May 30, 2013

Marketing Is A Mystery, Not A Puzzle

I was listening to the BeanCast the other day. The BeanCast is a podcast (yes, they still have them) produced by my friend Bob Knorpp that intelligently examines issues related to marketing, particularly of the digital variety.

The show had some very smart people on it and they were discussing the effect that "big data" might have on the job of the CMO.

All the experts seemed to agree that most CMOs have no idea what to do with the "small data" they already have, and that adding to this pile of crap would just confuse them more and distract them from their primary job, which is...who the hell knows?...torturing agencies?  (Okay, they didn't say that.)

The discussion got me thinking about something I wrote 6 years ago. It was written for my first book, The Ad Contrarian and then, ahem, re-purposed for this blog. Today I'm going to re-re-purpose it. I think that's called leveraging your assets.

Although it was written long before anyone heard of big data, it anticipated some of the issues that big data is going to present.

The piece was about Gregory Treverton. Treverton was a national security expert who distinguished between two kinds of problems: puzzles and mysteries.

Puzzles, he said, are problems for which we do not have enough information. Like a crossword puzzle.

Mysteries are problems for which we have plenty of information, but no proper analysis. Like a murder mystery.

The advertising and marketing industries always treat their problems as puzzles and never treat them as mysteries. They always think they if they have just a little more information they can solve the problem. This is the delusion that the "big data" frenzy is built on.

I wrote...
...most companies have stacks of research and reams of data about their customers and about their industry. This mountain of existing information is almost never consulted.

In my entire career, I have never seen a marketing problem treated as a mystery. I have never once heard a marketing officer say, “You know, we have all this research we’ve done over the years and all this data... Before we do more... I want someone to go through this stuff and tell me what it means.”
Instead, they always want more info.

Treating a marketing problem as a mystery has huge potential, but we never do it because synthesizing worthwhile insights is too hard. Treating it as a puzzle has much less upside, but we do it all the time because gathering data is easy.

There are going to be a few companies that will get this right. But the sad truth is that an overwhelming number of companies already have more data than they can make sense of.

Which is just another way of saying that the hard part of solving marketing problems is not collecting data. The hard part is figuring out what the hell it means.

May 29, 2013

The Dull-Witted Stepchild Of Marketing

Yesterday's post about the need to rid our industry of the people who are destroying it --  Martin Sorrell and his ilk -- generated an extraordinary response among the readers of this blog.

Strangely, it also generated an unexpected response in me. The more I thought about it, the angrier I became. I am not a callow idealist who thinks the advertising industry was ever charming or amiable. But we did have our virtues.

We tried to be creative. We weren't focused solely on money. We weren't as willing to shut up and go to our room.

Sadly, we have become the dull-witted stepchild of the marketing industry. We are the dummies who have to be dragged along. We are the dimwits who "don't get it."

Advertising leadership has been stolen away from us and given to data people and tech people and accountants and god knows who else. And all we can do is stand there and watch our stature diminish.

Our industry has been hijacked by dull men in grey suits. They are the leaders. We are the stragglers. When they say make a banner, we say how big?

It doesn't have to be like this. There are still great agencies who do great work. But they are being swamped by the tsunami of consolidation and homogenization.

The influence of huge organizations is always the same: People start to talk alike, then they start to act alike, then they start to think alike.

This is not healthy for the ad business nor is it healthy for the people who work in it.

We are going through a period that is dangerous for our society and dangerous for democracy. The tide of corporatization and conglomeratization is leading to the concentration of too much power in the hands of too few people.

The ad industry is just a microcosm of this. But, sadly, it is the microcosm we have to live in every day.

May 28, 2013

Time For Sorrell To Go

There is a small group of men who have ruined the advertising industry.

They have made it leaner and meaner. They have made it more efficient. They have made it more productive. They have squeezed all the fat out of it. They have also squeezed all the life out of it.

They have replaced ideas with data. They have replaced value with efficiency.

They are accountants and investors and financial wise guys. The one thing they are not is advertising people.

Advertising was once an industry of craftsmen and craftswomen. Industrious people would start their own agencies. There were dozens of independent, entrepreneurial agencies in every major city. The largest agency in the U.S. had a 1.5% share of market. Today four giant globalized monstrosities control over 70% of U.S. advertising.

The advertising business has been consolidated into submission. As Dave Trott says, we have become an industry of bank managers.

Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, the world's largest advertising agency holding company, gave a talk in London recently.  According to website The Drum, he told the attendees...
'The medium, or media, has become "more important" than the message...'
This is the grotesque outlook of a publisher who thinks the paper is more important than the writing. It is the delusion of an impresario who thinks the instruments are more important than the music. It is the chirping of a philistine who thinks the paint is more valuable than the painting,

This is not acceptable. Sorrell and his clones who head up other agency holding companies need to find new businesses to rape. Their day is over. Their time has passed. They have been a massive, tragic failure. They have enriched themselves and impoverished an industry.

It’s time for these people to go.

May 24, 2013

Advice For Students And CEOs

Advice For Ad Students From The Wonderful Dave Trott
Dave's new book is called Predatory Thinking. You can find it here.

Advice For CEOs From The Not-So-Wonderful Me
Yesterday, Bob McDonald, CEO of the world's largest advertiser, P&G, lost his job.

Mr. CEO, before you get snowed by the digital miracle workers, take a deep breath and study the case of Mr. McDonald.

Here's a quote from McDonald from a while back...
"In the digital space, with things like Facebook and Google and others, we find that the return on investment of the advertising, when properly designed, when the big idea is there, can be much more efficient."
Yeah, right.
According to Business Insider, P&G cut their traditional advertising budget and put a lot of effort and energy into Facebook, and... 
"...while P&G cut U.S. spending 5% last year to $2.8 billion, its rivals stepped in to the vacuum."
The results were not pretty. They conclude...
"...McDonald steered P&G in the direction of "free" social and online media, only to haul it back to old-fashioned paid media when he didn't see the results he liked."
The "haul back" came a little too late.

An illustrious 30-year career at P&G ended dramatically and unpleasantly. There were certainly more factors than just advertising in Mr. McDonald's demise, but chasing the elusive digital rainbow sure didn't help.

May 23, 2013

Please Don't Use That Word

There is a universe that a certain kind of digital marketing bonehead comes from that has a language of its own. It's a horrible language. It is hugely annoying, but it is unrelenting and it seems to be spreading.

It gives us compound words and neologisms that must seem terribly clever to illiterate nitwits, but make anyone with a sense of propriety want to commit hideous acts of violence. Some of the "words" it has given us are...
These almost-words are just cute enough that they must make these vapid dullards people feel very clever and creative.

Well, get ready. I just heard a new one -- mocial.

No, I'm not kidding. In case you don't work at a second-rate digital agency and don't know what mocial is, it is apparently the combination of mobile and social.

Or moron and atrocial.

From what I hear, mocial is ready to explode all over the digital ecosystem. Be careful not to get any on your pants.

Mocial gives me nausarrhea.

My friend Jason Headley writes and directs great little movies. Here's one he just made that is hilarious.

May 22, 2013

The Taxman Cometh

Since the stupidity of the I.R.S. is all over the news, I thought I'd weigh in with my own I.R.S. story.

This probably means they'll come to my house in the middle of the night and drag me off. But, as I'm sure you know, my dedication to my readers is more important than my freedom.

So it's about 4 or 5 years ago and the I.R.S. decides to audit my agency. They came into the agency and went through every piece of paper and every email and every memo and every invoice and every leftover cranberry bagel in the joint. As the majority shareholder, they also demanded my personal tax returns for the previous year.

We had the best CFO in the history of the world. Seriously. After going over everything, we came out of this inquisition 100% clean and lovely.

So they packed up their calculators and their microscopes and went home.

A week later I get a phone call...
THEM: Mr. Hoffman, during our audit I noticed that you had sold some of your shares in Hoffman/Lewis back to the company.

ME: That's correct.

THEM: I need to confirm that you paid proper taxes on the sale of your shares.

ME: Okay, well you have my tax retu....

THEM: So I need your tax returns for last year.

ME: You have my tax returns for last year. I gave them to you during the audit.

THEM: Yes, but they are in someone else's office.

ME: Excuse me?

THEM: They are in another office so I need for you to send me another copy of your tax returns.

ME: Wait a second. May I suggest something? What if you call down to the other office and get them?

THEM: To get your file from the other office to my office I have to apply for a file transfer and that will take about four months.

ME: WHAT? Four months to get a file from one office to another? I can send a refrigerator to Denmark over night...

THEM: Please send me another copy of your tax returns.

ME: I don't have another copy of my tax returns. You have my tax ...

THEM: No, I don't, Mr. Hoffman. It's in someone else's office. This will go a lot smoother if you cooperate with us.
I wish I could say I made this up, but you cannot make this shit up.
We posted something on our business website yesterday that's been very popular. If you're interested, it's called "Agencies Never Take Their Own Advice" and you can find it here.

May 20, 2013

Native Advertising: Traditional Advertising On Line

Last week, Mashable asked the question, "Is Native Advertising Just Another Term For Good Advertising?" The answer is no, not quite.

From what I can tell, native advertising is a horrible and misleading term that is being used to describe something that may actually turn out to be a good idea -- the application of traditional advertising principles to online advertising. Let me explain.

Online advertising was supposed to be interactive. It was supposed to rescue us from having to force people into looking at our ads. Consumers were going to want to interact with us, they were going to want to have conversations with marketers, they were going to want to have relationships with brands.

It was all fantasies and delusions based on naive interpretations of consumer behavior by people who had a whole lot of ideological commitment to the web, and very little experience with real world marketing.

Now we’ve learned that, for the most part, consumers want no part of interacting with online advertising. What we are calling "native advertising" is a recent reaction to this realization and to the very disappointing history of online advertising, particularly banner advertising.

Nobody seems quite sure what they mean by native advertising. But I think I know what they mean. They don't know it yet, but they mean using traditional advertising strategy on the web.

They mean that if you insert advertising into an appealing environment and you make the advertising entertaining or beautiful or interesting, you’re more likely to attract some attention from consumers. Which is the exact premise on which traditional advertising is built.

What is TV advertising about? It is about finding the most appealing programming and inserting into that programming messages that are either entertaining or interesting or beautiful.

Native advertising represents the marketing industry finally starting to grasp that consumers do not want to interact with banner ads, do not want to have conversations with brands, and do not want to have relationships with marketers.

It is still early days for this realization, and marketers don't quite know yet what they've realized. They think they have to trick people into seeing their advertising by pretending it's part of the content.

They don't yet understand that the effectiveness of "native advertising" -- just like all other forms of advertising --  is going to be proportional to how interesting, entertaining or beautiful they can make it.

Native advertising may represent the first stage of the marketing and advertising industry growing up and coming to terms with the fact that the best hope for online advertising is not pie-in-the-sky nonsense about conversations and relationships.

It is taking the traditional principles of interrupting and grabbing attention, and applying them to the web.

For more, check out the BeanCast podcast which I was on last night discussing this and other subjects.

May 16, 2013

Display: A House Of Cards

Despite its dismal track record, spending on display advertising keeps growing at an astonishing rate. Forrester Research is projecting a 17% compound annual growth over the next 5 years.

As far as I'm concerned, it's a house of cards. And if the house goes down, it will take a lot of advertising-supported online businesses with it.

Here are some reasons I believe display is a house of cards:
  • Interactivity has proven to be a joke. Nobody interacts with display advertising. Click through rates are abysmal and keep dropping.
  • The promise of precision targeting has also proven to be a farce. Facebook, the poster child for precision targeting, has click rate results so low that they refuse to publish them. If "precision targeting" can't deliver better results, what the hell is the point?
  • Ironically, despite its promise of pinpoint targeting, display is looking more and more like it's attracting the scattershot advertiser -- the tonnage direct marketer.
  • Even if pinpoint targeting was real, what difference does it make if nobody notices the ads? In most cases, the physical properties of display ads render them essentially invisible. Have you ever heard anyone discuss that awesome display ad they saw?
  • The amount of known click fraud is alarming. The amount of unknown click fraud is...unknown.
  • The amount of known website visitor fraud is also alarming. The amount of unknown website visitor fraud get the picture.
  • After 15 years, can you name a single significant consumer brand that has been built by display advertising? I didn't think so.
There are plenty of smart people in the advertising industry who know display has been a mess, but are keeping their mouths shut because there is too much at stake. Remember, prudent, intelligent people in the ad industry who were skeptical of the magical powers of "interactive" advertising were excoriated for years for being Luddite dinosaurs (who moi?)
    There are a few things that could destabilize display's house of cards.
    • A high profile fraud scandal
    • Widespread recognition of Facebook's display ad dysfunction
    • Mobile not living up to expectations
    • A major agency or research company throwing open the emperor's closet
    I'm not predicting that display's house of cards is going to collapse. It is too well entrenched for that. But if it started to follow the downward track of print advertising, I wouldn't be shocked.

    Be sure to see my piece today at Digiday on banner advertising.

    May 15, 2013

    How Dumb People Become Successful

    After a few years in the business world, something occurred to me. I realized that the majority of the people I met in business were astonishingly stupid.

    Years later I was sitting around a bar with a couple of my agency colleagues. We had won a very important piece of business from a world class client. We were working with the very top people at the client and we were  astounded by their shallowness.

    A few drinks into the evening one of my colleagues turned to me and said, "I keep thinking that some day we'll meet the smart ones."

    At that moment I recalled a conversation I had had years earlier. A friend introduced me to a business concept he called "achieving orbit."

    With enough energy, a satellite will escape the gravitational pull of earth and will achieve orbit. Once it achieves orbit, it operates on its own. It will circle under its own power for years. And the only way to knock it down is to get in its way.

    Businesses are like this, too, he claimed. After a certain period of success, they can achieve orbit and stay successful without much added energy.

    Many companies are powered by products or services initiated years or even decades ago. And barring a horrible accident, they will stay in orbit. They persevere largely on inertia.

    That's why all the monkeys running around having meetings and writing memos really aren't doing that much harm. It's why clueless managers really can't do too much damage. It's why all the CEOs and COOs buzzing around in their golf carts usually aren't fatal.

    Of course, there are some industries, like technology, that need constant updating. But think about the market leaders in automobiles, food, soda, beer, fast food, dairy, snacks, candy, paper towels, toasters...for the most part, the market leaders today were the market leaders 30 years ago.

    From time to time there come along some people who are so stupid that they knock a successful company out of orbit. But mostly, orbiting companies consist of people running around in circles pretending to make contributions. As long as they don't mess with the color of the box, or build a 3-wheeler, or change the flavor to grape, they usually can't screw things up too badly.

    Businesses are successful in spite of all these monkeys, not because of them.

    May 13, 2013

    Mein Erster Blog Auf Deutsch

    Millennials or Gen Y or whatever nitwit cliche you want to use to describe people born between 1980 and 2000 are the current obsession of the marketing industry.

    I have a daughter right smack in the middle of this group. She is a lovely, wonderful, intelligent, well-educated, hard-working person. But she is... I guess the polite term would be "economically challenged."

    A good deal of what she owns and buys is subsidized by her beloved parents. She is not alone. The economic data for this group is, unfortunately, disheartening.

    As an example, people under the age of 34 buy only about 10% of all new cars. And the younger half of this cohort, 18-24, buy only 1% of new cars*. Facts, however, never seem to trump stupidity in the marketing industry.

    According to a piece in last Friday's New York Times entitled Trying To Be Hip And Edgy, Ads Become Offensive...
    "Some of the biggest names in marketing, including Ford Motor, General Motors, Hyundai Motor, Reebok and PepsiCo, have been forced recently to apologize to consumers who mounted loud public outcries against ads that hinged on subjects like race, rape and suicide."
    Why are advertisers getting into deep shit over this stuff?
    “It’s the pressure to create ‘viral’ advertising, the urge to get more views online, that leads people to push the envelope,” said Tor Myhren, president and chief creative officer at Grey New York. He added that another contributing factor was the focus on younger consumers. “There’s so much ‘How do we speak to millennials?’ in meetings,” he said.
    Here's what I want to know. Why do car makers -- three of the five marketers mentioned above -- even bother with millennials? 90% of the people who will buy new cars are not these people. Yet they remain the obsession of these boneheads -- I mean, marketing leaders.

    Let's give this some perspective.

    According to Gallup, about 10% of Americans speak German. When was the last time you were watching TV or surfing the web and you saw an ad in German? The logic of American car manufacturers targeting millennials is equivalent to McDonald's running ads in German.

    So why are auto marketers obsessed with 10% of their market to the detriment of 90%?

    Right. Because they are fucking idiots.

    *Several people have asked recently where my automotive data comes from. The answer is RL Polk.

    May 09, 2013

    Meryl Streep Wants To Be a Barista

    One of the enduring absurdities of the marketing and advertising industries is the old wives' tale that "people over 50 want to be like young people."

    Ask any brain-dead CMO of a car company why the people who inhabit his commercials are all young, when 18-24 year-olds buy 1% of all new cars, and you'll get some version of that idiocy.

    It's what passes for "strategic thinking" in the Golden Age of Marketing Brilliance.

    Yeah, I was having coffee with Jerry Seinfeld, Meryl Streep and Barack Obama the other day and they were telling me how much they aspire to be like the morons in Taco Bell and Coors Light commercials.

    I'm going to take this very slowly because I know it is difficult for marketing managers and creative directors to draw distinctions. Ready? Older people want to feel youthful. They do not like to feel old. comes the hard part so put on your thinking caps...they do not want to be like young people. Please read that again. It is an important distinction. They don't like to feel old, but they also don't want to be like you. Capeesh?

    The youth culture of yesteryear, that you're all so desperate to hang on to, is gone. Kaput. Aloha. Fuhgeddaboutit. It's over. Are people 18-49 still important to marketers? Of course they are. But they are no longer the beast. The beast is over 50.

    The youth bulge is gone. They've grown up. They still have all the money. They still buy more of everything. They still spend more than anyone. But they're over 50. And mostly, they hate your culture. They hate your imagery. They hate most of what you think is cool or hip. In fact, according to The New York Times, the "generation gap" is larger than it's been in 50 years.

    I'm sorry to tell you this, but your idea that "old people want to be like young people" is just plain old narcissism. Your obsession with pandering to 18-34 year-olds is decades out of date and is simply a reflection of the high regard that young people in the marketing and advertising industries have always had for themselves.

    It is your excuse for not taking the time or having the interest to learn what people over 50 -- who control about 75% of the financial assets, buy 60% of the new cars, and purchase 55% of consumer packaged goods -- are about.

    You need to learn how to talk to people over 50. It's that simple.

    You can start by making me a double latte. Low foam, please.

    May 08, 2013

    17 Mind-Blowing Facts About People Over 50

    This is the first video from my new company, Type A Group.

    To share this video, go here.


    Earlier today I posted a different version of this video. It was called "19 Mind-Blowing Facts...".

    Because the blogging industry has such a bad reputation for accuracy, I try to be very scrupulous about what I publish as "facts." I checked all my sources and I realized that I had lost the attribution for 2 of the facts. I searched all over my records and couldn't find them.

    I know they were correct, but without the sources, I didn't feel right about publishing them.

    So I took down the video, re-edited it without the facts in question, and re-posted. I know I now have bad links all over the damn place pointing to a video that is no longer there. But I'd rather be stupid than wrong.

    I will try to find the original sources for the facts and re-post the original "19" version. Sorry for being an idiot.

    May 07, 2013

    Where Are The Brands?

    Yesterday, Business Insider published a piece a wrote. I am reproducing it here today (with the correct title.)

    I went to the supermarket the other day. I walked up and down the aisles slowly. I noticed something. They have a lot of stuff.

    They have fresh stuff and canned stuff. They have packaged stuff and bottled stuff. They have new stuff and old stuff and expensive stuff and cheap stuff. They have stuff you eat and stuff you wear and stuff you peel and stuff you stuff.

    They have Philadelphia Cream Cheese, and Crest toothpaste. They have Minute Maid orange juice and Tide detergent. They have Oreo cookies and Neutragena soap. They have Skippy peanut butter and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. They have Yoplait yogurt and Hormel bacon. They have Pampers and Glad wrap. They have Dole pineapples and Coors beer.

    But there’s one thing they don’t have.

    They don’t have any brands that were built by online advertising. None. I couldn’t find one.

    No cream cheese or toothpaste. No orange juice or detergent. No cookies or soap. No peanut butter or ice cream or bacon or diapers or plastic wrap or pineapples or beer.

    I couldn’t find any brands that were built by banner advertising. Or on Facebook. Or blogs. Or podcasts. Or QR codes. Or even Google, for that matter. No mayonnaise that was successfully launched on Pinterest. No breakfast cereal that owes its life to Instagram. No yogurt from YouTube or toothpaste from Twitter.

    How can we explain this? Online advertising has been around for over 15 years. When TV was 15 years old as a major medium it had built hundreds of brands in dozens of categories. Or maybe it was thousands of brands in hundreds of categories.

    It’s not as if brands stopped appearing 15 years ago. There are now about 40,000 items in a typical supermarket, almost triple what there were in the early 90’s. In the year 2000 alone over 9,000 new food items were introduced. We have whole new industries. We’ve had the most explosive growth in consumer electronics and technology products the world has ever seen. But where are the major mainstream non-web-native brands that have been built by online advertising?

    Or is that not what online advertising is about? Is building brands too daunting a task for online advertising?

    Maybe banner ads and social media and “content” are just effective enough to get a customer to the website of an already established brand. Maybe they’re a nice way to keep in touch with people who already know you and like you.

    But maybe the heavy lifting of building a brand is too much to ask of online advertising.

    If not, where are they? Where are the web-built Crests and the Oreos? The Doles and the Tides and the Coors? The Pampers and the Skippys? Where is the next Heinz that Mr. Buffett is going to pay $23 billion for? I did a search and I couldn’t find them in the supermarket.

    Come to think of it, I skipped aisle 9. Maybe that’s where they are.

    May 06, 2013

    My New Gig

    Today I'm launching a new venture. It's called Type A Group.

    Type A is going to be an interesting company. It's not going to be an agency. Fortunately, I am in a position where I can work only on stuff that interests me. So Type A is going to  specialize in only three areas that I have a particular interest in:

    1. Consulting to independent agencies. I have had the good fortune to help build and sell two different independent shops with combined billings over $250 million. I have a fondness for the people with the guts and skill to run independent shops. It's getting harder all the time. I am hoping to be able to help indies in a few areas of their business:
    • revenue enhancement and profitability 
    • succession planning and value harvesting 
    • operations and management issues 
    • developing and integrating a digital practice 
    • differentiation and new business 
    • mergers and acquisitions 
    2. Turnaround Marketing. Most companies and brands won't need Turnaround Marketing. It is not for brands that are doing well. It is for brands and companies that are struggling.

    Turnaround Marketing is for organizations that have tried all the usual marketing strategies unsuccessfully and need a "contrarian" (sorry) vision of how to market their product or service.

    3. Fifty Plus. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know what an enormous opportunity people over 50 are for any marketer that can count and think straight. Unfortunately, there seem to be very few of these. I am going to be helping companies develop strategies for reaching "the most valuable generation in the history of marketing."

    My partner in Type A is Sharon Krinsky, who I worked with for 20 years at Hoffman/Lewis, and was president and chief creative at the agency. Sharon and I have assembled a really good group of associates and advisors who will be helping us and our clients with specific needs.

    To be honest here, I have no idea whether this thing is going to go anywhere or not, but it's a good time to do things I'm really interested in.

    You can find our website here. If any of our areas of specialization sound interesting to you, please contact me confidentially at The first meeting is always free.

    May 02, 2013

    Time To Clean Out The Stables

    Earlier this week I posted a piece called Online Advertisers Getting Hosed.

    In it, I discussed the alarming amount of fraud being perpetrated against naive and confused online advertisers.

    But there's more. Not only are online advertisers getting screwed by crooks, some of them are also getting screwed by their agencies.

    For those of you who are too busy having a life to follow the arcane goings-on of online media buying and selling, I'll try to make this simple. (Actually, I'm making it simple because I don't understand most of it myself. Trying to understand what these crooks are up to is like trying to understand what the hell a hedge fund manager does.)

    Anyway, it's like this. Some of the big agencies are both buying online media and selling it. If they were hookers, we'd say they're working both sides of the street. Except hookers have more integrity than these guys.

    They buy online ad space at one price and then sell it to their clients at another price. And guess what? The price they sell it at is higher than the price they buy it at.

    As far as I can tell, this is clearly a conflict of interest. But somehow the agencies have convinced some dumbass clients that this is perfectly okay. Here is the excuse they use:

    After they buy the online media, they "add value" by slicing and dicing it in different ways that make it more targeted, then they resell it to the client.

    This doesn't even pass the giggle test. First of all, their brilliant targeting can't even find human beings. As we discussed earlier this week, they're pissing away client money on bogus websites whose bullshit numbers are driven sky high by bots.

    And second, what do they think agencies are supposed to do with media? Isn't analyzing and optimizing media their fucking job? They want extra money for doing what they get paid to do in the first place?

    So here's the big question. Who's interest comes first? The buyer's (client's) interest in paying the lowest reasonable price? Or the seller's (agency's) interest in obtaining the highest reasonable price? It's got to be one or the other.

    Everything about online advertising is corrupt.

    The promises are corrupt. The data is corrupt. The suppliers are corrupt. And the buying and selling is corrupt.

    This industry is in desperate need of investigation.