Procter & Gamble Reduces Digital Spend – Emphasizes Measurement


For those of you currently attending the ANA Media Conference in Florida, you probably had a chance to catch the presentation on Thursday, March 1st.  For those that didn’t, there was a fantastic article in the WSJ by Suzanne Vranica published on Thursday that outlined the most recent stance taken by Marc Pritchard of Procter & Gamble.

Marc has been very vocal about cleaning up the digital landscape and has continued to provide amazing insights and detail into the approach he and his team have taken thus far.  Some of the highlights from this most recent headline include:

  • Transparency gave them the visibility into what was really happening with their digital investments
  • The cut their digital spend by $200 million last year
  • Measurement and analytics showed them where they were getting less than desired performance
  • They are working to address concerns over Facebook and Google, similar to Unilever, which you can get more information on in Episode 2 of my podcast, Analytics Neat.
  • Focused on gaining more control over the dollars and avoiding the shiny objects

Obviously not every advertiser has the budget that P&G has.  However, there is a positive story here for any advertiser, regardless of how much you spend.  The fact is that, with the right level of governance and effort, transparency and measurement is attainable in digital.

There are several things that you must consider in order to head down this path:

  • Review your contracts and update them with the latest and greatest (i.e. the ANA contract template) to provide you the access and transparency that Marc mentions unlocked the info P&G needed to be smarter about their investments.
  • Conduct an analysis of your current state to better understand your investments, the existing tech stack being leveraged for digital buying, and any/all data being captured.
  • Review the strategy and planning to outline where points of weakness might be, particularly focused on the measurement framework and KPIs associated with determining what is working and what isn’t.
  • Redefine “success” for each of your campaign types and use those definitions to identify what data is needed in order to evaluate that success.
  • Implement Ad Verification (i.e. viewability, brand safety, etc.) across all of your digital investments.  Ensure you have direct access to the reporting in addition to vetting the implementation of the platform itself.
  • Set new standards with your media partners for all campaigns to ensure that the data is being used to take action and improve for future launches.
  • Implement analytics across all of your owned channels and use your tech stack to begin to connect the dots across the customer journey.  This won’t happen overnight but is something that you should evolve over time.

Overall, I think we are moving towards a point where advertisers will set a minimum viable product for digital investments and only invest in platforms and publishers who can meet those standards.  I know that this seems daunting, but the good news is that it will get easier over time as technology continues to evolve and as advertisers continue to demand a higher standard for digital.  The rising tide surely will lift all boats, but the time for action is now; if you can’t measure and monitor it, you probably shouldn’t invest in it.

Hopefully this has given you a bit to think about as you continue throughout the buying year.  We’ll save data modelling and targeting for another time. I’d be happy to chat further to provide more specific guidance for your particular situation as well.  Feel free to contact me directly or leave a comment below.

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