DxContinuum Blog

When Online Ads Do More Harm than Good

May 26, 2016
By Kevin Brooks

Online ads are among the most effective vehicles for promotions ever devised. The ability to precisely engage specific individuals and groups is the bedrock upon which giants like Google and Facebook built their empires. But for B2B sales teams, what if certain deals, at certain times, were negatively affected by online ads? What if doing less, not more, could be shown to be more effective in certain situations?

BlogVisual-Lift.pngThis is exactly the kind of insight you can get from predictive sales analytics applied across the entire breadth of the pipeline. By looking at factors that result in the creation of an opportunity, as well as investigating opportunities that have a high propensity to close (and those that don't) you can begin to work backwards and identify relevant patterns of activity.

In a recent analysis we did with one of our customers here at DxContinuum, we discovered that when leads engage with online ads early in the sales cycle they are more likely to convert into an opportunity. However, once an opportunity has been created, any further exposure to online ads reduces the likelihood that the opportunity will close as new business.

This was something of an eye-opener for our team. Surely online ads had a net positive or, worst case, neutral impact on deals in progress? But when all was said and done, the data seems to indicate that for certain contact roles in certain deals, engagement with digital advertising yields a net negative effect.

So, what can be done with this information?

Incorporate new information into online ad spend planning.

Focus spend where it can be most effective, not only with traditional metrics such as clicks and open rates, but also with metrics tied to deals that have a high propensity to close at a certain time.

Start looking at all the factors that play into successful deals.

Use the data you have to start building models for optimal marketing campaigns, sales engagement and sequencing. This is the elusive marketing attribution capability that has yet to credibly appear within any of the predictive analytics solution provider suites. But perhaps not for long.

Consider the characteristics of a potential "second wave" of marketing activity that can play a positive role in helping sales close deals.

In our analysis for this specific customer, online ads may be less effective after an opportunity is created, but that doesn't mean that other forms of marketing activity might not have a positive impact. Using predictive analytics can help focus late-stage marketing efforts to maximize success while enabling a stronger partnership with the sales organization.

Predictive analytics is one of the most exciting new tools for B2B sales and marketing teams, especially considering the growing interest in account-based marketing (ABM) strategies that depend on proper sequencing and application of marketing programs. Online ads are just one of many weapons in the marketing toolkit that can be seen in a new light when viewed through a predictive lens.

If you aren't yet using some form of predictive analysis, don't wait too long. You might be doing more harm than good!


Kevin Brooks

Written by Kevin Brooks

Kevin Brooks is responsible for all sales and marketing at DxContinuum. He is a marketing innovator with more than 20 years of leadership experience in both startup and Fortune 100 software companies. His most recent role was Chief Marketing Officer at Ivalua, Inc. Prior roles include Senior Vice President of Marketing at iTradeNetwork, Inc. and Chief Marketing Officer positions at FoodLink Holdings, Inc., IQNavigator and TrueDemand Software. He is also known for co-founding the procurement industry media site Spend Matters, and for his marketing leadership at Ariba and ADP. Kevin is also chair of the board of directors at the Santa Clara Vanguard, a national nonprofit youth music and arts organization, and he holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Macalester College.