Brands wasted $54m on digital ads in Q3, almost half on Facebook, audit claims

Brands wasted $54 million in digital advertising spend between July and September, almost half on Facebook, a study of marketing spend has claimed.

Analysis of 67 companies found the retail sector was the biggest culprit, investing $15 million on advertising that failed to work, according to auditing platform Prometheus.

Prometheus, launched in May by Melbourne-based digital agency Next & Co, said too many brands are simply investing in the wrong places.

The audit claimed $25 million was wasted on Facebook campaigns – just under half the total – followed by Google ($20 million), Bing ($ 8illion) and LinkedIn ($4 million). The wastage represented almost 40% of total digital ad spend, Prometheus claimed.

Of the sectors it studied, finance was second to retail in its failure to spend wisely, wasting $12.7 million. Meanwhile, real estate wasted $10.3 million, insurance $8 million, pharmaceuticals $4.8 million and education $2.7 million.

The media budgets of the brands audited ranged from $500,000 to $27 million, Prometheus reported.

Next & Co co-founder, John Vlasakakis, said brands are not harnessing the right platforms for their campaigns.

“These audits allow companies to find the spend that is not attributed to a conversion, and then look for opportunities to scale their media spend in areas that are working,” he said.

“Audits are all about providing brands with an immediate and long-term roadmap for performance and channel strategy – it allows them to really consider whether their current agency is delivering results and if not, find new avenues to pursue.”

John Vlasakakis

At the May launch, Next & Co said the auditing tool has inbuilt KPIs advertisers can select from, including leads, customer conversions, ROI and reach, with customers able to choose their targets across each metric.

The auditing tool then determines the exact wastage of their total annual digital spend in dollars and where that wastage is occurring campaign by campaign and on a creative level.

“We built Prometheus because internal marketing teams and agencies’ first port of call to improve the commercial objectives for the businesses they are working on is to spend more rather than improve the efficiency of current spends,” Vlasakakis said.


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