Marketing Malpractice: The Explanation For WPP’s $90-Million Snapchat Splurge

When Sir Martin Sorrell disclosed that WPP clients spent $90 million on Snapchat advertising in 2016, business pundits could be forgiven for wondering if the industry has gone mad. Surely brands and agencies aren’t so desperate to court Millennials that they’re simply throwing money at the next shiny thing … right?


I’m not just picking on Snapchat here. The online advertising environment, in general, is over-hyped, misused, and produces a net drain in advertising ROI for many brands. New platforms, in particular, can inspire a specific kind of FOMO (fear of missing out) in marketers, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars being wasted.

“Wait,” you might say. “I saw a case study at SXSW about a brand that did something cool on Snapchat and everyone thought the CMO was a hero. That can’t be based on nothing!”

In a time of unprecedented CMO turnover, don’t be so sure.

Digital advertising can work, of course. But how many brands can triumph in a jam-packed environment where every consumer is getting blasted face-first with a firehose of branded content for most of their waking hours?

When it comes to Snapchat, you’re not likely to ever know whether your advertising worked: The platform has famously offered extremely limited data on its users, and won’t guarantee a minimum number of ad views for those misguided enough to purchase on those terms.

I will say something for digital advertising: One of its best qualities is how it can lead a consumer down the latter stages of the path to purchase. Unfortunately, for CPG brands like the ones filling Snapchat’s coffers, their products have a much shorter, less considered purchase process. Even worse, that path is less likely to be traveled online.

… read on at

Originally posted by at MediaPost
24th January 2017