John Wanamaker supposedly said "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half."
In an an effort to figure out "what half is working," attribution was born. Coupled with a transition from traditional, offline ads to digital media, attribution became the holy grail for analyzing advertising spends.
But in their exuberance of solving Wanamaker's riddle, advertisers failed to appreciate the limitations of even the most sophisticated attribution models.
On top of this, the consultants descended with their chants of, "if you can't measure it, you can't manage it." Which turned into, "if you can't measure it, don't do it."
So, in their infinite wisdom, guided by their data-driven gurus, they cut everything that couldn't be justified through attribution.
Even worse, most of them relied on last-touch (last-click) attribution models.
So, if someone saw a TV ad, picked up their phone, and clicked a search ad, "PPC" got all the credit.
Cut the TV budget! It's not working!
If consultant couldn't find conversions from social media?
Stop wasting time on social media!
And on, and on, and on.
On behalf of their competitors, thank you.