Before we get into the world of Comparison Shopping, Display Advertising, and how NMPi by Incubeta drives revenue for brands, it would be great to hear about your journey. Can you give us a quick overview of how you got to your current role as senior partnerships manager with NMPi?

Nisha Kanapathy: NMPi’s heritage is rooted in performance marketing – we were originally founded in 2004 as a paid-on-performance paid search agency, meaning we cover the cost of the media ourselves, and clients only pay a fee (commission) when we meet their KPIs. As the business grew into a fully-fledged biddable media agency, this focus on performance has been transferred across all of our services, defining the way that we set up and optimise campaigns across paid search, CSS, display & paid social. 

I joined NMPi in 2016 and my role focuses on the continued development of our performance-based services. Since joining the business, I have predominantly been working with referral partners like Partnerize; attending key events, building relationships and onboarding a range of different advertisers to utilise our services on a CPA model. When I first joined we were a team of 4 and now there are 10 of us working on promoting our performance-based solutions. 

In short, what opportunity does NMPi by Incubeta offer brands, when working with Partnerize, other platforms and networks? 

NK: We offer a range of paid media services that would typically require huge budgets provided by the advertiser. By taking on the risk of providing all the media spend ourselves, we’re truly incentivised to drive the best possible results for our clients and are constantly striving to find new ways to gain a competitive advantage. The transactions we drive are also deduped against all other affiliate sales, meaning an advertiser never pays more than once for a sale (something you don’t tend to find when it comes to Paid Search, Display & Paid Social) 

Comparison Shopping is a hot topic at the moment. What opportunity does CSS offer brands and how does it work?

NK: CSS is a brilliant way for brands to boost their share of voice across the Shopping space and increase the likelihood of customers purchasing from their site rather than a competitor or reseller. As CSS’s receive a discount on their bid prices, we’re able to operate at a lower CPA than what the brand will be achieved through their existing Google Shopping activity. This means additional sales at a cheaper rate!

Brands can work with more than one Shopping partner without increasing CPCs – all parties are bidding on behalf of the retailer, and Google have made sure that you can’t compete with yourself. By working with more than one CSS provider, you’re increasing your chances of appearing within the SERP.

On top of this, each CSS partner is different. What makes NMPi unique is the fact that we’re a biddable media agency that have been running Shopping campaigns for years (a long time before CSS became what it is today). Our award-winning Shopping tech and experience means our campaigns are optimised on a granular level to ensure we’re driving performance. Alongside this, we also offer client servicing so that brands can keep track of performance and monitor alongside their own Shopping.

How does NMPi work alongside a brand’s internal teams to deliver results across Comparison Shopping, Display Advertising, Paid Social and Paid Search channels?

NK: There’s a couple of ways that we work with brands to deliver these services.

  1. Full Coverage: We act as the advertiser’s PPC/Display/Social agency, delivering activity for them across all their markets on a risk-free CPA model. 
  2. Gap Coverage: We deliver these services in secondary markets/search engines alongside a brand’s main digital marketing team/agency.

In both cases, we’re keen to become an extension of the client’s marketing team and work closely with them to define KPIs and strategy through regular calls and reviews. 

With CSS campaigns, we can run campaigns alongside the client’s existing Shopping activity (and other CSS partners) without impacting CPCs. We would be increasing the advertiser’s coverage within the Google SERP to draw users to their site instead of a competitor’s. On top of this, our reporting and servicing allows brands to understand what is performing well for them.

Everyone talks about data-driven marketing. How does NMPi by Incubeta uniquely leverage data to create value for advertisers?

NK: Working on a performance model means we dive into the details and are focused on ensuring we don’t miss an opportunity to drive revenue for the client. We have built a number of tools and dashboards to aid our optimisation decisions, which are influenced by a combination of factor:

  • Feeds – we ensure feeds pull through all essential data, for instance, margin data, stock availability etc, this will help inform optimisation decisions. 
  • Cross channel – we transfer data from one channel to another to aid campaign decision making, for example how the performance of products on shopping informs choices in creative carousels or how the top-performing sites on display might impact audience targeting on social.
  • External data sources – we use external data sources to inform our bidding decisions, for instance, things we have done in the past is building an algorithm to change our bids based on player form for a sports client. We evaluate the external factors that will be affecting a client’s business and incorporate this within our bidding and creative decisioning. 
  • NMPinsights – we have our own platform set up internally which monitors competitor behaviour and these insights are also used to inform our strategy. This platform also has additional capabilities such as evaluating worldwide opportunities for a client and gathering data on the top-performing elements for campaigns. Our unique Google Shopping Algorithm looks at both product and search term data on a daily basis, allowing us to increase impression share for top-performing areas and reduce impression share for lower performing areas. 
  • Evaluating the customer journey – using attribution to understand the value of particular campaigns in the journey.
  • Bespoke tools – Our in-house product development team often builds bespoke tools and platforms to suit the specific requirements and targets of our clients when they arise, such as integrating external data sources into your campaigns.

In your view, what are some of the biggest opportunities for brands to use data to increase performance across their partnerships programs? 

NK: In our experience, data unlocks a huge amount of opportunity for brands in many different ways. Some are more relevant to certain sectors than others, but there are a few things that we frequently recommend to our clients: 

  • Ensure their feed is set up correctly for success, including all the metrics that matter to you as a business.
  • Ensure external factors that have an influence on your marketing campaigns are being considered within optimisation decisions.
  • Use automation to be reactive to key changes.
  • Leverage Cross Channel Insights.
  • Use Attribution to understand the customer journey and the value of certain channels/ campaigns. 
  • Use data throughout your creative design and optimisation processes, including leveraging external signals to make your messaging as relevant as possible

Fundamentally, do you think of partnerships as a relationships-driven business or a data-driven one? Or is that thinking too binary? 

NK: It is definitely a combination of both. Clients come on-board because of the relationships we build, and they stay because of the data we provide them. 

Working on a performance model means we are constantly reacting to the data we see from campaigns, we use this to increase revenue and attract new potential consumers. We provide advertisers with interactive dashboards that can be tailored to the metrics they want to see, along with a dedicated account management team, who help them analyse the data and plan for the future. 

Lastly, what parting words of advice do you have for brands looking to grow their program, through partnering with a paid media partner? 

NK: Paid media channels are hugely important revenue drivers in a business’s marketing mix, particularly as we are seeing an even larger shift to online at the moment. For a brand that wants to grow, making sure you are working with a trusted partner that acts as an extension of your marketing team and is as incentivized as you are to drive growth is imperative.

On top of this, brands that are investing in their Paid Media channels often end up working in silos (e.g. separate PPC agency, separate Display partner, Social inhouse, etc), which inhibits you from accurately monitoring where performance is coming from, further limiting your understanding of how best to grow the business. Having these channels run by one partner, additionally tracked and deduped against your affiliate activity, offers clearer insights and visibility that you can take to your wider marketing.

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