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📈Maximizing ROI: A Deep Dive into Ad Waste Reduction

Standing out and thriving in a saturated market means making every dollar count and overcoming the challenge of ad waste, which looms large for advertisers, agencies, and CFOs alike. The solution of reducing ad waste, and maximizing ROI may seem simple, but many are turning to simply reducing their spend. A CMO survey conducted by Fuqua school of business, Deloitte and the American Marketing Association found that marketing spend has seen a 72% drop in 2023, an indication that driving measurable revenue growth while spending less is the new CMO mandate.

But in a separate study conducted in collaboration between CMO Council and InMarket, startling insights into the disparities in ad waste and the immense potential for improvement were revealed.

🤔 The Ad Waste Dilemma

"Do you know what percentage of your media is wasted?" This simple question underscores a pervasive challenge in the advertising industry. In the words of marketing pioneer John Wanamaker, "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don't know which half." A dilemma that continues to plague marketers, this issue gains new urgency in today's business environment, where the call to do more with less is ever-present.

Advertisers, now more than ever, seek ways to optimize their advertising spend and turn every impression into meaningful results. Advertisers need their media partners and analytics providers to be devoted stewards of their budgets.

🫡The Role of Attribution

The study’s findings underscore the need for marketers to embrace attribution as a means of driving measurable revenue growth. CMOs are expected to align closely with CFOs to demonstrate tangible returns from their marketing budgets.

Attribution becomes the linchpin for marketers seeking to prove the efficacy of their media and advertising strategies. Measuring the impact of media not just on total purchases but on incremental visits and purchases that wouldn't have occurred without exposure to an advertising impression. This becomes a key metric for optimizing advertising performance.

Another CMO Council report, “Optimizing Outcomes in Media Marketing,” finds that two-thirds of marketers say sales lift is the most meaningful metric for advertising performance. Some 85% say being able to receive a sales lift report from a publisher or media network is very important to their choice of channels. This explains the growing importance marketers are placing on attribution in developing their marketing and media strategies and plans. Allied Market Research forecasts that the global attribution software market will experience a strong 15.5% CAGR up to 2031, reaching $12.9 billion in market size.

🫣Ad Performance Disparities: Data-driven advertisers vs Laggards

In the study, InMarket segregated advertisers into quintiles to investigate media waste and the In the study, InMarket segregated advertisers into quintiles to investigate media waste and the results are stark—those in the bottom quintile wasted an average of 66% of impressions, while the top performers in the top three quintiles kept waste below 10%.

According to the study, high-performing brand advertisers that continuously optimize campaigns, based on rigorous analytics that identify what campaign dimensions are driving increased sales, are realizing as much as a 11x improvement in advertising performance over laggards who use real-time, in-flight optimization only sporadically or superficially.

🗝️Preventing Ad Waste: Key Basics Before Attribution

  1. Define your audience and location: Targeting the right audience is crucial for any advertising campaign. By leveraging data on age, gender, income, job title, and location, advertisers can create a more precise target audience. Developing buyer personas further refines this targeting, ensuring that ads reach the most relevant audience.

  2. Clean up your retargeting strategy: Retargeting allows advertisers to reconnect with potential customers who have visited their websites. Cleaning up and optimizing retargeting strategies can prevent ad waste by reminding visitors about products or services they showed interest in but did not purchase.

  3. Personalize your ads: Personalization is a key element in preventing ad waste. Advertisers can use customer data to create personalized content that resonates with the interests of their target audience. There are various platforms that can help collect data to refine and personalize ad content.

The future of media measurement lies in actively learning and improving, aligning key performance indicators with metrics that truly matter.

The question is posed to marketers: When the opportunity to eliminate ad waste presents itself, will your brand be a leader or a laggard?

The answer lies in embracing the attribution imperative and navigating the path to a brighter media future.

APEX 's exclusive partnerships in Canada with InMarket gives access to their Lift Conversion Index® (LCI) platform, which helps drive the value of working with us to get to this insightful data and stand at the forefront of the ad waste reduction movement.


Jal Sonpal is a brand and partnerships management strategist contributing to the marketing efforts at Apex Mobile Media. He has worked with major brands across the globe, primarily in sports and is a Master of Marketing graduate from the coveted Schulich School of Business in Toronto.



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