Over the last 12 months a number of buzzwords have captured marketers’ attention –  programmatic, RTB, native advertising. Many of these buzzwords are fleeting in nature or confusing for the layperson. But one industry term perfectly encapsulates the future of online marketing: multichannel.

As publishers get savvier about how they monetise their online traffic and move away from only utilising display or email marketing, they are increasingly running into a problem: a glut of solution providers all catering to an increasingly niche consumer segment. There is a growing trend towards segmentation that should and will be offset in the coming months by a wave of industry consolidation, which has been picking up pace over the last year. Expect more acquisitions across the media spectrum in 2014 as companies seek to acquire expertise in key industries and verticals.

In 2013, Matomy Media Group did its part to help reshape and mature the performance marketing industry. Over the course of 12 months we acquired US performance marketing agency MediaWhiz, as well as mobile affiliate network MobAff and the performance-based social advertising agency from Adquant. In doing so, we built an in-house multichannel monetisation solution, solving publishers’ desktop, mobile and social monetisation needs via a range of opportunities integrated through one gateway.

Consolidation is necessary because it will enable more publishers to establish cohesive media monetisation plans that tap into opportunities across a variety of media channels. Currently, the situation is far from ideal. A multitude of small, inefficient players have created a disjointed, inefficient approach that pits the competing interests of their advertising partners against the publisher’s ultimate goal: monetisation with an uninterrupted (or improved) user experience. A better solution exists: Multichannel.

The multichannel advantage for publishers

As the proverbial walls separating display, search, mobile, etc. have come down, advertisers are increasingly seeking ways to reach target audiences across all types of online media, not just a single dedicated channel. Budgets that were previously split between off and online marketing opportunities are now being split between web, mobile, video, email, content locking, social, etc. Publishers need to approach their site monetisation strategies in a similar manner, incorporating a multichannel solution that meets both advertiser demand and consumers’ preference for ‘any device, anywhere’ media consumption.

Advertisers have quickly leaped into the multichannel (sometimes referred to as ‘omnichannel’) approach to performance marketing. In 2013 there was a 137% global increase in brands that advertised across multiple digital channels (mobile, display, social and video), according to the new Q3 2013 Digital Audience Report from Turn. 

Publishers need to catch up with this growing demand in multichannel advertising in order to take advantage of some key monetisation opportunities.

Here are three ways publishers can benefit from utilising a multichannel approach to their monetisation strategy.

1. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. One of the longstanding challenges that we see many publishers facing is the increasing need to use multiple advertising partners or ad networks in order to achieve their varied monetisation goals. Not only are publishers often forced to work with multiple providers just to fill their traditional banner inventory, they now need to bring in additional partners for other monetisation solutions.

The wealth of advertising opportunities online has created even more diversification in an already opaque industry value chain, by giving rise to a slew of small firms and affiliate networks specialising in a specific consumer vertical. This glut of opportunities forces many publishers to work with far too many partners (in some cases, dozens), thereby making their site monetisation efforts (negotiation, contracts, implementation, monitoring, etc.) less efficient.

 The added complexity of new media properties requires publishers to find an advertising partner that can help them consolidate efforts — one contract, one point of contact and, most importantly, a single, holistic monetisation strategy that puts the user first. By building a multichannel monetisation strategy, we can create a plan whereby the right balance of each monetisation property can be maximized, but not overpower the other, and maintain the all-important user experience.

2. Economies of scale. A multichannel ad partner delivers significant economies of scale for most publishers. This is done through several means, including enhancing existing relationships with advertisers and expanding ad budgets to other media property types.  The key is to find the right advertising partner that has a large, geographically and vertically diverse pool of advertiser demand. This partner should provide the publisher with key expertise across multiple media channels (not just verticals) and be able to execute consistently stronger results. 

3. Mitigating risks. In an increasingly fractured media landscape, one in which consumers are fickle and jump from site-to-site, it’s a bad strategy to have all of your traffic monetisation options in one basket (display banners, for example). A multichannel advertising partner will provide the needed diversity of advertiser demand and monetisation opportunities (banners, email, video, etc.) necessary to diversify your risk without the unnecessary complexity of managing tens of relationships with providers.

Think of it this way: Quite often, one media channel (say, video pre-rolls) will work great for your site, while another (perhaps display banners) will be cooling down due to time of year, holidays, etc. If you are working with three different advertising partners for each of those media channels and you want to cut back on display ads for a while, you increase pre-rolls to capitalise on the peak, that’s multiple contracts you will need to renegotiate and multiple partner relationships you risk damaging. A multichannel approach to site monetisation will enable you to seamlessly orchestrate the different media properties on your site without risk, harm or nuisance to your valued users and business partnerships.

Moreover, the multichannel provider, seeing your entire media spread, will unbiasedly be able to proactively offer you the best solution at any given time to manage your entire portfolio in order to increase the entire revenue value, not just a sliver of it.

New revenue streams arise all the time. Taking advantage of these new opportunities is crucial to maximizing the value of your site’s traffic.