Despite digital’s promise, we’re still not delivering marketing everyone loves

With more marketing powers at our fingertips than ever before, why is the industry still not nailing it every time? MediaMath's Yun Yip provides some answers.

Ten years ago, I was working as a senior media planner, and there was a tremendous amount of excitement and optimism about the evolution of digital advertising.

It promised to be the first real-time medium for enabling live communication with consumers in a rich and interactive way. Most importantly, it was going to be the most measurable and accountable medium ever. It would cast aside the albatross of Wanamaker’s famous saying: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

If you fast forward to the present day, there’s undoubtedly been immense progress in the digital sector. Digital, far from being just a sliver of budgets, now accounts for approximately 50 percent of total ad spend in Australia—over three quarters of which is delivered programmatically. A CMO can, with little more than the touch of a button, alter how, where and when their brand appears to their audience.

And yet.

People still don’t like ads.

They are too annoying, too intrusive, too harassing (everyone has their own retargeting horror story about browsing for a pair of shoes, or curtains or a car, and then being haunted by ads for them for the next few months, whether you bought them or not). So, what can we do to make people love marketing (let’s call that a stretch goal) or, at best, accept it?

Consumer experience

Advances in technology mean it is now possible to enable one-to-one marketing relationships with consumers, just as we had imagined 10 years ago. Yet, the reality is that siloed data and disparate technology stacks are resulting in an, at best, annoyed, and, at worst, disengaged consumer base.

Part of the problem is that some marketers are failing to recognise that, from a consumer perspective, there are no longer any borders between media channels.

The customer has to be at the epicentre of all activity, and they need a unified experience that offers plenty of opportunities for cross-selling, up-selling, and boosting loyalty. Marketers must take into account their whole relationship with a customer, not an individual campaign, to drive retention and loyalty and capitalise on customer lifetime value.


If you’re measuring (or selling) your success via click-through rates, ask yourself if this really ties to your business goals. If your sales teams were measuring their success by the number of salesforce entries made and your engineering team were measuring their success by the number of lines of code committed, then you’d have serious concerns.

Why should marketing be any different? We need to start focusing on what the impact is for the client and abandon the metrics that may have made sense when digital ads were a novelty.

Instead, brands should be focusing on how engaged consumers are, how long they spend with the brand and how many pages they view. Going forward, it will also be increasingly important for brands to gain the ability to determine incremental performance – the consumer action that would not have taken place if the campaign hadn’t taken place.

There are several incremental methodologies and measurement solutions out there (although be wary of those that overcomplicate things – a basic rule of thumb is that you should be able to understand how the provider calculates it without a degree in algebra).


As we move towards enabling one-to-one communications at scale across multiple and diverse platforms, including digital, outdoor, TV, internet of things and more, proper multi-touch attribution moves from a nice-to-have to a must-have. If you’re still basing decisions on cookie or device-level data, you are likely missing out on ROI opportunities and wasting spend on channels, strategies and audiences that aren’t performing well. Plus, getting attribution right helps you maximise your learnings to make better business decisions over time.

Clearly, it is in my interest (and probably yours if you are on a media and marketing trade news site reading this) to make advertising more appealing to consumers.

It is, after all, how I earn my living.

Yet, it’s also important for most people out there, whether they consciously register it or not. Advertising isn’t so much the tail that wags the economy—it actually helps drive the productive capacity of the world.

Not to mention that it is a global micro currency that funds the news and content and entertainment most of us like to consume. Let’s work together to collectively deliver marketing that people love.

Yun Yip is MediaMath’s country manager for ANZ.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.