Leaf covers where the paid advertising industry was, where it’s at, and where it’s headed for D2C brands.
Digital marketing has become a tyranny of complexity, and the challenges are growing for D2C brands. Facebook versus Apple war, the death of third-party cookies, and EU/California privacy laws. A three-decade journey fuelled by technology, and the ubiquitous power and reach of the big four has led paid marketing into the entangled realm of software engineers and data scientists. The techies have landed and they mean to destroy you.
For right or wrong, signal data (pixel, cookies, tags, etc) is under attack, and the industry is scrambling for a solution. Most D2C businesses undervalue the importance of proper customer behaviour tracking, and the agency industry criminally under-serves this need. A lot of brands rely on web developers for conversion tracking. This is like asking your plumber to do your wiring; they can have a go but chances are your lights are going to blow. Why would you take the risk?
In-housing versus outsourced digital marketing has been a matter of debate for years. Recent trends have seen many brands, having previously in-housed, now looking to outsource (again) as their own internal teams strain under the growing technicalities and exponential pressures of a rapidly and constantly evolving industry.
The old analogy of the website and eCommerce funnel as a leaky bucket is now just mere nostalgia. A longing dream for the halcyon days of simplicity. Today’s analogy is more akin to a sieve, with data pouring through a mesh of poorly built data layers and dodgy conversion tracking. Who’s to blame for this? Your digital marketer? Web developer? Ecomm manager? The answer lies with the one looking at your funnel from end to end. If that’s “nobody”, then the blame lies squarely with you. The problem is that there usually isn’t any one person or even a team who can do all this. Look at your own digital marketing team/person and ask yourself if they understand how an entire eCommerce funnel functions? If they fully understand event tracking, cross-channel marketing strategy and attribution, and how it all works together to deliver efficient revenue growth for your business?
Brands have tried to compensate for this with apps and plugins that promise easy “plug and play” tracking and marketing solutions. However, paid advertising has become so complicated that even a simple change to a product page will break your tracking code, sending erroneous or no signal at all to your ads, leading to wasted ad spend, stalling campaigns, and drop in performance. All of this causes revenue loss, and slows down growth and scalability – it takes much longer to get things back on track than it does to break something.
Signal data is the foundation for generating profit from digital marketing, and is the single most important issue affecting online D2C businesses right now – knowing who your customers are and how they interact with your business from ad-click to purchase can make or break your success. But as you now know, tracking your customer journey has become an intricate web that can unravel on a simple website UI update.
So because of this, plug-and-play/set-and-forget tracking and marketing solutions are dead. They’re cheap toys for ambitious brands looking for serious eCommerce growth. You buy cheap, you buy twice.
In their upcoming talk at our Digital Marketing Summit on 14 and 21 July, Leaf will cover where the paid advertising industry was, where it’s at, and where it’s headed for D2C brands. They will also look at how to engage the right expertise and technology to combine signal, strategy, and attribution to drive profitable revenue growth for your D2C brand.