I put that photo at the start because you’re going to need to relax before reading this. It’s the kind of thing that might make you a little bit angry.

When I first got into digital marketing I fell in love with one very important aspect of it:


Everything I did could be measured and I could point at the results. “Look boss, we spent $2 but earned $3 in revenue!”

Showing financial results from a campaign was absolutely amazing, as well as being a quick way to getting myself a nice little raise.

There’s something old school marketers have known about for years that us digital folks are still a bit behind on though:

CPA and Return on Ad Spend aren’t the only things that matter.

If they were, lets be honest, no one would ever run TV ads or bother with PR campaigns that just get you a bunch of bounced hits from people who never return.

Google helped us figure out that brand campaigns can be helpful, so we started doing that, but what about all that fancy offline stuff that costs insane amounts of money? Why bother with display? Did that social media stuff actually get us any kind of return?

The short answer is: you should be doing it, if you can afford it.

What? Why?

One word: attribution.

A few years ago a company called Adometry showed up. They told us that while our attribution models were useful (decay, time based, etc) they didn’t tell the whole story. They were quickly purchased by Google but the reasoning still stands:

Once you start attributing your results beyond the few basic models, you see that branding has a huge impact on your CPA, and in the end your ROAS.

Every single touch point the customer has with your company, including all those offline ones at the start of their journey (you know, months before they actually do a Google search to solve the problem) can help lower your cost per conversion.

Those TV ads get people to trust you enough to give you their money.

The scary part?

You can’t easily measure it. You can’t go all performance markety and start A/B testing your ads for branding value. You can’t change your bid on a TV channel and see if you can reduce it enough but still get a return of a lower CPA months down the line.

Right now we’ve barely gotten to the point of measuring the impact of TV ads for people visiting your site right away.

I can tell you of it’s importance. I have attribution reports and the like, I can see that years of branding have made a channel super cheap, but you have to figure it out for yourself.

That’s kind of the problem. You have to do it to see the results, and it takes a long time and lots of money combined with trust, things performance marketing does not gel with at all.

It’s kind of like travel. Travel is insanely rewarding. Seeing other cultures can really enrich your life but you can’t feel it unless you actually invest the time and money into it.

Sometimes you have to get humble and trust those oldschool offline marketers, they did have something right.

Written on November 13, 2017