The Business Part of Business

The Year of the Media Agency Failure

Among other, far worse things, 2016 was the year of the media agency failure.

The folks at Mashable point this out in a piece that I mostly agree with, here. And then, they show just how big a mess media and marketing have become. Try dealing with the banner taking up a chunk of your screen and then the full-screen advertising in this quick clip of what happens when you visit most stories at Mashable:

In spite of Mashable having become a visually-offensive mess, they make some great points.

And most important, agencies will have to adapt to survive. Meaning we’ll see lots of media agency failure.

In a world where design is all but dead, and agencies don’t understand what it is they actually sell, this should come as no surprise. Nevertheless, it’s painful not just for the failing media agency, but for the businesses that use them. And not just because finding new vendors is a giant pain in the behind.

We’re not going near the native advertising/fake news bullet; it speaks for itself. And personas, where you market to target groups you’ve defined “completely”, are a cute idea but ultimately limited in value. Further, third-party data is skewed—it’s there to support that party’s position. So for example, Facebook tells us that videos we run as ads are “seen” after three seconds because that’s the threshold after which we pay for them.

OK, fine; so what’s the threshold elsewhere?

The answers vary. Then they change, and change again. Your agency can’t really keep up, so the idea of media agency failure becomes a function of scaling back what they do.

Media Agency Failure

At which point your reason for using the agency pretty much goes away. Media Agency Failure happens because media agencies stop providing anything of real value—because they had to.

Fortunately, Mashable’s point #1 makes it so you may not need your media agency. Facebook and Google are the whole game.

Whatever else you think of them, the fact that Yahoo! couldn’t figure out what to do with a property as large as Tumblr speaks loudly. Media, pure and simple, is a volume game.

We examined search engine traffic for one particularly busy day here a few weeks ago. 96.2% of our traffic came from Google. Bing and Yahoo each accounted for 1.3%, with a few smaller engines delivering the remaining 1.2%. Considering that Google’s overall share of the search market is about 75%, it’s hard to argue for paying much attention to advertising through other search engines. Facebook delivers similar bang-for-the-buck in social media.

Of course, nothing’s ever that simple, and if you’re getting results you can accept elsewhere that’s great. But in 2017 with media agency failure happening at alarming rates you need to think about making your advertising buys part of a different process than media management.

Not sure where to place that particular business process? We can help.