The predictive intelligence startup curbing ad dollar wastage

Jason Pollock
By Jason Pollock | 27 March 2024
Jordan Taylor-Bartels.

The days of giving personal data data to brands, agencies and marketers in exchange for relevancy has ended, according to Jordan Taylor-Bartels, the CEO of the recently launched predictive intelligence platform Prophet which can run mathematical modelling in near-real-time.

With Google disabling third-party cookies for 1% of users of Chrome back in January, and by the end of 2024 planning to have killed off cookies completely, Taylor-Bartels said a lot of the marketing activity up to this point has been built on cookie technology being available. 

“Relevancy no longer is a bargaining chip that brands can use to get what they want," he told AdNews.

"What we really need to lean into is ensuring we actually understand behaviourally how channels are being used, how marketers and brands and agencies can tap into that behaviour and ensure that we understand more around the notion of how channels interact, rather than just simply relying on appearing at the right place the right time.

“I don't think everyone's prepared for this and it hasn't been helped by the fact that Google are kicking the can down the road, but at the same time, brands should be doomsday planning for the cookie apocalypse and focusing on mathematical and statistical approaches to solving this problem, as opposed to waiting for some Messiah to appear.”

Prophet’s predictive intelligence platform enables organisations to quantify the historical return on investment of their entire online and offline marketing mix, while also predicting outcomes against a library of thousands of macroeconomic data points.

He said what his platform has found through its own industry data is that mid and upper funnel activity is undervalued by brands, with the reason being it historically has been relatively unattributable, but still a lot of market mix modelling platforms are skewing towards prioritising the bottom of the funnel.

“What we're realising is that the mathematics is showcasing there’s not just one single funnel. That may have been the case many years ago, but now there are multiple funnels and there are funnels that increase and decrease in length,” he said.

Taylor-Bartels said that if you can understand the relationships between how marketing channels work together, and look at those channels holistically instead of in a siloed view, only then can you actually identify wastage and adjust your ad spend accordingly.

"If brands keep ignoring wastage, no significant steps will be taken to curb the economic repercussions that follows, but if brands address the issue, we might start seeing things like better products - more innovation, more accessibility,” he told AdNews.

“At the same time, while wastage is incredibly important, don't cut budgets on the back of regression analysis; cut budgets on the back of how your users accustomed to you are interacting with your brand and how they're jumping in and out of funnels.”

Brands threw away a record $6.149 billion digital advertising dollars in 2023, up more than 17%, according to Next & Co’s annual Digital Media Wastage report released in January.

Unlike traditional market mix modelling or econometric modelling platforms, which Taylor-Bartels said requires large swathes of data viewed within a 60-to-90-day window to be able to contextualise the data, Prophet is a “living, breathing ecosystem” - not just a visual dashboard.

“We use a bunch of ‘old world’ and ‘new world’ mathematics to enable customers and brands to remodel daily. This is critically important to the likes of businesses that have a digital presence, or have an eCommerce presence, but is also really important for larger scale FMCG brands to be able to notice trends daily and actually take actions weekly if they need to,” he said.

For media agencies, who Taylor-Bartels said are having to deal with decreasing marketing budgets and/or much higher requirements in terms of ROI, Prophet can analyse how performance is not just related to the platforms and the media buy, but related back to behavioural data and macroeconomic data that is impacting conversion rate and brand awareness.

“The second key piece that Prophet does is that we can interconnect the relationship between channels,” he told AdNews.

“Market mix models and econometric models will often say to clients something like ‘radio is not working; it's not driving direct ROI, it's not driving sales or profit’, whereas we'll actually look at it and take a step back and see that while radio might not be driving direct sales, it’s having an immediate and direct impact on the efficacy of PR and it’s also making YouTube way more efficient, for example.

“We visualise that direct and influenced revenue so that agencies can start to collaborate with brands more around what certain brand activity does, beyond being a passive metric like brand awareness, and start converting that into a funnel.”

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