Number Crunching Mad Men: Advertising in the Digital Age

Back in the old days of advertising, smooth-talking mad men with suave haircuts wooed clients with emotional sales pitches. Today, numbers rule the game.


In the hit series Mad Men, Don Draper and his crew work late into the night, nursing their cocktails and brainstorming new advertising campaigns to emotionally connect with the audience.

Besides the fact that drinking on the job is now a faux pas, the advertising business has undergone even more dramatic changes. Creating a sentimental bond with the product is no longer the main driving force in the advertising world. Instead, it’s all about Big Data.

Advertising agencies no longer guess the needs of customers and craft content for the masses. Instead, they use math to learn who the audience is, where they are from and what they like. With this information, they can then deliver highly targeted ads that directly speak to the customers’ wants and needs.

The digital advertising industry has boomed in recent years. According to the Internet Ad Revenues Report, revenue from digital advertising hit a new high in 2013. In the U.S. alone, more than $9.6 billion was earned from digital advertising in the first quarter of this year and analysts predict that this number will continue to rise.

As a result, more companies are getting on the bandwagon. In a recent study by PulsePoint, nearly 60% of marketers surveyed said that they planned to increase their relationships with digital agencies over the next year. Companies are recognizing that targeted ads work, and are turning to number crunching mad men.

About the Author
Tiffany Roberts is a professional marketing writer with a wealth of experience in digital media, editing, strategic planning and graphic design. Originally from California, she currently resides in Tel Aviv.