We’d love to hear a little bit about your role at Global Savings Group and working with the US team?
Johannes Wirth: Thanks for the opportunity to be featured in this month's Partner Chronicles! I've been with GSG for 8 years now so have helped with the company's growth from the very beginning. I went through various roles to initially build up our European markets before moving to a more global role, which includes setting the global strategy and managing our teams looking after the advertisers, affiliate network and agencies that we work with. On the other side, I'm responsible for managing the partnerships that we're running with our publishers.
18 months ago, we entered the US market. It's my specific responsibility as global chief revenue officer to lead the US team and operations, helping to build up our partnerships there and expanding the team in the Atlanta office. We have a great group in place that works closely with our advertisers to create a lot of great content, which is exciting to see.
What is the history of GSG, and how did the company get where it is today?
JW: We were founded in 2012 and started as a classic digital coupon website. During that time, we were running our own brands but then quickly identified the massive potential for us to work with large media companies (CNN, Business Insider etc) and started to offer white label solutions for those companies around coupons but also other commerce content areas. Following that success, we rebranded as Global Savings Group in 2016 with further brands under our umbrella. We also acquired a couple of companies along the journey, such as browser extension Pouch at the end of 2018, and launching our US office, which was a big step for us.
Our plans have helped build strong relationships and partners which has contributed to up to 30% of our publisher's digital revenues.
Speaking of partnerships, how does GSG work with content partners like CNN and Business Insider?
JW: We work very closely with our partners and are very selective to who we work with. Usually in each market, we pick the top 2-3 news publishers that we offer commerce content to as a white label solution, working closely with their teams on how we can build and generate audiences together and provide them with the content they need. We then create campaigns with them that run towards the advertisers, brands and retailers we work with to drive incremental revenue and leads for their business.
It's a very close collaboration that we invest a lot of time and work into but at the same, it's very rewarding. If you look at publishers, in particular, they were struggling a lot in the last couple of years as print revenues were breaking away, advertisement fees went down as they went towards social media and search channels. GSG helps publishers build commerce content in order to drive new incremental revenue streams for them.
What do you think motivates advertisers to work with you?
JW: We focus on the needs of the particular advertiser that we're working with. They may be looking for new audiences, brand awareness to increase incremental revenue, looking to maximise EBITDA, or getting rid of stock for example. We work with them to build up campaigns that fit those needs in the best way possible to achieve their goals. We also go beyond by investing in new technologies and content solutions we can offer on our website, such as gift cards, student discounts, dynamic coupon and dedicated campaigns around sales events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
We're unique as a lot of the advertisers are set up in an international way so we can work within multiple markets across the globe.
How does GSG operate in the US vs overseas?
JW: Since we're operating in many markets, we're working in a classical matrix team that are driving our business and global strategy forward. That has enabled us to come up with a good blueprint that we can use for all our markets. The blueprint was primarily implemented in our US operations.
We also had to adapt as this was a new market for us and one of the largest compared to Europe, South East Asia and South America. There are lots of things for us to learn in terms of trends, how affiliate marketing works and the culture in the market. Overall, it's a very interesting market with a lot of opportunities for us to learn and grow to bring back to our European markets.
How has access to richer campaigns and user data helped you prove the value of the business you are driving? What insights do you have about the customers that GSG programs drive to advertisers?
JW: GSG believes in data so in the last couple of years, we've integrated systems in one place, meaning we get full insight across the whole user journey. With our dynamic coupon technology, we are able to integrate into advertiser websites to read data and combine that with our existing data to segment user space based on their location, where they came from in terms of the traffic source and the types of products they're interested in order to show the user the right content at the right time, overall, meeting the needs of the advertiser.
What do your partners see in the value of your dynamic coupon? How can partners get on-boarded?
JW: What we can achieve with the dynamic coupon is combining the data streams from us and the advertiser to effectively up-sell and cross-sell for all advertisers to increase their cart size, conversion rates and to get rid of stock in the most effective way possible. We do this by segmenting data, leaving personal data completely anonymised which makes it easy for our advertisers to work with us. The dynamic coupon has seen great results across upselling and cross-selling sales.
What’s GSG’s plan for focus and expansion in the US, and internationally, in 2020?
JW: For the US, we have done the groundwork to grow further in the next 12 months and we want to bring a lot of the products we already have in Europe. For example, sales campaigns, which have been successful for us in our other markets, are something we would like to introduce into the US market.
Currently, we don't plan to enter any new markets with the GSG. Instead, we will focus on the roll-out our Shopping Assistant (Pouch) further in addition to acquiring French-based cashback player iGraal, where we plan further investments once the deal comes into place.
Lastly, do you have any parting advice for bands and/or partners looking to expand their operations to the US?
JW: For brands, they need to be local. The US market is large and different compared to others. You need to understand the new answers about the market and learn as much as possible. Try to hire talent out of the US that works in that particular industry that can help you get the knowledge into your company, like what we've done for example. For partners, look into different media types and select the right partners that fit your business and who are committed and will make the partnership a top priority.