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The new dot com bubble is here: it’s called online advertising

Jesse Frederik and Maurits Martijn:

It might sound crazy, but companies are not equipped to assess whether their ad spending actually makes money. It is in the best interest of a firm like eBay to know whether its campaigns are profitable, but not so for eBay’s marketing department.

Its own interest is in securing the largest possible budget, which is much easier if you can demonstrate that what you do actually works. Within the marketing department, TV, print and digital compete with each other to show who’s more important, a dynamic that hardly promotes honest reporting.

The fact that management often has no idea how to interpret the numbers is not helpful either. The highest numbers win.