Performance marketing, where the marketer pays only for agreed outcomes, can reduce risk to the brand. Constant media innovation has made connecting to the right audience more feasible than ever – it’s now possible to achieve measurable outcomes beyond the boundaries of simple clicks and clickthroughs.
To connect with and understand audiences on a more meaningful level, brands need to ensure that their performance marketing partners are delivering in a transparent way.
Here are five golden rules…
1) Let creativity drive every campaign, focusing on outcome
Don’t ignore dynamic creative ads or overlook native ads – they boost conversion rates. By using data in the right way dynamic creative can incentivise the customer to buy.
Native aligns with the context of the content and delivers efficiency and performance value. A good performance partner will use both of these to boost performance metrics.
2) Prove the performance drives a measurable outcome
This means understanding exactly what it is that you are trying to achieve as a brand before anything else: the aim is to convert the sale.
Brands and marketers have been preoccupied with quantity over quality, achieving high click and clickthrough rates rather than focusing on real outcomes and measurable impact on the bottom line. Spray-and-pray marketing must become a thing of the past.
Marketers need to acquire more high value leads; fewer leads who convert are worth more than more leads who don’t. This requires performance partners who have the premium scale to reach a large range of consumer segments and the technical tools to measure outcomes accurately and usefully.
3) Gain trust through transparency
While it’s the performance partners who take the media risk, brands shouldn’t be left in the dark about how the outcome is achieved.
A strong partnership between brands and performance partners requires everyone having visibility across the process. Brands must understand what media their advertising runs on and how it is executed, to see how it generates high value outcomes.
The performance should also go beyond just the metrics, servicing the client with deeper intelligence and understanding of the impact of the campaign, by providing studies and analysis.
4) Performance partners must use tools to protect brands
Fraudulent inventory is a major ongoing problem; a savvy partner will have the necessary processes and technologies in place to help the brand avoid it.
Many marketers trust traditional metrics to measure performance and are not asking tough questions because they want to deliver strong perceived click-results. But these simple clicks, impressions and interactions are easy for fraudsters to imitate on a large scale, inflating the cost of placements and forcing marketers to pay a high price for ads that don’t drive business results.
A report conducted by the Association of National Advertisers and the advertising-fraud firm White Ops suggests that marketers could be paying up to $7.2 billion globally to click-bots in 2016. Only real people can take real actions that lead to conversions.
Marketers and performance partners should be more vigilant to minimise risk of exposure. And marketers must demand KPIs beyond click metrics. Only by truly understanding how campaigns are performing can they tackle fraud head on.
5) Non-viewable ads and poor ad placements still damage brands: make it good
The surge in programmatic ads in 2016 has gone hand in hand with a worrying drop in viewability levels. In 2016 they reached their lowest level for 18 months in the UK according to a report by Meetrics.
Publishers are increasing the speed at which ads are re-loaded or auto-refreshed to boost inventory levels and revenue. Many ads don’t stay in the frame long enough to be viewed. So it’s no surprise that ad viewability is one of the top optimisation goals for advertisers. With the right technology, including real-time DMP, you can identify how many users noticed the ad and measure reactions.
When ads are viewed, it must be in a non-disruptive or interruptive way to avoid damaging brand reputation. The increased attention and KPIs an interruptive ad might gain are never worth the resulting negative emotional reaction towards the brand.
Bob Walczak is global CEO at Light Reaction