99% of Digital Agency Leaders Admit to Mistakes

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It can take weeks or months to prepare for a digital ad campaign, but it only takes one mistake to undo all that effort. Digital agency decision-makers recently admitted to encountering not one mistake but several – many in a single week – that cost them thousands of bottom-line dollars. The lost fees and headaches add up fast, harming an agency’s reputation while damaging the brands they were called upon to promote.

A recent study done in partnership with Censuswide, “Agency Confessions,” found that 99% of decision-makers have witnessed mistakes at their agency. 60% have seen mistakes happen at least six times per week, and one-third of respondents have seen agencies absorb between $5,000 and $10,000 for a single error.

These mistakes aren’t confined to the smaller and potentially understaffed agencies either – the number of mistakes increased based on the agency’s revenue. Agencies with revenue between $1 and $5 million admitted to an average of 4.88 mistakes per week. For agencies with revenue above $5 million, the average number of weekly mistakes jumped to 7.57. 

It’s a vicious cycle, and each new mistake made is another chance where agencies can lose their clients, damage their reputation and in some cases, get sued. 

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Current Solutions Are Coming up Short

Campaign issues and oversights are so prevalent that most agencies have employed at least one method to prevent future errors. While modern technologies have taken over numerous industries, many agencies still rely on old-school, time-consuming methods to uncover and eliminate mistakes.

42% percent turn to master spreadsheets or manually check for potential errors, continuously. The former involves a lengthy process of tracking credit card limits, expiration dates, destination URLs, ad targeting and more, while the latter forces agencies to manually peruse Google, Facebook, and other ad platforms.

Some firms try to mitigate mistakes by taking full advantage of their human capital. 39% assign a hierarchy of roles to check for errors to ensure nothing is sent out or launched without being seen by multiple individuals. This is a time-intensive process that can distract from other tasks within the agency. 

Additionally, 40% have tried to prevent blunders by building custom dashboards – a costly investment that may not yield the desired results.

Mistakes Continue to Pile Up

Despite their best efforts to avoid them, agencies are still plagued by numerous mistakes. Credit card and payment failures – in which a payment method may have expired or was declined for some reason – are particularly common. 33% of decision-makers reported this issue, which resulted in spend not occurring at the appropriate moment. Roughly as many (31%) were impacted by a campaign that didn’t start on time, campaign spend that was left on longer than planned, or ad copy that offended the brand’s audience. 

Typos afflicted 30% of respondents, while 29% endured the costly exasperation of dead, incorrect or broken links/forms. 29% were also frustrated by ads that link to an incorrect landing page, focus on the wrong geography or some other gaffe that caused the wrong audience to be targeted. Other frequent agency mistakes include broken tracking (28%), campaign under/overspend (27%) and ads that were flagged or disapproved because of non-compliance (24%).

With so many techniques for dealing with these mistakes, which can lead to unnecessary expenditures and/or missed sales opportunities, you might have expected fewer errors to be reported. But it’s clear they aren’t resolving their ongoing, day-to-day and week-to-week problems.

Where There’s a Will, There’s Automation

What the industry really needs is an automated system that sends alerts for positive or negative spikes in data. If there are keyword ranking changes or metadata issues, agencies need to know immediately – not five minutes from now, not an hour later, but in real-time as it happens.

None of this can be accomplished with manual checks or spreadsheets, which are not fast enough to keep up with the speed of a campaign and the possible errors that might arise. But keeping up simply isn’t enough – that’s why so many industries have turned to Artificial Intelligence to automatically and intelligently perform tasks that are too demanding for humans alone. Gartner estimates that AI will create $2.9 trillion of business value in 2021 as enterprises deploy the technology. 

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AI is especially important for digital agencies, which could greatly benefit from the increased speed and analytical power that it provides. The technology can also provide extra protection during times of unprecedented market and consumer behavior. Much like antivirus software for your computer, AI can scan a campaign for failures that cause performance issues. It can notify agencies in real-time and allow them to take action before it’s too late.

Not all AI is created equal, however. Agencies must thoroughly examine each offering to determine if the AI is more artificial than intelligent. Enterprises need a solution that can offer true live data and automated visualization for easy-to-read reports that are based on the metrics that directly matter to their business. They need software that can find the most profitable customer profiles, which enables them to target audiences that generate the most clicks, conversions, and revenue. Anything less could lead agencies back to the Stone Age of digital advertising, where costly mistakes are a constant concern. 

Raise Your Defenses

With 60% of decision-makers witnessing at least six mistakes every week, most agencies endure more than 300 mistakes a year. That number is staggering and can severely damage an agency’s reputation, as well as its bottom line. They can no longer afford to rely on the mistake mitigation methods of yesterday. It’s time to retire the spreadsheet and manual labor and invest in an Intelligent Marketing security solution that’s smart enough to predict your agency’s every need. The time for a new way to work is now.

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