State of the State of Advertising 2019

Watch the video or read the transcript below.

My fellow advertisers... Today, the state of advertising is on the decline. Dark, bumpy days lie ahead of us.

In years past, we could easily write our ad copy, design a basic ad visual or simple video asset, assign it to the platform of our choice, and run it with fairly consistent results.

But sadly, over the last 18 to 24 months, there’s been a seismic shift. A shift many of you have already felt the pain of.

While there’s been a lot of online chatter in private Facebook groups about broken algorithms and ad costs skyrocketing across nearly every platform, too many advertisers have become too insular to see the true, and very real, insidious threat causing CPM’s to go south… CPA’s to become unsustainable… and overall conversion rates and ROAS to drop down to numbers they never thought were possible.

This threat is far greater than algorithms. Platforms strive to keep us happy and therefore correct accordingly. No, the danger we face will take remarkable resolve and grit for us to overcome, for it will continue to chip away at the affordability of advertising on all platforms.

This threat was a dormant giant, stuck on traditional advertising platforms, but now it’s awake. Awake to discover that the opportunity within digital and social platforms is real and up for the taking. But this is OUR territory, not theirs.

These are troubling times. Our greatest threat has the financial capacity to snuff out small businesses from ever being able to afford to compete in the digital marketplace ever again.

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No matter the platform, be it Facebook, Google, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, or the next up and comer, this powerful, financially endowed threat is on a very clear and dangerous mission to overpower us. With cross platform utilization they’re investing hundreds of millions of dollars into digital infrastructure, causing what will feel like the inevitable decimation of all of us, all of our hopes, and all of our businesses.

My fellow advertisers, the threat I speak of is the sum of all our fears, and, our gravest enemy: It is big brands and the ad agencies that control their massive advertising budgets.

This enemy has outspent all our lifetime advertising budgets, COMBINED, in a single month, and they continue to grow dangerously powerful. 

As advertisers we are a resilient, creative people… and while we can’t stop an enemy of this magnitude, we are FAR from powerless. These are OUR platforms. Digital Advertising is OUR home.

Therefore, as the Founder & CEO of Ad Zombies, as an Advertiser, a Small Business Owner, a Husband and Father who utilizes advertising on these platforms to put food on the table and keep a roof over our heads… as one of YOU… I’m ordering a subtle, surgical strike… one our enemy will be unable to react to.

The shift to digital is in high gear. While these big brands dump millions of dollars each day into platforms they believe speak to their audiences, (money our businesses simply don’t have) OUR advertising costs rise because we’re being outspent and the big brands are gobbling up the available Ad space. This shift will result in slowly eroding the foundation of the future of our businesses. No, they may not be in direct competition with us, however, there is only so much available ad space and sadly, big money will always win…

While we cannot stop them, we can take action to keep our costs down, to connect on a deeper, more meaningful level with our target customers to maintain balance in our advertising budgets and in our results.

Now more that ever, disruption is critical. Our subtle yet surgical strike will be our messaging. Our messaging needs to be on point and our ad creative needs to have visual appeal that stops the scroll. We need to grab a viewers attention so that our messages are seen and clicked on.

As Don Draper once said, “They can’t do what we do, and they hate us for it.” Which is why they’re trying to spend us out of existence. But we will prevail!

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We will survive this big brand apocalypse by upping our game and navigating these turbulent waters nimbly, efficiently, and with certainty. We will NEVER surrender to big brands. We will fight them with agility and better, faster creative.

I know our enemy better than anyone and can use their Achilles heal against them. You see, prior to building my business, Ad Zombies, I worked hand-in-hand with many of these big brands. In my 30+ years in the creative industry, I’ve worked with big brands like M&Ms, Coca Cola, Frito Lay, and Budweiser, to name a few, I’ve worked with every major league sport, the NFL, NBA, and MLB. I know how they work.

I know the enemy… because I’ve been in their camp.

Big brands may have lots of dollars to throw at digital, but they also have deep infrastructure, lots of chefs in the kitchen, and an inability to create quickly. They are like giant ocean liners. Making a 180 degree turn for them takes time, patience, and layer upon layer of decision makers’ approval before the order to change course is given.

Not us…

You and I, on the other hand, are like speedboats. Our ability to turn and weave isn’t hindered by bureaucracy or red tape. We can course correct monthly, weekly, daily, even hourly if needed. 

Which means, WE are at an advantage. An advantage they can never overcome. We can chart a different course as needed, they cannot.

While the market shift is on, they are stuck in approvals, meetings, and indecisiveness. Therefore, we must respond with immediacy. While they are still debating and 3 market changes behind, we are in the driver’s seat of our destiny.

My fellow advertisers, the state of advertising is getting rough, but we can survive this onslaught of big brands. Remember…

We cannot win with formulaic copy or templated Ad structures, that’s what everyone else is doing. We cannot win with poor quality images or videos.

We MUST be disruptive.

We MUST stay ahead of them. Our videos MUST entertain and engage, our visuals MUST pop, and our words… our words MUST be sharp.

Our enemy is clouded… Their financial prowess is making them delusional. Our vision is clear. Our creative is unmatched. 

My fellow advertisers, we must… we WILL prevail.

Thank you, and good night… or good morning… or good whatever time it is wherever you are.