Five tips for measuring the real value of publisher partnerships


-By Mark Bembridge, CEO of Smartology

According to a CMO Spend Survey by Gartner, marketing budgets are continuing to grow. However, the growth in spend comes with an increase in expectations. The report emphasises that it’s time for marketers to assume accountability for their spend and to equate this with a demonstrable impact on business growth.

gAdvertisers regularly show results by measuring impressions, clicks and click-through rates (CTR). With CMOs roles evolving however, they want a holistic approach and are looking at revenue growth and transparency in addition to the usual set of stats. This is leading to a change in the dynamics between marketers and publishers. An evolved relationship sees a shared commitment from both parties to benefit from the partnership in the best possible way.

Here are a few tips to maximise relationships and measure their real value:

1. Optimise business objectives: A good place to start is to look at how a publisher can help you give business directions, rather than just vanity numbers. A publisher who understands the core objective of your planned campaign can help you to achieve your goals.

For instance, if you have a campaign which aims to generate leads for your business, a good publisher should be able to guide you and place your content before the right audience. It’s the quality of the audience which is important rather than the quantity and rather than just driving traffic to your website, they can help actively drive referrals that you can track and that count.
Publishers are now working with advertisers to create a well-rounded 360 degrees approach, which is far more collaborative than just simply relaying CTR metrics back to you after a campaign has finished.

2. Be Transparent: Advertising and the media industry are symbiotically connected. One can’t succeed without the other. Being transparent with your publisher on how a campaign is performing helps. This will ensure accountability for delivering results are shared and are held to the same standards as marketers, resulting in development of stronger bonds. We have seen campaigns where post-click data has been shared with publishers, which has provided a useful feedback loop for both sides to look at how they can improve the campaign.

3. Research Relevant Partnerships – Pay attention to the type of content along with the writing style produced by the publisher and whether it is in line with the content generated by your brand. This will help to assure greater engagement with your target audiences as the copy will be similar to the journalistic style of your publisher.

4. Trade their capabilities – To understand the real value of your publisher partnership look at its reach and quality of audience. Find out if they have the right data, insight and deep relations with their audiences for you to leverage it effectively.

Data sharing is something that can prove effective in the long run. If brands are willing to share post-click data and publishers the user data, it can be beneficial for both the parties as it provides them with a comprehensive view of a campaign.

5. Negotiate, Review, Evolve – Finally it boils down to the commercial aspect of the relationship. Measuring your priorities with a publisher involves looking at revenues and budgets spent with them to see if this reaches up to your goals.

A viable arrangement looks at the ROI but also understands that ultimately publishers are looking to create more value for their readers. When they are rewarded for bringing in the right prospects, they generate more value through their platform. This is a win-win situation for all. Your brand campaign gets in front of the right audience, publishers make money, and the end users gets the content suited to their needs.

In the end, it is always important to remember that advertisers and journalism are in a mutual relationship. However much we talk about creativity and brand campaign, readers don’t subscribe to the Financial Times or the New York Times for its advertising, but its content.

gAbout Mark Bembridge:

Mark is the founder of Smartology and has spent over a decade developing cutting edge semantic technology solutions within publishing, social media and advertising. Prior to Smartology he co-founded an executive search firm where he opened the company’s first London office and helped sell the business to Alexander Mann 4 years later. He went on to co-found Leiki closing deals with The Financial Times, BBC and Sun Microsystems before spinning off the UK business in 2010 and re-branding as Smartology.

Smartology is an associate member of World Media Group.


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