2021

Read more

Nice!https://www.live-radio-onli...

OmiljeniRadio RadioStanice Uzi

Google+ and Blogger cozy up with new comment system

Read more

Blog Posts

A Brand for social justice

In 2020, brands did something they’d never done before: They spoke up about race.

Dipanjan Chatterjee and Xiaofeng Wang

VP and principal analyst and senior analyst, Forrester

Determining our Humanity

‘Business as unusual’ is a term my organisation has adopted to describe the professional aftermath of COVID-19 and the rest of the tragic events this year. Social distancing, perspex screens at counters and masks in all manner of situations have introduced us to a world we were never familiar with. But, as we keep being reminded, this is the new normal. This is the world we created. Yet we also have the opportunity to create something else.

Katja Forbes

Managing director of Designit, Australia and New Zealand

Should your business go back to the future?

In times of uncertainty, people gravitate towards the familiar. How can businesses capitalise on this to overcome the recessionary conditions brought on by COVID? Craig Flanders explains.

Craig Flanders

CEO, Spinach

Sign in