For over ten years, the agency business has been the online advertising industry’s lapdog – irresponsibly exaggerating the effectiveness of social media marketing; camouflaging the abominable results of display advertising; and glossing over the fraud and corruption that have contaminated the web.
The web arrived just in time for agencies. Agency creative abilities were on the wane. Clients were questioning their strategic abilities. Consolidation had made them big, slow corporate behemoths. Margins were shrinking.
They needed something new and exciting to sell. The web was a godsend.
But the era of digi-cluelessness may be coming to an abrupt end. According to industry sources, over $13 billion in media billings are in review right now -- an unprecedented avalanche of client dissatisfaction.
According to Brian Wieser, chief analyst at Pivotal Group,
“...the reviews announced in the last eight weeks alone amounts to $13 billion in annual media spending. This approaches amounts that might be awarded in a typical full year”And one can't help but think that the ad industry's irresponsible pimping for the online industry is a contributing factor.
First, there's the kickback...oops, I mean "rebate"...scandal.
Clients who've been asleep at the wheel for years are finding out that agencies have been buying online inventory with their money and passing the "rebates" on to themselves.
Then there's the issue of incompetence and/or fraud...oops, I mean "viewability"...in which 56% of online ads paid for by advertisers are never seen by a living human.
Then there's click fraud, and audience fraud...
The web is a cesspool of corruption and incompetence. Nobody knows what they're buying. Nobody knows what they're paying. Nobody knows what they're getting.
Agencies turned a blind eye. They bet big on it and have been fat and happy. But it could be that the winds are changing.
Is all this sudden review activity connected to the fraud, corruption, and mismanagement of online ad budgets?
Well, I can’t prove it, but let’s just say I don’t believe in coincidences.