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Partnering for Ecommerce Performance
Four Benefits Online Retailers Get Partnering with a Performance Marketing Network
These are trying times for retailers as COVID-19 has forced widespread shutdowns of offline retail stores. Even while budgets have shifted significantly to eCommerce, those budgets are still being squeezed. When marketing budgets are challenged, there is a stronger demand for ROI and optimizing advertising performance takes on even greater importance for marketers. CMOs must focus even more on how and where to gain this additional performance. What type of budget allocation shifts do I need to make? What traffic channels will meet my new performance goals? How can I quickly scale up my product exposure to acquire new customers? What type of technology and expertise are needed?
If these are on-going concerns for you or if your organization has been struggling to reach performance goals with an affiliate partnership or in another network relationship, a fully managed Retail Performance Marketing Network might be the right option to explore.
What is a Performance Marketing Network and How Does It Operate?
As the name implies, a fully managed Performance Marketing Network is focused first and foremost on delivering performance against the goals you set as an advertiser. Those goals can be based on revenue growth, goals for consistent conversions at a target Cost-of-Sale (COS), goals for new customer acquisition or any number of metrics you deem to be the KPIs of your campaign. No matter what your goals, the aim of a performance marketing network is to deliver against those goals while taking the burden of marketing operations and on-going campaign optimization off the advertiser.
Connexity, like most performance marketing networks, generally follows a broad set of engagement steps to launch, manage and optimize campaigns on behalf of a retail advertiser.
1. Goals and KPIs – The advertiser’s goals are discussed and agreement is reached on terms of the campaign including budget and performance targets.
2. Product & Tracking Data – Product feed data is provided and performance tracking enabled via a tracking pixel or regular updates of anonymized conversion statistics.
3. Ad/Offer Syndication – Connexity syndicates product offers across an array of traffic sources carefully selected to ramp up the campaign and aimed to meet the retailer’s campaign goals.
4. Campaign Optimization – Ad spend and performance to the retailer’s goals is constantly monitored. Campaign technology and analysts make adjustments on-the-fly to stay on target.
5. Performance Review – Performance results are reviewed with the retailer on a regular cycle and adjustments to goals and budgets are made as needed.
How You Benefit
The Performance Marketing Network allows advertisers to have a simplified engagement model. Ad operations are streamlined, enabling you to direct strategic execution and to hold the network accountable while not worrying about the day-to-day campaign optimization mechanics. This type of engagement has four key benefits.
1. You Don’t Have to Invest in Traffic Source Relationships
A huge investment is made by Performance Marketing Networks to both aggregate and nurture sources of high-quality traffic. Relationships with numerous traffic sources are negotiated on behalf of advertisers. This investment in traffic source relationships is considered proprietary business knowledge with source names and composition often protected against competitive market forces. While it may be attractive for a retailer to consider developing direct relationships with traffic suppliers, the investment in scaling these relationships, the effort necessary to monitor and nurture traffic quality and the technology necessary to empower shopping experiences with channels becomes cost prohibitive for individual retailers.
Connexity has gone to great lengths to secure direct relationships with thousands of publishers and traffic supply channels. The unique value of our traffic sources over alternative networks can be found in three elements; focus, variety and scale.
A. Focus – Unlike networks who attract sources with mixed traffic focuses, our focus is exclusively on retail-oriented traffic. This ensures marketers can trust they are included in on-brand content with high retail intent.
B. Variety – The variety of sources we have across retail search, retail-oriented publisher content and social media influencers is also critical for optimizing to any number of goals advertisers may have.
C. Scale – The scale of the Connexity network is important in our ability to find new and hard-to-reach shoppers for incremental growth.
2. You Get Performance Driven by Expertise
Another area of heavy investment by Performance Networks is in expertise – expertise refined through the application of tested technology and analytics practices. Marketing technology systems and expert analyst teams are necessary for optimization against changes in traffic supply and shifts in campaign priorities. Sophisticated monitoring of traffic quality and multi-channel ad performance enables smart bidding systems to adjust spend volume and traffic pricing on-the-fly based on these variables.
But keep in mind that good tech and analytics are the minimum requirements to deliver performance. Not all performance is the same. You want incremental opportunities not otherwise reachable in your direct efforts. You want expertise to deliver truly outsized performance. This requires a partner with intimate knowledge of the network and experience with how it can be optimized. Partnering with a network that plays the role of only a middle-man isn’t enough. A network operator, like Connexity, who works within the network engages directly with deployment of content to traffic sources and understands what value each channel can deliver. This intimate knowledge enables a higher level of performance.
3. Your Resources Can Play to Their Strengths
If, like most advertisers, your organization is challenged to increase revenue or move more units and if justifying resources is a constant struggle, then you arguably don’t have the time or bandwidth necessary to develop in-house expertise in traffic channel development and detailed campaign management. Your resources are better spent developing great products and steering growth strategies for the business.
The mechanics of high-performance campaign optimization is what Performance Networks do best. It’s necessary for a Performance Network to constantly monitor traffic sources and ad performance, making optimizations within intraday (and sometimes hourly) increments. Monthly and even weekly channel strategy adjustments just isn’t frequent enough to optimize the budgets being spent every day on acquiring consumer traffic.
With a fully managed network like Connexity investments have already been made in superior traffic sources, ad tech and campaign optimization processes. Take advantage of those investments and use them to drive the results you need.
4. You Get a Free Managed Service
That’s right. I said free. With better Performance Marketing Networks, the managed service is part of doing business. It’s the cost we incur to gain and keep the trust of our clients through performance. Unlike affiliate networks, where retailers may pay regular service fees, Connexity operates on the premise that our network value and superior campaign management is the foundation of the performance value we deliver. So, retail advertisers aren’t charged regular service fees or “nickel and dimed” for extra features. Your agreed budget is what you pay.
While the Performance Marketing Network may require a cost-per-click (CPC) budget model vs a cost-per-acquisition (CPA) budget, this investment in premium CPC rates only ensures the advertiser is remaining competitive by actively bidding on the high-intent, high-quality retail traffic available in the best channels.
The Bottom Line
The Performance Marketing Network is a one-stop-shop for reaching a diverse set of consumer traffic opportunities and for maximizing incremental sales and revenue growth. The managed service model streamlines engagement enabling retailers to focus their own resources and efforts on developing products, not worrying about campaign execution. This type of full-service approach allows the retailer to leverage the investments a network provider has already made in refined technology and expertise, investments at the scale most retail advertisers are simply not prepared to make on their own.
Connexity is uniquely valuable not only for the focus, variety and scale of our traffic sources but is also unique in our position as a network operator. As an operator, Connexity is more intimately familiar with the sources of our traffic, something an affiliate network playing a middle man role cannot achieve. This intimacy enables greater performance against nearly any goal and KPI the retailer may demand. For these reasons we attract retailers looking for truly outsized performance and retailers who need incremental growth with reach and scale unattainable in their direct engagements.