INBOX INSIGHTS, January 12, 2022: Pros and Cons of Marketing Consultants, Political Ad Data

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Pros and Cons of Hiring a Marketing Consultant

In the past year, we’ve seen the “Great Resignation” – people quitting their jobs in large numbers in search of something different, something better.

That leaves teams and companies short-handed. You might be able to get away with asking people to take on more responsibility for a short while, but it’s not a sustainable plan. To fill the gap you may consider a marketing consultant.

Before you hire a consultant, here are some things to consider:

Pros of hiring a marketing consultant


You may have a project that you only need help with for a couple of months. In this case, hiring a consultant is a great choice because you can quickly get the extra resource you need without needing to go through a formal hiring process. As the project winds down you can part ways. The consultant will move on to other things and when you need help again you know who you can call.

Varied Skill Sets

Let’s say a client or customer comes to you with a project that requires email marketing and paid ads. Hiring a consultant is a fantastic option. You can find someone who can do both or you can find two consultants who specialize in each thing. Consultants tend to stay up to date on their skills, making it easier for them to find new work. This will also allow you to change the scope of the contract with your consultant without having to find someone new.

Varied Levels

One of the nice things about hiring consultants is that you will have access to experience at all levels. If you need an analyst to pinch-hit you can find that. If you need a strategist to help problem-solve for a couple of months, we’re out there!

And since you can’t have the good without the bad to balance it all out:

Cons of hiring a marketing consultant


Consultants will have a more challenging time integrating themselves into the company culture, especially if they are on a short-term contract. If you’re wanting to find a resource that is with you and your team long-term, a consultant may not be the right option.

Competing Priorities

This is going to be hard to hear. You are not their only client. One of the jobs of a consultant is to be present and engaged with every single one of their clients. This makes the client feel like the consultant works only for them. In reality, consultants may have a handful of clients that are all clamoring for their attention at the same time. If you don’t want to compete for your resource’s attention, a consultant may not be for you.

Professional Development

As mentioned above, consultants tend to keep their skills up to date. While they are always looking to learn new things, those things may not be what you and your team need. Depending on your contract, you might be able to ask your consultant to learn a new skill to meet your needs but don’t rely on it. If you need to have a little more control over the skillset of your resource, a consultant may not be the right person for you.

Admittedly, I’m biased toward hiring consultants. In case you didn’t know, this is what we do at Trust Insights. We support your existing team, bring a set of skills you may not currently have, and help you hire the right people. As your team grows and you’re finding that you need different skills, consider a consultant to help with the transition. If you’re not sure what you need, a consultant is also a great choice as we can help you figure it out!

Are you a consultant, or working with consultants? Tell me about it in our Free Slack Group, Analytics for Marketers

– Katie Robbert, CEO

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Data Diaries - Interesting Data We Found

In this week’s Data Diaries, we’re going to dance near the third rail – meaning, politics. More specifically, we’re going to look at political ad data. As part of increased initiatives for openness and transparency, Google has published political advertising data for ads run on its platforms; as citizens, we can access and download the data to investigate it and see how political campaigns are using Google Ads.

In a look at over 100,000 political ads logged by Google, we see some interesting findings:

Ad Targeting Data

First, we see that in terms of ad impressions successfully served – our outcome we’re examining in this data set – on a percentage basis, video ads performed the best. Unsurprisingly, the more an advertiser spent, the better their results. All other things being equal, throwing more money at ads improves performance.

For age and gender targeting, there was no clear, obvious winner; as these are political ads, specific targeting of ages and genders did better than not targeting those basic demographic traits.

Interestingly, the duration of advertisement seemed to have no effect on whether an ad served up a ton of impressions or not; campaign length seems not to matter at least for this class of ads.

When we dig deeper using machine learning to assess which variables have the strongest overall outcome for impressions, we find that it’s actually images, on a per-ad basis, that deliver the goods:

Ad targeting detailed data

What we see is that the image format predicts impression volume best, meaning that ads in these campaigns should definitely include multimedia with a focus on images. Also of interest, no one gender or age group successfully predicted impressions, which meant that at least for these campaigns, their demographic targeting wasn’t effective for achieving the results they sought.

So What?

What’s the point of this exercise? While political ads are definitely a genre of their own, this is one of the few peeks into the Google Ads ecosystem that any of us are permitted to see; ad data is notoriously held close to the vest and advertisers are generally loath to share any kind of performance.

The key takeaways we can glean for our own purposes are to strongly consider other formats besides just text ads. While choices like demographic targeting are easy, and cranking out loads of text ads is easy, these are not options that seem to make a difference in terms of ad effectiveness. The more difficult things to do – richer media – appear to be differentiators of success.

Methodology: Trust Insights extracted 854,115 ads from Google’s Ad Transparency Project via its BigQuery instance, then filtered for political ads in the United States of America. The timeframe of the data is January 1, 2016 – December 31, 2021. The date of study is January 12, 2022. Trust Insights is the sole sponsor of the study and neither gave nor received compensation for data used, beyond applicable service fees to software vendors, and declares no competing interests.

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