I recently read a study that concluded that on average, people “give up” and start letting themselves go around two years into their marriage. That’s crazy to think about. Not that I’m as svelte as I once was, but we’re talking about millions and millions of people who stood up in front of friends and family, promised to love each other unconditionally, and then basically said, “Now that you’re contractually bound to love me, I’ll be at Taco Bell.” And that’s just the married people. If we expand that to include friendships, family relationships, and business partnerships, we may each have hundreds of relationships that lost their luster long ago.
So, how do our relationships remain attractive as time goes on? Single platform consolidation has been a major industry trend of late, and like any major relationship, it’s a big commitment that comes with potential benefits, as well as a number of risks. We have all done a great job of selling advertisers on the potential benefits of consolidation, but it’s worth giving due consideration to the risks.
Here are five reasons why it’s worth working with more than one performance partner:
One partner can’t reach everyone
Many partners will tell you that there’s no need to work with anyone else because they reach 99% of the internet audience themselves. What they mean is that they have access to 99% of the internet audience through their integrations with the various exchanges. Access is a commodity. Everyone has access. Your budgets are always limited, so your challenge isn’t accessing users; it’s choosing amongst them. What you need is optimization technology that values every user in real time, buying the right users for the right price. Through machine learning, optimization is becoming better every day, but no partner can promise perfection across billions of ad decisions. Every partner will value users differently based on their algorithm and the data they have on the user. This makes every partner unique, and their campaign reach unique as well—not duplicative.
You can’t be sure your chosen vendor is “the best”
Without a comparison, how do you know your chosen platform is the best? If you’re only working with one partner, you can’t be sure your current engagement rate, reach, or cost per conversion are as good as you can possibly get. That isolation could be costing you sales and potential customers. Instead, consider whether adding a few complimentary partners to your buy through a regimen of regular testing could help ensure you are truly getting superior results for your business.
Technology is constantly evolving
It seems obvious, but we are in an ever-evolving industry. Just because your single partner meets most of your needs right now, it’s not likely to be the case forever. Multiple partners give you quick and easy access to new ideas and opportunities as they become available. You don’t want your competitors to be the only ones with access to technology that meets your industry’s evolving needs.
They are called partners for a reason
Vendors don’t just provide access to media and technology. They bring with them a range of ideas, perspectives, and opinions. They have encountered problems, challenges, and solutions across a variety of campaigns, and can be consultants for your business and advertising needs. You may be stifling your perspective by always turning to the same consultant.
Diversity helps keep people honest
Partners should feel secure in partnerships—that’s how they take risks to achieve great things—but for the same reason you’re likely to hit the gym an extra day or two this week if your partner suddenly has a handsome new Italian coworker, Lorenzo; partners who know they are one of a handful aren’t likely to get complacent. A healthy dose of competition will keep partners transparent and acting in your best interests.
I do see the rationale in working with only one partner, but why not invest in making sure you are getting everything you need out of your relationship? Don’t fall into your own two-year slump. Test new vendors. Seek out another POV. Skip the Cheesy Gordita Crunch.
John Pullen is Exponential’s Executive Director of Performance Strategy and is responsible for accelerating North American revenue, overseeing the analysis of Exponential’s business and advertiser campaigns, and optimizing campaign performance for advertisers. Prior to his current role, John worked as Delivery Manager and Director of Performance Strategy at Exponential, which gave him the unique experience of running $100MM in campaigns across hundreds of advertisers. Before joining Exponential, John worked in Business Development at OrbitalATK.
John holds an MBA from the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, and is based in Exponential’s Baltimore office.
This is the blog of Exponential Interactive Inc.,(www.exponential.com) a global provider of advertising intelligence and digital media solutions to brand advertisers.
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