The Media Buyer Newsletter

The Media Buyer Index

Bryan Bumgardner
August 28, 2023

Welcome to The Media Buyer Newsletter, where we deep dive into the latest ecomm data (powered by Northbeam) to see what trends, anomalies, or interesting findings we can uncover. We keep it simple with three sections: The raw numbers, a quick summary, and our key takeaways.

In our 33st installment of The Media Buyer Newsletter, we’re wondering about TikTok, committing to making better creative, and talking about Gen Z again. Let’s dig in.

The Summary

This makes six weeks of increasing CPMs on TikTok. You aren't the only one with slipping performance. Still, we struggle to see a more exciting place to advertise - 839 million people use TikTok. Is the juice worth the squeeze? This you must answer yourself.

Two bad weeks in a row for Meta conversion metrics. The dropoff isn't too bad, but it's still worth noticing. Are you having issues with conversions? We're fully into back-to-school now and BFCM is approaching, so you should clean up your Meta conversion campaigns now.

TikTok conversion rate has dropped steadily for four weeks. This isn't a canary in the coal mine yet, but you should be expecting more difficult TikTok performance this quarter than ever before. If your creative is not on point, the channel might not convert as well as you're planning it will.

The Takeaway

If you are seeing decreased performance on your TikTok ads, you aren't alone. This is the time to evaluate what you're gonna do there in Q4. If your ad performance is slipping, it's likely due to your creative. Are you evaluating that creative and trying to improve it? Do you have a plan for where your creative will come from? Are you still running stuff that didn't work six weeks ago?

These are all valid questions you must address as a team. If your performance is slipping, it's definitely due to creative. TikTok ads didn't just STOP working overnight, the platform is hotter than ever. What HAS happened is every advertiser on planet earth is clamoring for eyeballs on TikTok, meaning your creative is buried under a mountain of not-good ads. Are you making something that can stand out? If you aren't, it might be time to reconsider your strategy. Performance will only get harder from here.

We're hosting a "How to Use Northbeam" beginner level webinar and you should attend. For those of you who are not omnipotent ultra-talented tech wizards, this little refresher (or introduction) to Northbeam's potential could be helpful.

Google performance seems to be struggling a bit, and we're seeing brands increasing their spend on generic terms in preparation for Q4. Makes a lot of sense - you'd want to spend less on brand and focus on bigger terms people are searching this time of year. But it increases competition, and Google depends on the awareness driven by other top of funnel channels, so we'll see how this plays out.

All things considered, still a very expensive time to be running ads, and not too many exciting upsides.  

You should sign up for our Q3 DTCx Media Buyer Summit! We'll be sharing (free) strategies from the smartest minds in ecommerce. Join us on September 7 - register here. All the recordings from the last Media Buyer Summit are posted in this playlist.

Some helpful links we've found:

🎨 Bring ChatGPT directly into Figma with Jambot. Free but still in beta.

📲 A 3-step beginners guide to making TikTok creative. Bring method to the madness.

👜 Luxury brands are killing it with Gen Z. How? Insights from Ari Murray.

🏗️ Six of your most burning TikTok ad account setup questions, answered. A guide from an expert.

🔬 Gen Z prefers word of mouth over marketing? Science proves what many have denied for a long time.

💁 You cannot imagine how commoditized influencers have become. Another example of a mass-influencer organization.

🔎 Get better at Google Ads with Northbeam. Another masterclass from John Moran.

Some job openings we like:

💭 Performance PR agency Dreamday has a few open roles, including one for a VP of Affiliate Marketing. A fantastic agency doing cutting-edge work.

🚀 Paid Social Manager - Socium Media: work with great clients like Tushy, Catbird and Magic Spoon.

🏔️ 4Patriots is hiring for a Nashville-based Director of Advertising / Customer Acquisition. An amazing job at market-leading brand that we've loved for while.

🚀 We are hiring a Senior Media Strategist! Come help us help the best ecommerce brands on earth.

Looking forward:

Early access is now open for MMM Plus, Northbeam’s Media Mix Modeling solution. “Media mix modeling” is a statistical analysis that shows you the optimal blend of budget across your advertising channels. Northbeam is bringing MMM into the future, powering it with machine learning and designing it bespoke for ecommerce. If you've wanted to try MMM at your brand, now’s your chance: sign up to learn more here.

Happy media buying!

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