I have asked a few publishers what data they can share with us so we can demonstrate to our advertisers the real value in the test activity they’ve done or the return on the extra up-front spend that they’ve invested to drive more sales. And over recent weeks it seems there is a trend emerging – we’re all starting to use data a little more smartly. A very encouraging sign of the industry continuing to mature.
I am always keen to see data, insight and results, which are outside of what it’s possible for networks to see (such as new users activated on cash back sites, search expertise shared by PPC publishers, statistics on hit and open rates from email publishers etc). This allows us in the middle to join up what we see, with what advertisers are measuring us against and finally what we can see across different channels and verticals. Knowing how publishers measure successes outside of simply driving more sales and commission is vital in proving to clients the significant value that all publisher types can bring to their plans, strategies and ultimately the bottom line.
Over time I have heard and read many things which pitch our industry as having huge reach, branding effects and real value in attracting new customers. I believe that all of these stand true but as budgets become more closely scrutinized and each channel fights for more of that budget, our industry needs to do all it possibly can to bring in more spend across the board.
I believe that there are four key areas where we can work with not only publishers but advertisers and agencies to bring together our expertise and insight to achieve these goals:
> Affiliate marketing is unique – the ‘umbrella’ nature of the channel means that we can see multiple channels in one data set whilst all others are separate. Delving deeper and comparing affiliate driven ppc, email, display against the pure play activity could be a very valuable piece of work.
> Breadth of the data – networks and affiliates have multiple clients in a variety of verticals, which enables them to help advertisers evaluate how they compare against key KPI’s within the industry and highlight key areas to protect and develop across their program.
> Overlaying industry data with overall published online trends – I believe there is a true benefit in being able to demonstrate the values of the channel. If as an industry we can positively respond to any published data highlighting effectiveness of other channels, and show how affiliate marketing offers even more value, we could go some way to securing more budget.
> The need for collaboration – so that we can show the whole picture to any audience whether it be other channels, advertisers or affiliates, it is key to know from all parties how they are performing against standardized KPI’s, which may not just be conversion rate and basket value. What about inbox rates, open rates, frequency of spend?
We all owe a lot to numbers and it’s always been a numbers game, so now is the time to give a little back and pay them some attention.
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