We built Sether, an online service platform on which brands can work online campaigns with agencies, allowing them to pay the agency fee according to campaign performance. The agency sets KPI goals, we monitor the results then give a performance score. How did we get to this product? We noticed the presence of some “issues” in advertising’s back yard.
While it’s easy to figure out “something” is wrong with how advertising gets to be produced, identifying the exact problems is no easy task. Luckily, some stressed but honest ad experts gave us some important hints. In order to list these problems, we traced a client’s journey for holding a successful online campaign, from first agency contact to the final report.
Check out the biggest 5 problems, guess how they can be solved, then take a peek at the solution list at the end of the article to see if you were right. Here we go.
You reached a particular agency because someone recommended them. Based either on their experience, or on that agency’s prize record. But big agencies charge huge fees because of their reputation, not for helping clients hit specific KPIs. Since agencies are really good at building reputations, they probably worked a lot on theirs.
So, the first problem is that someone else’s experience with that agency, or that agencies prize record are not good indicators that that agency can supply your needs.
The best indication that an online agency is worth paying for is their campaign KPI record. The actual results they obtained on their previous campaigns. Sadly, there is no such official record (not yet, that is. It’s coming soon). So starting work with an agency requires a leap of faith from your side.
You meet, you agree on what you need done for your campaign, and you get to hear how much it all costs. Instead of agreeing to pay whatever the agency demands in order to do the work, you better take a second and realize that results in the online medium are totally quantifiable. Why agree to pay a fixed price? What if it all fails? Unfortunately, besides getting or not getting that success bonus, we have yet to see agencies that admit to their failures. So, if the agency has a bad month, you lose your budget, and the chance to promote your products.
This is one is easy: you’re no ad expert, and you can only afford one agency. Then who guards the guardians of your campaign? Basically, you have to trust whatever they say. And when you get to complicated measures, like choosing the right KPI’s or medium, the agency might have a slightly different agenda that you. Some results are easier to get, some harder. Why should they try harder if no one even understands the stakes?
You may feel the urgency to promote your product. For your agency, you’re just another project. Another brand. The problem is that in the online medium, reaction time is priceless. It can make or break your campaign. Your ad is underperforming? Your costs are too high for the results you’re getting? Too bad you’re only going to read about it in next week’s performance report.
When, in truth, it’s their success. You see, agencies sometimes create campaigns to win awards, not to add value to clients. From your perspective, it may be the same: scores seem big, the idea seems fantastic and someone even gives your project a prize. Remember you wanted to sell more product. While some boost in sales may be associated with the campaign, you never know if it was largely in your favor or in theirs.
Before we give the solutions away, take a look at our undisclosed heroes and what they have to say. Remember it’s a double-edged knife, confessing to today’s advertising’s sins. You can’t do it without breaking yours, or someone else’s reputation. Since the last thing we want to do is make things harder for anyone trying to speak out or repair things, we decided to publish the best examples of questionable modes of action, protecting the identities of our survey contributors under pixelated masks.
Did you just scroll to the solutions? Hope not…
1. Choosing an agency
You can’t do much about it, but you can use the Sether and only get tricked once. The Sether platform forces the agency to state clear KPI goals and evaluates the performance of the agency based on the only thing that counts: results.
2. Making commitments
Instead of agreeing to pay an amount blindly, you can instead work with a pay-per-effect platform like Sether. Set some KPI goals with the agency, let Sether evaluate the percent these goals were achieved, and pay accordingly. Fair and square.
3. Having a single point of reference
Have an expert 3rd party to advise you, or work with Sether. The platform will guide you through the stages of the project, suggest which KPI’s are relevant for your strategy, and alert you when parameters go askew.
4. Trusting their reaction speed
No one cares for a campaign more than the product owner. Instead of relying on your agency’s promptitude to inform you when online ads or targeting don’t perform, you can use the Sether platform – it’s automatically prompt, no human error.
5. Believing you succeeded
An agency will always try to embellish the results of a campaign. Instead of just trusting whatever they say, you should use Sether and evaluate the campaign based on its performance matched against the goals set with the agency.