Over the last few years, we have seen an erosion in the value of digital ad inventory and there is a feeling that the industry goliaths are calling the shots. It is time to take back control and ensure that we are creating value through optimisation and shift the mindset to a shared business approach between buyers and sellers to create valuable partnerships.

If we look at the current status quo, we have a one size fits all black box model with tech tax, data leakage, limited control and fraud issues raging. 

What we need is to move towards a model that is fraud-free, delivers integrity to buyers through full transaction measurement and has reliable data and valuable audiences. 

So, who has taken back control?  

At the recent Ad Summit in Kiev, one of the speakers highlighted three companies who had achieved this, and in doing so, showed strong results. The first was ride sharing pioneer Blablacar, who bought a programmatic guarantee campaign with high impact formats that reached six million users. The second was a major wireless operator who activated two million users through a highly targeted campaign, and the third was a leading lifestyle magazine who achieved a 150% increase in revenue by using marketing analysis to remarket to users based on their interests. 

All three companies followed a strategy that focused on the audience and three key areas in particular: 

  • Interests – Looking at the habits and affinity users had to a particular interest 
  • Intent – Analysing their market life cycle potential 
  • Action – Analysing their intent and remarketing based on actions

The overwhelming advice is to act with transparency and integrity to realise your fair share and to ask questions of all your partnerships: Do I get the money I should? Are my partnerships 100% supportive of my business? By asking these questions you can ensure that you are achieving strong results through your campaign by having your partnerships support growth on both ends of the customer spectrum: acquisition and retention.

Partnerships are vital

Recent research has revealed that 76% of companies agree partnerships are pivotal in delivering revenue goals. The Forrester study, ‘Invest in Partnerships to Drive Growth and Competitive Advantage’, commissioned by Impact, surveyed 454 decision makers and practitioners from North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. It found that over half of companies (52%) generate more than 20% of revenue from existing partnerships.

Alongside this, the study points to partnerships being a fundamental component of a successful company, as 62% said they believe introducing technology to optimise partnership management will be a high priority or critical to driving success and revenue growth over the next 12 months. Firms that have the most mature partnership programs are five times more likely to exceed expectations on a variety of business metrics. Therefore, companies should look to implement a wide range of business and technological initiatives to engage the value and success of their partners. 

As the study indicates that these partnerships are increasingly crucial to business growth, one school of thought is that sellers need to define a curated marketplace which brands have access to. From this platform, both sides can work together on deep audience building, and optimise revenue and monetise based on the right mix. What is also critical is to create transparent insight right down to log-level data, ensure that you have audience data activation and then work from a curated marketplace.

If we are going to stem the flow of value erosion, it is essential to focus on what performs and be able to track it comprehensively. Every side of the trading landscape needs to work on deep audience insight and clearly defined curated marketplaces which allow brands the ability to access them transparently. By doing this, we will start to reverse the value erosion and make steps towards regaining control.