Quantcast APAC marketing lead, Germaine Hendrick, looks at how American Express and UM have successfully leveraged their partnership to deliver incremental value and increased ROI and gives advice for marketers on how to evaluate their partnerships.
Today, some 60 per cent of the world’s population is online, with research suggesting that there are more than 900,000 users added per day, or 10.5 new users every second.
With a rapidly growing and evolving addressable market, brands have their work cut out for them. They need to navigate challenges, including the deprecation of third-party cookies, new ways of measurement, post-COVID skills shortages and more. Agencies, as an extension of brands, can add value by keeping abreast of these challenges and keep their clients informed of opportunities to achieve better cohesion, and therefore improved results.
American Express and its partnership with agency UM is one example of how this works well.
UM is responsible for all paid media, programmatic and social activities for American Express and partners with AmEx’s team closely to formulate its annual marketing strategy. To ensure performance stays at its best, UM also facilitates optimisation across AmEx’s live campaigns, which includes regular reporting and insights for future strategic analysis.
Ad tech providers also play a key role in helping agencies and brands use the right technology to move forward, particularly as the lumascape continues to expand in size and complexity.
For example, UM’s way of ensuring that clients get off on the right foot to success includes a ‘futureproof digital transformation audit’ which helps both AmEx and the agency identify strengths and opportunities, and align focus areas. This includes an innovation test-and-learn roadmap which hones in on select projects, and through this process they tap into audience targeting solutions with Quantcast to identify core consumer tribes that bring incremental value to AmEx.
This includes digital transformation roadmaps, data strategies, finding the right technology for brands which helps UM innovate on campaigns and find incremental opportunities to increase ROI for AmEx.
Filling skills and resourcing gaps with the right knowledge and expertise
With resourcing and skill shortages topping the list of 2022 challenges for marketers and agencies alike, having a collaborative triangular relationship with a brand, agency and ad tech vendor can foster transparency, accountability and ultimately create more effective advertising outcomes.
The rapid evolution of digital advertising is means it is challenging for brands to stay ahead of the curve and understand how customer interactions with advertising are changing. The triangular relationship allows brands like AmEx to bolster its understanding in the audience, data and measurement spaces with an external lens.
A successful tri-party advertising relationship is also about knowing when to open up the doors in conversation. Traditionally, we often see agencies hold their client partners and vendors at arm’s length, not wanting to connect the two.. The key is to recognise when the opportunity calls for external expertise to be brought in, and to act on that accordingly.
Building measurement models that work
Measurement is another top challenge for the media industry, particularly as brands and agencies have more and more channels and formats to use in their advertising strategies
For AmEx, running several campaigns across multiple channels with a number of different vendors means that attribution is complex. Cost-per-Acquisition (CPA) is a core metric, but a recent shift towards building awareness means there is also upper- and middle-funnel activity to measure and learn from. For AmEx, ideal attribution model lies in understanding the full path to conversion.
While AmEx’score metric centres around new acquisitions and the cost of that, different partners play different roles in the customer journey, so having variable criterias and being able to measure on multiple touchpoints is important..
As UM measures success using ad tech partner insights that can help deliver meaningful metrics that accurately illustrate sustainable business growth.
Those ad tech partnerships need to integrate data in a privacy compliant way, so campaigns can be measured and optimised on the fly with access to deep insights in audience segmentation. UM can then personalise campaign settings at speed to drive acquisitions for AmEx.
Advice for businesses evaluating their partnerships
For marketers working with agency partners
- As the future of advertising becomes more complex, having a close working relationship with your partners not only helps you operate better as a business, it brings about opportunities for testing, innovation and upskilling, which also helps you grow as an individual in your next career move.
- When embarking on new partnerships, there’s nothing like getting everyone in a room. Although we’re used to talking through a screen in recent times, face-to-face connections are invaluable in building relationships. Connecting in person also makes it easier to communicate and solve problems.
- Don’t be afraid to share all the priorities you have and the goals you want to achieve across your business. “Pigeonholing” deprives your agency partners from being able to give you their full support, and you might miss the opportunity to identify areas to obtain value beyond the scope of work you’re briefing in.
For agencies wanting to create a synergistic relationship between clients and ad tech providers
- To deliver the best outcomes to your clients, you must have enough faith in your vendor relationships, and recognise when to connect the two. The more partnerships you have, the more access you’ll have to diverse datasets, which can help you create more incremental wins for the agency and the clients you serve.
- Future proofing against rapid change is more important than ever, but you can’t go at it alone. Innovation is key to driving partnerships forward, so that should always be a key focus. Take the time to acknowledge the practical knowledge each side brings to the table, and keep the end goals in mind, not just the short-term gains.
- Before connecting your clients with vendors you trust, take a step back to examine the value that you can all get out of each other. Put goals in place to create ‘milestones for success’, and tackle any issues openly with the aim to find resolution. Never assign blame.