Procter & Gamble, an industry bellwether as the world’s largest advertiser, has called an abrupt halt to its ever-escalating digital ad spend by reducing its spend on the sector by $200m last year.
Explaining the retreat P&G’s chief brand officer Marc Pritchard said it followed a transparency push through 2017 which identified that a great deal of spending in this area had been wasted, prompting a pivot to other means of targeting consumers.
The consumer products business felt emboldened to continue with its cuts programme after a $100m in the quarter to June was found to have had little appreciable impact on the business, clearing the way for an additional $100m reduction through to December.
This followed analysis that showed the average dwell time for a mobile news feed ad was a scant 1.7 seconds while poor targeting saw some individuals swamped by P&G ads.
Advertisers have been reappraising their relationships with digital markets amid growing skepticism around its efficacy, exacerbated by recent ad fraud and brand safety scandals.
Speaking to the Association of National Advertisers Pritchard said: “We need P&G people much closer to the consumers they serve and we need fewer project managers and more brand entrepreneurs. This means renewed partnerships to work with agencies, not through them. We’ll pay for what creates value for consumers, and discern what work should be done by P&G people versus agency people.”
Pritchard has emerged as a principle critic of tech companies, calling out the likes of Alphabet and Facebook over their failure to get a grip on widespread fraud and prevent advertiser content from being associated with undesirable material.
P&G has already pledged to cut its advertising bill by $400m as it transitions to a new agency model, slashing its number of partners by 50%.