In this guest post, Partnerize’s APAC marketing manager Sarah Kelly (pictured below) talks how to improve your ROI when in a time of less and less media channels…
It’s no secret that the world of media supply has changed dramatically in the past several years, to the point where a handful of companies now account for the vast majority of spend. In 2017, the top two media sources in our market garner 74.5 percent of Australian digital ad dollars. That figure is even higher than in markets like the US and UK.
Why is this happening? Well, for many brands, programs delivered via the top media players have been proven to deliver the best response. Leading players can often deliver more rich data for more precise targeting. It also makes execution of digital media buying simpler. Where buyers used to work with dozens of partners to deliver strong reach, now they can do so through a small set of vendors. That’s a big reason why money has drifted to them over the years.
But having fewer digital vendors at scale may shift the balance of power in the pricing negotiation away from your side. When you have fewer potential sources to buy from, it often means that costs climb. If you are looking to create some hedges against market changes from media consolidation, here are five strategies to consider:
- Take Control of Your Customer Profiles and Data: The leading media players usually have the richest range and depth of data on consumers. But this second- and third-party data will never be as fruitful as when you fully leverage rich, first-party data about your customers to identify the best people to reach and persuade. If you make a strong commitment to really understanding your users, you won’t need to rely so strongly on media sellers for targeting.
- Consider Alternative Buying Models: On the performance marketing side of the business, you may want to consider diversifying your portfolio by working with performance-based brands and communities on a cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-acquisition (CPA) basis. That can be done through partner marketing programs with publishers who accept CP-based agreements. The great thing about this is that these potential partners will really get behind programs that yield strong revenue.
- Cast a Wide Net With Exchange-Based Buying: You may be able to reduce your dependence on the top providers by buying direct through audience-based targeting on the RTB exchanges. This may also help you get the best pricing from the top brands as well. Testing can help you discover whether other sources of data and targeting can deliver results more efficiently.
- Develop Creative in More Sizes: There are interesting opportunities — both off and on the largest media players — to get media bargains by simply developing creative in more sizes. When many companies do audience-based media buying, they default to producing a small number of ad sizes to reduce costs and complexity. But that means that ad spaces in unusual sizes have fewer advertisers vying for their eyeballs, so costs stay low. These aren’t tiny ads — many of the less common ad sizes are actually larger than the ads you are currently getting. These days, creative costs for resizing have dropped markedly, so it makes sense to explore whether adding additional ad sizes will lower your effective reach costs.
- Explore Influencer Marketing: Depending on your category, it may make sense to formulate an influencer marketing strategy for your brand. Influencer marketing can be less reliant on the top media companies, and through the use of tracking links you can actually calculate ROI for online purchases. Further, influencers can deliver a richer and more credible “sell” for things that they believe in.
- Expect and Request More: While the leading media companies have growing power, they are also dependent on advertisers. They want to make advertisers happy and satisfied. Several have made significant changes in the ways they work with advertisers as a result of requests from major advertisers. Partner with your media seller contacts to talk more specifically about your goals, and to solicit more ideas on how they can deliver better results from your existing levels of investment. They know all of their technologies and products better than you do, and they might have great ideas on how you can get more for your money, even as a greater share of spend shifts to the top providers.
There’s no panacea for climbing media costs. But like anything else, you can usually deliver better results when you devote time and attention to how to improve results. And after all, things won’t change for the better unless you take action to change them.
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