‘Worst Ad’ exposes $60bn wasted on search marketing

BangoWorstAd-WildfirePR-DecoyMedia-8Martech company Bango claims to have launched “The Worst Ad Campaign in the World” on a remote poster site in Manchester as part of an initiative designed to highlight how brands are wasting billions of pounds’ worth of budget on search marketing.

According to Bango’s data, which comes from over 65,000 search ad impressions released as part of the campaign, 35% of search ads never reach their target audience; 26% of those that do, don’t have purchase intent; and 20% of those that do, don’t hit key decision makers.

Instead, Bango claims that supposedly targeted search ads appear in front of a baffling array of audiences. In the case of one campaign, an ad targeting senior marketing professionals appeared in front of students, doctors, lawyers, supermarket cashiers and a dog breeder.

The company argues that, with $172bn (£126.3bn) spent on search advertising last year alone, its findings suggest that over $60bn (£44bn) a year could be being wasted on search ads that never reach their target audiences.

In an effort to raise awareness of this poor targeting, Bango has launched a new campaign titled “The Worst Ad Campaign in the World” by acquiring ad space on the least viewed poster site in the UK, claiming that it is “still a better use of budget than many search ads.”

The outdoor space, which is located near Manchester, has lower passing traffic than any other UK billboard, compared to any other site listed in the ClearChannel database.

Bango chief marketing officer Anil Malhotra said: “Search targeting is broken. To me, buying a search ad nowadays is about as useful as putting up a billboard in the middle of nowhere. A huge percentage of the target audience never sees it, and of those who do, the likelihood that they will act on it is slim to none.

“For all the talk of big data and advanced targeting, the truth is that most search engines aren’t delivering as promised. Despite this fact, marketers and brands continue to pump billions of dollars into a system that’s fundamentally flawed. We all expect to lose audiences down the funnel, but to lose a third of them before a campaign’s even got off the ground — that’s not acceptable.”

To address this issue, Bango is arguing for a new way of targeting called ‘Purchase Behaviour Targeting’ (PBT). By calling on payments data from around the web, Purchase Behaviour Targeting allows marketers to target audiences based on what they have previously bought.

Malhotra added: “Bango is a payments company at heart, focused on helping people pay for the things they want to buy. It’s not enough to guess what people will be interested in buying based on what they ‘like’ or search for online. As our research shows, that fails far too frequently. Purchase Behaviour Targeting fills the gaping holes in online targeting by focusing on buyers, not browsers.”

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