Why collaboration is power

Having a truly integrated brand performance strategy will benefit publishers, brands, advertisers, marketers, and audiences alike

Since the launch of Google AdWords in 2000, digital advertising has grown at an astonishing rate, with two-thirds of adspend predicted to be online by 2020*. The measurability of the channel has led to an increase in focus on performance marketing, with many CMOs left with the conundrum of how much to invest in brand versus performance marketing. Brand marketers would argue that investment in brand is a long-term play, whereas performance marketing is focused on driving sales (or equivalent) in the here and now.

However, with the continual development of data-driven programmatic digital media buying alongside the rising savvy customer, the lines are getting blurred. The way brands can influence consumers is continually changing and evolving, and the methods used to drive brand equity and direct response require more unity than ever before.

With every change comes opportunity for the industry to evolve, develop and deliver for customers in new, relevant ways. There is a big opportunity for publishers, brand advertisers and performance marketers to work more closely together to deliver data-driven integrated solutions for clients that deliver on their total goals. If we consider a brand who wants to target millennial women, historically one way to achieve this would be to purchase ad space within a magazine or on its website. We can still do this today: targeting Cosmopolitan would be a great way to do this. However, we can also integrate a performance angle to maximise the effectiveness of this brand buy.

Publishers have more to offer than just a simple inventory purchase – they are sitting on realms of data, which they can utilise to offer performance brand solutions. Actually activating a publisher’s data set to drive more accurate targeting and brand alignment would potentially be more effective than doing a one-size-fits-all inventory purchase. We may still end up targeting brands like Cosmopolitan but only entering the auction for audiences we want to show our brand messaging to.

Insights and integration
If advertisers start to collaborate with publishers or inventory owners (rather than just purchasing set inventory or prescribed deals) they become more powerful, driving the creation of strategic plans that drive performance across the whole marketing funnel. This approach enables a brand to encapsulate potential customers at the very top of the funnel – driving brand awareness to their target audience, before taking them on a data-driven journey to conversion. The advantage of tying up the top and the bottom of the funnel in this way ensures a consumer has one brand experience from their entry point to their conversion point.

Utilising a publisher’s pre-existing data set is just the start: huge volumes of insights can be gleaned from publishers that can be utilised for media targeting, creative design, journey creation, product planning, and more through survey and insight tools.

Working together drives results
The data that publishers (or inventory owners) hold tends to be high quality (especially in a post-GDPR world) – and one untapped opportunity is data matching through publishers’ DMPs. Linking publisher and brand data sets allows a unique view on your audience’s media consumption, which can drive media selection, channel choice and individual insights.

The brands that are driving success in 2019 have integrated brand performance strategies where the two types of marketing are working in tandem to deliver results. A great example of this is Love Island and Misguided. The usual promotion of a TV show would be solely brand advertising (eg sponsoring the programme).

However, ITV and its agencies have worked closely to bring the worlds of brand and performance together to ensure they are growing brand equity while delivering performance for them and their closest sponsors, such as Misguided.

There is a realm of opportunity if everyone works together to create a harmonised consumer journey that can benefit publishers, brands, advertisers and performance marketers but most of all, the audiences we communicate to.

Emma Burnhan is head of paid media at iCrossing