Vaynerchuk: If We’re Being Honest, Ad Tech Needs A Common Sense Injection

The point of advertising is to provide value to consumers, but by its nature “advertising doesn’t do that,” said Gary Vaynerchuk, a serial entrepreneur and founder of VaynerMedia.

Vaynerchuk’s observation, shared Wednesday at AdExchanger’s Industry Preview event, highlights the cognitive dissonance experienced by many ad tech practitioners, whose job security depends on metrics rather than real results.

“If math was what marketing is, this would have been figured out a long time ago,” Vaynerchuk said.

Brand managers and CMOs are judged more on their marketing-mix modeling score than what’s best for the business. Often, the numbers look good, but the brand’s marketing goal, whatever it is, isn’t being achieved, Vaynerchuk said.

“The problem is that the metrics and the sales don’t match up,” he said. “That’s got to be talked about. … And we need to care about the consumer a lot more.”

It’s a matter of injecting pragmatism into the discussion around results and performance. Everyone tosses around metrics to try and prove that their efforts are working, when the question they should be asking is, “Was the marketing consumed?”

“The stuff I bet on is based on an intuitive understanding of what people care about,” Vaynerchuk said. “That’s why I’m infatuated with creative.”

Take a channel like drive-time radio. It’s an underpriced asset because people think it’s doomed, he said, but it works, so there’s no reason not to buy it.

Attention is attention, and if people are paying it, then it’s worth paying for regardless of what channel it is. If newspapers still commanded attention at the right price, Vaynerchuk said he would gladly shell out.

But it just so happens that in terms of results, “Facebook is the cheapest inventory on the internet,” Vaynerchuk declared.

“I love when people say that these Facebook metrics are off – none of that shit matters,” he said. Some say “Google is better, but Google is forcing you to watch something before you get to what you really want. I’m spending every [expletive deleted] penny I have on Facebook and Instagram influencers.”

It’s a bit like the old saw about buying TV – you’ll never get fired for buying television, and the same seems to apply to Facebook now.

But here’s the punchline, Vaynerchuk said: “Does your product or service work to somebody whose life depends on selling your technology? … Facebook won’t always exist, but if you want to feed your kids, that’s what you do.”

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