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P&G Cuts More Than $100 Million In 'Largely Ineffective' Digital Ads ( 204

schwit1 quotes the Wall Street Journal: Procter & Gamble said that its move to cut more than $100 million in digital marketing spend in the June quarter had little impact on its business, proving that those digital ads were largely ineffective. Almost all of the consumer product giant's advertising cuts in the period came from digital, finance chief Jon Moeller said on its earnings call Thursday. The company targeted ads that could wind up on sites with fake traffic from software known as "bots," or those with objectionable content. "What it reflected was a choice to cut spending from a digital standpoint where it was ineffective, where either we were serving bots as opposed to human beings or where the placement of ads was not facilitating the equity of our brands," he said... The cuts echo marketing executives' mounting concerns around the efficacy of digital advertising and the growing perception that they are wasting money on digital ads that never reach their intended audience.
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P&G Cuts More Than $100 Million In 'Largely Ineffective' Digital Ads

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  • But we do respond to authenticity. Make a better product or a better company, and show us. We'll buy it then.

    P&g actually did this once iirc, making saran wrap less toxic but also less profitable and also sadly less effective.

    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      P&g actually did this once iirc, making saran wrap less toxic but also less profitable and also sadly less effective.

      Less effective, how? Did she break free and spilled hot grits?

  • by Arzaboa ( 2804779 ) on Saturday July 29, 2017 @07:20PM (#54906201)

    It took them $100 Million to figure out what they probably knew themselves.

    I have more or less trained myself to not pay any attention to ads. This could be part of my overall "training" in the workforce to try and block out everything while I focus on said task, while co-workers are nagging me about lunch, beers, other projects, etc., while I'm trying to focus.

    Regardless, the constant barrage of online advertising from the flashing text of the late 90's, animated GIF's of the 00's, interactive flash from this decade, are enough to make any human that spends a large portion of their time online, shy away from this garbage.

    The idea of ads doesn't bother me. The forceful "We'll make you read it, like it or not, and we know we aren't targeting you, we only need 1% to respond" type of advertising, is what made me think like this. I actually feel GOOD when I know there is an ad and I know I haven't digested any of it.

    With this type of reward system, its no wonder I enjoy not looking at ads. At some level, there is a piece of me that feels that I'm "giving it to the man", when I purposefully don't read their ads. By spending any energy even avoiding this, I also feel like I have lost. In the end it makes me despise the system even further.

    Like everything, the bad apples destroy the good intentions of others. I'm sure I would benefit from some form of advertising as there are services I do use and would benefit from if they actually were "cheaper, faster, better", but when I can't trust any of it, the sites that claim "low impact ads", end up getting hurt first, and the 1% of the time I might care, I miss.

    Of course, on the other hand, there is a part of me that feels the folks making a killing off of ads no one pays any attention to, are in one sense "winning" from the perspective that the companies, willing to dump money into something so worthless, deserve what they get.

    • by BarbaraHudson ( 3785311 ) <barbarahudson@gmai l . c om> on Saturday July 29, 2017 @07:52PM (#54906311) Journal

      Keep in mind that the people at P&G planning the internet ad campaigns need to justify their jobs, so they will find any bogus stat they can, starting with "Ad spending on Facebook is up X% year-over-year, we have to be there too." Internet ad buys are heavily influenced by what competitors are doing, rather than on any proof that it works, because it's really easy to show what the competitors are doing (screenshots of their ads) and really hard to show any effectiveness (mostly because there is none, and the fallback "creates brand awareness" is now more and more known to be bullshit).

      Hopefully the trend will continue, and social media will DIE DIE DIE!!!

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        Originally the idea was not to advertise on the web so much as create informative interactive sites and draw people to them. Show me an ad when I don't fell like it and it will put me right off the product. This is because I see far fewer ads that in the days of free to air idiot box and the tolerance of them has faded away. Rather than an ad being buried in a hoard of ads, it now stands out, scream at me to buy your product and there is every likelihood that I will stop buying all of your products for quit

  • by david.emery ( 127135 ) on Saturday July 29, 2017 @07:26PM (#54906219)

    and generate -negative- brand response. That's particularly true of in-line ads, and most of all of Facebook ads that are mixed in (deliberately camouflaged) with user-generated content.

    And that's before taking user data mining into consideration, both sucking up my data, and then using it (most often to show me ads for something I've already purchased.)

  • by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Saturday July 29, 2017 @07:26PM (#54906223)
    back in the day. some higher-up made a similar speech as Moeller, but it was about reducing "enrollment" which is "employees". the salesforce was reduced ~ 60% within two years. overall management went down 30%. upper levels were combined and not renewed. P&G is too big to change quickly. when they finally decide to change, it happens faster than standard adjustments. still have friends there. it's sorta like a government job. keep boss happy keep job.
  • My guess is people repeat shop at places like Amazon where they had a good experience. They go directly there, type in what they want, and buy it. No advertising needed (or even seen).
    • Re:Direct shopping (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Saturday July 29, 2017 @10:45PM (#54906869)

      Except Amazon also started irritating me off with more and more of their own ads. Apparently, it's not good enough that I'm going there to buy something. They have to try to monetize my eyeballs as well by shoving paid adverts in my search results.

      Companies just can't seem to resist the siren's lure of some "free" extra profit (nevermind how it annoys some customers). The web just got ridiculously top-heavy with ads, and worse, they started becoming *dangerous*. That's when I installed an ad-blocker, and no amount of cajoling will get me to lower my shields... not when infected ads even get delivered by mainstream sites, not just the sketchy ones.

  • by p51d007 ( 656414 ) on Saturday July 29, 2017 @07:42PM (#54906273)
    Your digital ads might work better. STOP SHOVING THEM IN OUR FACE! Make your ads static, like in a newspaper, magazine, etc. When I'm reading an article and start to scroll down, and then all of a sudden some stupid ad starts blaring in my face, and I have to scroll up to shut the #(!@(^% thing off, it makes me NOT to want to do business with that company. When people have to install ad blockers to at least enjoy some content without having to worry about pop ups, pop unders, auto launching video ads (with the volume cranked to the max), then you know you have a problem. There are sights (like /.) that I whitelist because their ads are STATIC. THAT is how web ads should be. I'm more likely to click on a static ad, than a shove-it-in-your-face ad.
  • Let's extrapolate P&G's take on digital ad effectiveness and observe that Millennial attention span for them is 5 seconds [] and try to predict the future on digital ads if this applies across the board.

    We know that where there are eyeballs, there is a buying market.

    The advertisers know our demographics and buying habits and already target ads, so more information isn't the answer.

    What do you think the future of digital ads will be?

    • by Known Nutter ( 988758 ) on Saturday July 29, 2017 @08:28PM (#54906451)

      What do you think the future of digital ads will be?

      The future of digital ads from my perspective. []

      No more chances for advertisers to fix it. I'm done. No whitelists. No browser adblock. No more bullshit. No sympathy. Every time you think you can trust a little... bam... more new horseshit. That pi-hole server running on my network is the coolest fucking thing since sliced bread. It runs in a VM, and even so, it's fast. Every device on the network is protected from a single source.

      It's wonderful, and I sing its praise every chance I get.

      • Oooh! Thanks for the heads up! I just installed this and am testing it out on my home network. Already I love it!

      • It looks like you're using Pi-hole filtering software. To view this comment, please add this site to Pi-hole's whitelist.

      • by nnet ( 20306 )
        wait til some phone/tablet app fails to load...its why I stopped using it. For me, using the app was more important than the little benefit I got from using pihole. Also had issues with some sites ability to load pages that had forms in them, like gov sites. YMMV.
    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Ads before a movie. Products placed in a movie for different parts of the world. Promotional USA content or a traditional global brand
      Products and actor used in traditional non internet ads.
      Ads during and before a tv series.
      Ads on buildings, in print, side of bus.
      Radio and tv ads. Harder to stop listening to talk radio or block out an image in a magazine.
      Ads placed in streaming media stream as part of the show not as part of the social media site's own ad layer.
      The content maker will be contacted d
      • Thoughtful.

        I think most of us are used to in-line ads for TV. We're getting more and more ads and less content.

        Most of the sites I go to are not streaming video, except when I binge YouTube, and my ad-blocker works well there.

        A large problem I see is those static sites I visit like news and social media.

        I use ad-blockers there, as well, and wouldn't pay attention, even if I did see them.

        P&G is essentially saying that they've exploited target ads, but consumers:

        1.) Visit brand-inappropriate sites, draggi

  • by Presence Eternal ( 56763 ) on Saturday July 29, 2017 @08:12PM (#54906393)
    What they're investing in quite heavily is fake reviews. Figuring out how to guarantee five star reviews on Amazon and others without alerting people is what's getting their former advertising money. So far they aren't doing so well. 3000 reviews for bounty paper towels, and about a quarter of them didn't get past fakespot.
  • Big data sucks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Saturday July 29, 2017 @08:14PM (#54906405)
    I've been saying this on and off for years. We're all about to get a taste of all that efficiency folks have been clamoring about for decades. All that bureaucracy and waste is one of the only things that made it possible to pry even a bit of money out of the hands of the super rich. If you think the economy sucks now wait till it's running at peak efficiency.
  • Marketers that think their shit don't stink can go to Hell as far as I'm concerned. If that means site XYZ has to shutter, I'm ok with that because it's a shitty business model.

  • Slashdot has a lot of click friendly folks. Some even have money to spend.
  • by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Saturday July 29, 2017 @10:09PM (#54906739)

    On the rare occasions I see ads, they're almost always for things I already know about. Who the fuck buys a Coke because they saw a commercial for it? Literally everyone in America knows who they are, there is no reason why they need to advertise anymore except for new products. Likewise for any other big brand - sure, maybe Disney needs to advertise their latest movie, because it's new, but what is the point of Ford reminding everyone "hey, that F-150 that's been a staple of the American truck market for most people's entire lives is still around"?

    Whatever tiny psychological effect that comes from constantly pestering people can't be worth the huge cost of it all.

    • Coke is selling emotions to the next generation... they sell sugar water, all they have are feelings...

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      On the rare occasions I see ads, they're almost always for things I already know about. Who the fuck buys a Coke because they saw a commercial for it? Literally everyone in America knows who they are, there is no reason why they need to advertise anymore except for new products. Likewise for any other big brand - sure, maybe Disney needs to advertise their latest movie, because it's new, but what is the point of Ford reminding everyone "hey, that F-150 that's been a staple of the American truck market for m

  • by Noishkel ( 3464121 ) on Saturday July 29, 2017 @10:31PM (#54906817)

    There's a bit of saying in advertising. Half of your money in advertising is always wasted. The trick is to filter out what half you can throw away and replace as quick as possible. And this just proved that Facebook's NSA style of mass collection and tailored advertising just don't work. Google is lucky in that they have many other products and services that they offer. And there's another issue that is probably not being considered by too many people that Procter and Gamble's advertising policies are known to signal the trend in which advertising is going. And if they say that Facebook's product is useless other people will listen and change accordingly.

    There's a real solid chance that Facebook is screwed. And if they don't bounce back from this it might signal of their downfall.

    • by mha ( 1305 )

      Noishkel [] wrote:

      There's a real solid chance that Facebook is screwed.

      From the article (if only people read before commenting):

      The company about a year ago said that it would move away from ads on Facebook that target specific consumers, after finding that ultra-niche targeting compromises reach and has limited effectiveness.

      The very next sentence though:

      P&G indicated it wouldn’t pull back on overall Facebook spending.

      • From the article (if only people read before commenting):

        Not every Slashdot commenter subscribes to The Wall Street Journal, in which the featured article was published. To which sites should Slashdot users expect to have to subscribe before participating in comments?

      • Yeah nice hack job of my original statement. Do you have some organic brain damage that gives you problems with interpreting statements? Did you just complete NOT read my statements about how when P&G change their marketing tactics the entire industry tends to follow? Because it's literally the very thing I said just after you cut out the rest of what I said. And I'm not talking about just WHAT they're saying in this article. I'm talking about the advertising industry as a whole. Greater. Context

    • There has been a war brewing between old and new media. These two videos (if you can excuse the pithiness) summarize it well:

  • by stabiesoft ( 733417 ) on Saturday July 29, 2017 @11:04PM (#54906915) Homepage
    In the beginning, well early on, there was this thing called google and when I was interested in buying something, I'd search and find the companies selling the thing. Then I'd go to these companies websites via the very convenient links google returned. I'd look over the products and select the one I wanted and either buy it online or go to brick and mortar. Back then companies spent money providing info on their web sites. As others have said, I completely ignore web ads, and pretty effectively block the obnoxious ones on a computer. I find on mobile, this is somewhat more difficult, so I rarely use mobile for browsing. So for me, P&G and many others are just throwing money away by paying for ads on the web. My 2 cents. Of course if the jig is up, facebook, twatter, and many other social media companies will be toast. I have my fingers crossed.
  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Sunday July 30, 2017 @10:22AM (#54908483) Journal

    I've always wondered how advertising justifies its spending, never moreso than in the internet era.

    Personally, I believe the internet would be well served by a drop in advertising revenue by a couple of orders of magnitude. Many,, many people who make their living mysteriously "on the internet" would of course have to get real jobs.

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