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THE DIGITAL DOWNLOAD - SAM TOMLINSON

Weekly insights about what's going on and what matters - in digital marketing, paid media and analytics. I share my thoughts on the trends & technologies shaping the digital space - along with tactical recommendations to capitalize on them.

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Issue #68 | The 4 Horsemen of the Profit Apocalypse

Happy Sunday, Everyone! Before diving into this week’s issue, I’ve had a flood of new subscribers over the past week (thanks, ConvertKit) - so, welcome! I’ve included links to the most popular newsletters below, as well as a link to the full archive: What Does “Better” Really Mean? Who’s Afraid Of Little Old SGE Where is Paid Search Going… & What Are We Going To Do About It Last week, I wrote about the major trends shaping marketing/advertising in 2024. The one that most people have asked...

Happy Sunday, Everyone! Difficult as it is to believe, we’re rapidly approaching the end of Q2 – Back to school media buys are being finalized, BFCM meetings are appearing on the calendar and initial budgeting for 2025 is in the works. Hanging over all of those is a gigantic question: what’s actually going on in the marketing ecosystem? What have we learned thus far in 2024, and (most crucially) how should we apply it to what we’re thinking about in the short (back to school), medium (BFCM)...

Happy June, Everyone! Earlier this week, I found myself watching Hitch (which…strangely aged well for the most part) – and I was struck by the titular character’s (Alex Hitchens) “basic principles” shared throughout the film: No one wakes up thinking, “Gee, I hope my life doesn’t get better today.” If you want to connect with someone, you first must understand them AND have a plan 90% of communication isn’t the content of what you’re saying Any person can sweep another person off their feet...

Happy Memorial Day Weekend, Everyone! If you haven’t heard - and most of you have - Google has officially unlocked the newly-rebranded “AI Overviews” (RIP, Search Generative Experience - it feels like we barely knew you). Since the announcement of the “AI Overview” rollout (first at Google I/O, then at Google Marketing Live this past week), there has been Very Serious Concern™ from large swathes of the SEO community – along with more than few screenshots of AI Overviews Gone Wild. Many people...

Happy Sunday, Everyone! Happy Sunday, Everyone! In the spirit of the season, I’ve been helping many clients with “Spring Cleaning” (read: audits/reviews) of their ad accounts….which led to some searches, and quite a few interesting AI Overviews (the topic for next week’s newsletter): But, for this week, we’re going to talk about ad accounts (primarily Meta & Google) - and more specifically, the seven biggest issues/opportunities I’ve seen after more than a few weeks of “Spring Cleaning.”...

Happy Sunday, Everyone! Let’s talk about the number of active ads in your ad account. There’s a particularly prevalent notion among agency + in-house people that having too many active ads in your Meta Account (or Google Account) is a problem. Related to this, I’ve seen (first-hand) more brands pushing to evaluate agencies/freelancers (and even in-house teams) based on the number of creatives generated each month. This is all fundamentally flawed. To understand why, let’s start with three...

Happy Sunday, Everyone! Over the past few weeks, I’ve presented at multiple events and attended a half-dozen talks/panels on Generative AI – from how GenAI will revolutionize marketing (such as transforming SEO to “AIEO”), to innovative applications in fields as diverse as Memory/Alzheimer’s care and credit scoring. Put simply: the AI craze is still in full swing. I’ve had dozens of conversations with CMOs, CEOs, Investors & PE/VC GPs in the past few months – all of whom have asked remarkably...

Happy Sunday, Everyone! One of the most common questions any advertiser has (agency-side, brand-side, investor, etc.) has is this: which of our ads are effective? It’s a problem the advertising industry has been grappling with for a century - and while we’ve made great strides, we’re still not (quite) there yet. Perhaps the biggest challenge, especially as it pertains to digital advertisements, is how can we disentangle the performance of an ad from the multitude of other factors that...

Happy Sunday, Everyone! For nearly seven years, I’ve used the following slide in presentations at industry events, at corporate trainings, in classes and with our internal team: It’s one of my favorite slides. It combines three things I believe to be essential for success: (1) a relentless desire to improve; (2) an obsession with your audience and (3) a structured process designed to create surplus value for your organization/brand. After years of using this slide, I thought it was...

Happy Sunday, Everyone! Whether it’s in-person at conferences or events, one-on-one in calls, or in forums/groups/Twitter, one thing is abundantly clear: the frustrations with Google and Meta are real. They are shared by everyone from business executives to PPC specialists, CMOs to marketing directors, agency and brand side alike. And those frustrations are growing: Just about everyone loathes - not just dislikes - Google Analytics 4. Many brands don’t trust Smart Bidding. Most advertisers...