Media For Brands On A Budget

"Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Jason Dille, vice president of media at Chemistry.

Nature tends to favor the large – except when it doesn’t. Take the African elephant, the largest land-based animal on the planet, which doesn’t really get messed with by any other living creature roaming the savannah. The tiny mouse, however, possesses the ability to terrify even the biggest elephant.

I would contend that brands large and small can make the most of a tight budget, get transparency and feel confident with their media partner.

Brands get pushed into one media bucket or another based on size. That’s simply wrong. What if one doesn’t have millions to spend on media and maybe only has a regional focus? Many big agencies and holding companies wouldn’t provide the necessary time to make a business impact. Instead, they would likely put junior-level people on the account team, which then changes every six months. Brands on a budget still deserve strong, experienced agency partners and visibility into how their funds are being managed.

Brands must understand the margins from the agency and inventory provider. Agencies that rely heavily on managed-service agreements typically pay a much higher margin to vendors. If they do not have an in-house self-serve demand-side platform (DSP) option, about 40-50% of media funds will likely get eaten up by managed-service fees while the agency has someone else to do their work. An agency should have control over how a brand bids, where it bids, what is bid on and the data segments that will produce the best results. If the number of vendors is reduced, margins will also shrink.

How can brands stay safe within digital media? Brand-safety providers such as DoubleVerify, Moat and IAS may add additional cost to a campaign but cannot eliminate questionable content with 100% accuracy. Agencies can implement safety measures, such as vetting inventory providers and creating all-encompassing block lists, without using brand-safety vendors. If the agency has an in-house DSP, it probably also has access to safety providers and can add to campaigns for little to no cost.

What about campaign reporting? Google Analytics may say 50 visits, but a vendor report might say 75. Brands must become comfortable with a variance in data between tracking sources. Each methodology has its differences; nonetheless, brands should pick one and stick to it so their agency can optimize more effectively. Tracking doesn’t function as an exact science. Some devices or browsers have poorer tracking, resulting in variances.

If brands need cross-channel attribution, they also can use third-party ad serving exclusively to cut costs. These systems incur additional costs that ultimately remain unnecessary unless there is a certain level of ad spending. Agencies should be able to provide detailed reporting and insights on conversions or leads without chipping away at working media dollars.

Like I said, small doesn’t always equate with limited. Just ask any mouse.

Follow Chemistry (@VisitTheLab) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.


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