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!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

To DMP or not to DMP?

There are plenty of brands that can benefit from plugging into a data management platform. But should you engage an agency to run one or bring it in-house?

Ben Willee and Richard Taylor

Spinach Advertising

Innovations in retail will bring creative and technology closer than ever

While approaching a customer in a shop and asking what you can help them with is Retail 101, how many of us actually enjoy being approached? Generally, you have to give the forced, fake smile and say, “Just browsing, thanks,” while screaming on the inside, “just leave me alone!” Maybe it’s just me?

Jason Dooris

CEO and founder, Atomic 212

There’s a brand in my digital soup

Not a day passes by in the life of business executives where digital innovation or the prospect of disruption is not front of mind. This in turn, drives an unrelenting flow of questioning, discussion and strategy papers.

Jean-Luc Ambrosi

Author, marketer

I need to be reborn before i can grow up & become a contestent.

Kaye Peterkin

Channel Nine's content now streamed digitally on 9Now

Read more

I hope The Block, will continue for many many more seasons.When i die, & grow up, I want yo come back as a contestent.

Kaye Peterkin

Channel Nine's content now streamed digitally on 9Now

Read more

Sounds a bit confusing, but also like there're quite a few benefits. So, it's a good idea to link it with crm and marketing automation? D...

Kirsten

To DMP or not to DMP? - Marketing automation - CMO Australia

Read more

cc

Marjorie Campbell

Talk to me, Facebook! Social net buys speech recognition company

Read more

This would have the be the worst company to ever use. They never get back to you, they over promise and under deliver and when you questi...

Samantha Colbert

Aussie entrepreneur Nick Bell sells WME Group to Melbourne IT

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in