5 Days of Affirmations for Highly Discouraged Digital Advertising Professionals

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78% of Marketers Believe This

Table of Contents:

46.9% of Waking Hours are Spent Doing This


48% of Marketers are Only Somewhat Confident in This

60% of This Company’s Share Value Wiped Out By a Spreadsheet Error

Data Professionals Spend 40% of Their Time Doing This

You know what will be waiting for you today: a full inbox, a list of new campaigns to get off the ground, and requests for performance data for the campaigns currently running. And the biggest problem of all: getting the performance data together will likely take most of your time. Which means you’ll be behind from the moment you begin pulling reports from the first ad platform used in your cross-channel campaign.


I am a shining beacon of love and light for marketers everywhere. This week I will check more off my to-do list than “drink coffee.” I will tell my boss I cannot spend > 50% of my time downloading confusing reports and attempting to shove them into a single report. This news will be received as a brilliant insight, and I will be a hero amongst my peers.

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”

John Wanamaker, founder of the first department store

The #1 Challenge for Digital Marketers

According to conversations with top digital marketers, manual reporting is one of the toughest jobs of any advertising professional. You want to get the data right, so you spend hours downloading it, transferring it into one master spreadsheet, and trying to make sense of it. In the end, you have something to show for all your hard work, even if you’re not confident your insights are accurate. Fingers crossed something you do will move the needle…

By 3 PM you’re desperate for an iced coffee. You settle for a sparkling water and make a list of the things that have gone well today:

  1. New client campaign research: full funnel strategy with ideal ad channels identified.
  2. Successful campaign launch for one of your regular clients.


Things that could be going better:

  1. Three clients each with an ad campaign spread across 5 channels = 15 spreadsheets of data to download and compile. 
  2. Constant distractions mean you forget where you’re at in the data gathering process. 
  3. You’re not confident in the accuracy of your data or the results you’re reporting to stakeholders.


Who Doesn’t Love Spreadsheets?

Work is so fast paced, it often feels like there’s no time for new ideas. After all, the time it would take to rework your reporting process—heck, even the time it would take to talk to your boss about revamping the reporting process—would probably put you so behind you’d never catch up.

It’s easier just to keep doing things the way they’ve always been. You’ve got spreadsheets after all. And who doesn’t love spreadsheets? Pivot tables, you say? They’re a miracle of modern data analysis. And then there are the PowerPoint templates. Who could ask for more?

According to a Devroe and Partners research report that surveyed 250 marketers:

  • 78% of the marketers believe that the current way of working can be improved
  • 6 of the 10 biggest problems in marketing departments have to do with insight and overview
  • 39% say a lack of understanding of marketing processes is the biggest problem
  • 36% of marketers indicate that they measure little or no results
  • 78% only use Excel, Word and Powerpoint to manage the marketing organisation

Digital Ad Campaign Reporting Changes: Too Much Trouble or Totally Worth It?

A recent conversation with a digital ad agency executive revealed that many of their seasoned digital advertisers were dubious about switching away from the manual reporting process they’d grown used to. Manually inputting information into reporting templates was the status quo—and change, even a change with significant proven benefits, felt too risky. 

  “A status quo bias minimizes the risks associated with change, but it also causes people to miss out on potential benefits that might even outweigh the risks.”

After 90 days with the new reporting process and technology, the agency had reduced reporting time by 40 percent. FORTY PERCENT! Imagine if they’d let the fear of switching from a manual processes keep them from putting a little extra time into making a necessary change. They would have also missed out on about $12,000 of new revenue opportunities after that 90 days. Because their account managers can more quickly access standardizedorganized campaign data and manipulate reports, the business is on a path to faster growth. 

So you didn’t say any of that stuff to your boss. You didn’t complain about wasting time or having low confidence in the accuracy of reporting. Maybe that’s okay. Maybe instead, you should offer to help lead the change management initiative needed to put your agency or brand back in control of your campaign data. Because sometimes the scariest changes are the ones most worth making. 

While downloading reports from five different ad channels, you dream of tacos. Tacos with carne asada and fresh pico. Tacos with fried fish and avocado. Tacos with extra cheese and sour cream. Who can blame you? Taco Tuesday is a day for dreamers.  


At least tacos.

“1 in 5 Americans eats at least one taco per day.”

TOP Data Taco Report

A Recipe for Disastrous Digital Advertising Reporting Errors.

“People spend 46.9 percent of their waking hours thinking
about something other than what they’re doing.”
-Harvard Researchers

Snap out of your taco reverie for a minute, okay? Answer this question:

Do you have a spreadsheet open on one of your monitors right now? How about multiple spreadsheets? If the answer is yes, consider this:

  • 88% of all spreadsheets contain at least one error.

  • Nearly 16,000 coronavirus cases went unreported in England due to the “badly thought-out use of Microsoft’s Excel software.” What do they mean by “badly thought-out”? Here’s what a Cambridge University professor told the BBC:

    “But one expert suggested that even a high-school computing student would know that better alternatives exist.

    ‘Excel was always meant for people mucking around with a bunch of data for their small company to see what it looked like,’ commented Prof Jon Crowcroft from the University of Cambridge.

    ‘And then when you need to do something more serious, you build something bespoke that works - there's dozens of other things you could do.

    ‘But you wouldn't use XLS. Nobody would start with that.’”

  • According to Cisco, “Microsoft Office formats, including Excel, make up the most prevalent group of malicious file extensions in emails.”

  • Being distracted can cause workers to make 2X as many mistakes as usual.

We’re not trying to make you feel bad about your secret taco thoughts. 

Actually, it’s the opposite. You should be able to have a human moment (your mind wanders away to a food truck for Korean chicken street tacos) and then switch back to your work and not make an extreme reporting error. You shouldn’t fall into a phishing trap, because in the middle of considering your love for chorizo, you see an Excel file in your email and assume it was actually sent by your coworker. 

You should have a secure data warehouse that automatically pulls your campaign performance data for you, without spreadsheets cluttering your files. And that data shouldn’t ever need to be pulled back out and put into sheets or pivot tables or reports. 

We really don’t know anyone who can resist when the tacos are calling. It’s normal. So let’s make sure you can have an occasional daydream about a fried avocado taco, while maintaining the integrity of your data analysis and your systems.  

You’re frustrated. And it’s totally understandable. Digital advertising platforms are walled data gardens. Instead of offering straightforward performance data, they craft their metrics to make themselves look better. The biggest ad platforms, the Facebooks and Googles of the world, make billions of dollars in ad revenue each year. To say they’re thriving would be a massive understatement—which means they’re not likely to change their performance metrics to make it easier for marketers to evaluate campaign data across channels any time soon. 


The confusion I feel after downloading data from separate ad servers and attempting to blend the data into one comprehensive report is not my fault. I am not a failure. I am a strong, capable marketer who should not need advanced skills in data extraction and cleaning to do my job. Suck an egg, ad channels.  

Digital Advertising Performance Metric Confusion

Take comparing video performance on Facebook and Google…while both metrics refer to video plays to completion, they each have their own definition of what that means. Which means marketers are stuck trying to extract the real data from each one to evaluate their cross-channel campaign with an apples-to-apples comparison. It’s no wonder it’s nearly impossible to accurately determine return on ad spend (ROAS), let alone make campaign improvements that move the needle.  

According to a HubSpot survey, 48% of marketers said they were only somewhat confident in their decisions that involve investing in revenue-influencing programs. Measurement of ROI was, in fact, number two on their list of five major challenges marketers face in 2021. 

Ad Channels, Agencies, & Bears, Oh My!

I want to hug a grizzly bear but not die, where do i start?”

Actual question from a Reddit user

A digital marketer recently told us that working with big ad platforms is like “trying to hug a bear.” While this marketer wasn’t speaking literally, trying to work around siloed ad platforms is still pretty scary. Especially when it means your business may not be able to grow if it can’t solve the problem of extremely manual reporting processes. 

So how is any agency or brand supposed to accurately report on campaigns, measure ROI, and scale under these circumstances?

If you want to scale but your systems and processes still require significant amounts of manual effort, you’re always going to struggle. Take the time to get your house in order with more scalable solutions before investing too heavily in growth.

Forbes Agency Council

Venting about ad platforms is totally understandable, and if you’re still manually managing campaign performance data analysis…probably necessary. But new technologies are rising up to meet the needs of marketers. By taking a step back, giving your current processes a good hard look, and supporting those processes with the right tools, scaling digital advertising is absolutely possible.

Seems like you could use a laugh. In fact, we’re concerned you’re taking this too seriously. Spreadsheets can sometimes stink, but at least you didn’t do this:

“In March of 2018, UK beverage wholesaler Conviviality issued an earnings statement
20 percent lower than expected, contributing to a freefall in their stock price that wiped out
60 percent of the company’s share value before trading was suspended. The low earnings report was later found to be  incorrect, caused in part by ‘a spreadsheet arithmetic error.’”

Please, if you don’t do anything else today, read this
which is also the source for the above quotation.


Spreadsheets do not define me. I am not angry, I am motivated. This is fine. Everything’s fine.


I am manifesting a data blending-free world. Come ooooonnnnnnnnn…manifest, dammit! I mean, the path to enlightenment does not include more pivot tables, does it? DOES IT?? 

According to industry analyst firm Gartner, digital marketers spend more time preparing data for analysis than doing the actual analysis. Another study found that data professionals spend 40 percent of their time gathering and cleaning data and only 11 percent finding insights and communicating them.

A Problem for Even the Most Savvy Data Professionals.

The lack of transparency into metrics across digital advertising platforms is a major culprit for advertising professionals. While some agencies and brands do employ data scientists, many rely on marketers who may or may not have the skills needed to get data to a place where it can be used to create actionable insights. If it takes data professionals 16 hours per week (that’s 40% of a 40-hour work week) to gather data and make it usable, how long does it take the rest of us?

But you can stop trying to manifest a data blending-free world. It’s already here for the taking. 

Goodbye Walled Gardens & Ad Campaign Data Blending

Advertising Intelligence is disrupting the paid ad industry status quo in significant, positive ways. And the very first capability of any good Advertising Intelligence platform is the automated ingestion of data from all siloed ad platforms into a single secure data warehouse. Connecting data in this way takes a significant chip out of the time commitment required to gather and clean data. 

Here’s what you should look for when considering using an Advertising Intelligence platform to connect your data sources:

  1. Seamless, automated connections to the most popular ad channels. If the Ad Intel platform doesn’t offer integrations with a number of major ad channels, beware. And it should be a do-it-yourself-in-minutes effort to pull in data from channels that aren’t automated via email or direct upload. 
  2. Secure data storage. Data privacy should be a huge priority for your vendor of choice. And it shouldn’t require any coding to set up or maintain. 
  3. Historical data at your fingertips. You should be able to access and analyze data from any historical period you choose, making year-over-year comparisons and trend analysis simple. 
  4. Additional core capabilities. Getting all your data into one place is great. But a good Ad Intel platform won’t stop there. It will allow you to transform and organize metrics, as well create stunning and impactful reports.

And to answer your earlier question... 

No, marketer, the path to enlightenment definitely
does not include more spreadsheets. 

However, in the world of advertising, that path will always be changing. Ad platforms will change their definitions of metrics. Web browsers will change their policies on third party cookies. New digital ad formats will be introduced. That’s why it’s important to find the resources you need to make it all work in the favor of not only your clients and your business, but your career. 

“Lumenad allows me to be platform agnostic. By moving between 
DSPs I can drive the best performance possible for my clients,
and the data flows seamlessly into Lumenad without interruption.” 

Michael Jung, VP of Product Management and Technology, Precision Reach

Less time spent gathering data means more time for analysis and sharing insights with your stakeholders. And wouldn’t it be nice to be excited about finding meaning in your data for once? And what if the campaign improvements you made led to tangible results: advertising KPIs met, budgets optimized, ROAS realized?

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4 More Weeks of Affirmations 

We made an entire 4-week calendar with even more unique data points for digital marketers! You’ll get four weeks of humorous affirmations and serious insights and advice. 

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More Stats, Tips, Quotations, & Tacos (Sort of)

You like data. We got more data. You like tacos. Wellllll, we don’t have actual tacos. But we DO have more affirmations about tacos. Check out “4 Weeks of Affirmations, Stats, & Tips for Digital Marketers.”

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4 Weeks of Digital Marketing Know-How

Enjoy reading this e-book? Every work day for four weeks, you can flip to a new affirmation with a stat, tip, or quotation for digital marketers. 

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Want More? 

We like to have fun and be useful. That’s why we created this free downloadable calendar with 4 weeks of humorous affirmations (and/or expressions of outrage) for digital marketers who are just plain fed up with silly data challenges. You’ll find some of our favorite digital advertising strategy tips along the way too.

Want More?

Are you enjoying these affirmations and data points? We created a free downloadable calendar with 4 weeks of humorous affirmations + even more tips, stats, and quotations for digital marketers who are just plain fed up with silly data challenges. 

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