Posts

In-House or Outsourced? Answering the Age Old Question

When it comes to deciding between building an in-house digital team or outsourcing activity to an agency the question remains; is there really a best practice? While there are no hard-and-fast rules, we’ve included some suggestions that can help you decide where you want to invest your resources.

Some industry experts suggest that whether you outsource or keep work in-house depends on specialisation – the more specialised the work, the better it is to outsource. The logic behind this stems from the high costs – or more accurately, the hidden costs, associated with hiring full-time staff: benefits, training, pension, and paid vacation. Outsourced agencies are often cheaper – they might charge more upfront, but they are not as costly as on boarding a new full-time employee. There is little overhead involved in terms of provisions.  Another added benefit: the results are highly focused to get the job done.

The downside to outsourcing? Agencies can have many clients and you might be on the bottom of their food chain when it comes to prioritising who gets the most attention. This is why choosing the correct agency is fundamental to success. Internal teams can generally be cobbled together quicker and pulled off other projects to resolve an urgent problem immediately. But ultimately outsourcing is a great idea when you require a  definitive and specialised strategy.

Let’s break it down by category:

PPC – Both

When looking to run PPC activity it depends upon the life stage of your business and campaign size. Most companies start small, with in-house PPC activity but when it comes to trying to scale business growth campaigns begin to get too large and costly. At this stage, the company may be in a better position to afford outside agencies that can conduct efficient and cutting edge campaigns. A good outsourced agency will also develop close-knit relationships with their clients, becoming a veritable extension of the team and it only feels “out of house” by virtue of their location.

Once a company is significantly mid-sized, it’s often better to outsource to a digital specialist, since they often have expertise that multi-channel marketers are lacking and don’t have the time to invest in. Large companies often split efforts between in-house PPC for smaller campaigns while passing off the heavy lifting and high-end campaigns to outside agencies. Sometimes in-house can run spend into the ground because they don’t have the in-depth knowledge or scope to absorb new technologies or techniques as efficiently as possible.

Display – Outsource

The general consensus is that Display activity is better outsourced than held in-house. Why? It’s too specialised and would require a trained individual, fully immersed in Display activity for it to be viable, as they need to provide accurate attribution, and assessment activities. Most small companies rely on having a ‘Jack-of-All-Trades’ marketing person dabbling in PPC, Social, SEO and Display. For bigger campaigns, it’s best to spend the money and get a specialist who really knows what they’re doing, has the time to run campaigns across several channels, and the time to devote to using a multitude of tools.

Paid Social – Outsource

Social is like PPC in that, depending on your situation, the pendulum can swing both ways. The basic break down is this: Paid Social should be outsourced, Organic social, kept in-house. If the company is relatively small it’s best to save money and keep activity in-house. Paid Social has moved well beyond just occasionally “boosting” posts. It now has a vast array of complex, time-intensive, targeting techniques that might be best handled by specialists who won’t waste precious ad-spend targeting the wrong group of people, and who can also quickly, and correctly analyse data for the next campaign.

Integrating Your Digital Strategy

Lastly, a benefit that cannot be overlooked is an outsourced digital agency’s ability to deliver a fully integrated approach. Outsourcing doesn’t have to be siloed into just one area. In fact, a cross-channel digital strategy is far more effective. Integrating your strategy means that campaigns results can be deduped for higher accuracy, advertisers gain a better understanding of the customer journey, audience lists can be built and used in retargeting across channels, and it is easier to deliver a full-funnel approach.

If you’re looking to scale business growth and run integrated digital activity in a  quick, efficient and cost-effective manner, a digital agency already has the capacity to hit the ground running with a workhorse of a team behind them.

The Future of Programmatic Advertising with Kristina Kasalova

Programmatic Account Manager, Kristina Kasalova, recently spoke at the Global Academy of Digital Marketing’s (GADM), “Evolution of Programmatic” hosted by AppNexus. Alongside industry experts, Kristina discussed the future of programmatic by exploring the ways in which it’s evolved over the past five years, and useful stratgeies for brands to implement for the changes that lie ahead.

What do you see as the biggest barrier to programmatic advertising at the moment? And what is being done to progress past this?

Programmatic has become mainstream now which means a lot of simplifications and misunderstandings of the term are present among new users. There is still some misunderstanding that programmatic, or even more so, RTB, is an efficient but somewhat dodgy way of getting performance out of your display activity. For others, while this notion is no longer case, see programmatic as a singular answer for everything without understanding the underlying principles. Programmatic is a very wide term nowadays and we need to be clear about it, especially when someone is new to the concept.

Programmatic buys have evolved radically in recent months and we are now able to use them with confidence across all stages of the customer journey – awareness, research, branding, remarketing and re-engagement. All of the above use programmatic as a principle, however the execution is different, and it is the key to understanding the variability within the industry, and to finding the option which best suits your marketing goals and business objectives. A crucial piece is to understand the variety under the term “programmatic” and learn a bit about differences between the options.

What really differentiates programmatic today from programmatic 5 years ago?

A couple of years back, programmatic meant audience buys across sub-par quality inventory, using standardized flash creatives and broad data segments. Fortunately, this is no longer the case – first and third party data is much richer now, and allows us to target even niche audiences at particular stages of their customer journey. We can target from discovery, through research, and the consideration phases, all the way up to re-engagement, and keeping brand loyalty.
Inventory quality has improved significantly in only 2-3 years. This was driven both by publishers, who became savvy about opportunities of programmatic (preferred deals or programmatic guaranteed can be as profitable as traditional direct buys), and ad exchanges, who stepped up and started to monitor and filter poor inventory in their marketplaces. It was also picked up on by advertisers and agencies who started to use brand safety and viewability verification tools and hence, created demand for better quality inventory.

Creative options have grown as well, partially driven by wider use of an HTML5 format, although this was initially semi-forced onto advertisers by major players in the industry. HTML5 is more transparent and offers less heavy loading than flash files, which gives advertisers the opportunity to use more engaging and high-impact formats with embedded videos, or additional features (surveys, galleries, microsites, etc.). Publishers are also more open to accept various ad size formats through RTB, which provides more options for their creative ideas. Altogether, this means that is it easier than ever to create engaging ads in various formats.

Where do you think advertisers should really be spending their time and energy when it comes to their campaigns?

Data and creative. Marketers need to know their target audience and that’s when the owned data come in handy. Even advertisers who have little to no experience with display advertising almost certainly have data which can help them understand what their audience likes, and how to reach them more effectively. Insights from Google Analytics, from transactions on the site, PPC activity, or their CRM database, all of these can be used to inform the initial targeting profile or even multiple profiles. The initial statistics from existing data can be used in campaigns, tested and refined further with additional insights on user preferences and behavior. Using the data will help brands become more relevant to audiences and spend their budget more efficiently on the vast scale of inventory available in display. At later stages you can look into using third party data or build a custom data model through a data management platform, but always make sure you know what your goals are in terms of the data you have, want to collect, and need, for more refined targeting.

Think of creative as an online shop window. In many cases, users know nothing about the brand or product being advertised, hence, it is important that the creative is engaging, trustworthy and relevant for them. The relevancy is related to targeting and data to a high degree, but engagement and trustworthiness are the design factors. Creatives should prepare users for what they can expect on the website, and from the product or service. An interesting ad is more likely to spark attention and engage users, creating the desire to explore the product further. This only works if the ad is trusted. If the ad is not deemed trustworthy, why would they bother to come to the site and convert? So although flashy ads can spark attention, think about whether this is actually sending the message you want to the customer. As in a brick-and-mortar business, you might not get second chance to talk to the same user and convince them about your product, so having a trustworthy creative is crucial.

How can advertisers use data more effectively?

The most efficient use of data comes from a clear understanding of the objectives you want to achieve and being aware of the options available to you.

Knowing your goals will guide you through the definition of what data you need and also how to go through the journey of accomplishing it. Being aware of the options on the market will give you edge when thinking about actual implementation and help you find the best solution for your brand. This means that you should know what data you have readily available  and also know how to use it to achieve your goals.

For instance, if you want to know what customer segments buy what type of product in your eShop, you most likely know what items are sold together, and what day of the week and time of day works best, how many times they come to your site before completing a purchase, how they came to your site, and many other details. Your site analytics might even give you an estimate of the demography of your site visitors. All of this helps paint a picture of your audience. Once you put all this information together, it will be easier to identify the missing parts of data which will help you refine your strategy. Some of the missing data might be available to buy from 3rd parties, others, you will need to gather yourself through testing. This is a continuous process as your company goals and audience evolves.

Download the presentation slides here: Recalculating Creative Trajectory

Want to know more about 2016’s trends? Download our mid-year review 

What the Future Holds for Online Display Advertising

On the 22nd of January, Net Media Planet’s Sri Sharma and Andrew Turner joined PerformanceIN for an exclusive webinar on Display Advertising: What to Expect in 2015.
 
As the fastest growing digital advertising channel, Online Display Advertising is rapidly becoming a critical channel for UK advertisers. Now is the time for marketers to adapt to the developments in Online Display Advertising in order to maximise their online performance across multiple channels and devices.
 

 
Sri and Andrew discuss four areas that show growth and promise in 2015:
 

 
(1) Programmatic Growth Through Video: Part of the reason Online Display Advertising is growing so rapidly is because of Programmatic Video Advertising. More video inventory is becoming available to purchase programmatically through sources such as 4OD and Google Preferred. Also, online video consumption is expected to grow by 9% this year.
 
(2) Facebook Steals a Charge: While Google holds the largest percentage of market share, Facebook is growing faster at a rate of 15.6% growth versus Google’s 1.8%. We are seeing increasing advertising performance through Facebook, which will lead to an increase in spend from advertisers; and, Facebook’s DSP, Atlas, is expected to revolutionise cross-device remarketing.
 
(3) Richness of Creatives: Rich creative formats such as dynamic ads; expandable mobile ads; and native advertising, will drive Online Display Advertising engagement. Expect standard banner ads to get superseded by these new rich creatives and Programmatic Native Advertising will open up whole new growth.
 
(4) Wearables Meet Display: Wearable technology has shown incredible growth over the past year and as it becomes more mainstream Online Display Advertising opportunities are sure to follow. FitAd is the first company to sell online display ads programmatically across wearables. This technology will allow advertisers to target based on location, body signals and activity.
 
To get more in-depth insights on Online Display Advertising, watch the full video of the webinar:
 

 
Download the slides:
 

 
If you have any questions or would like to speak with one of our Display Specialists, visit our Contact Us page or call us at 020 186 2100.

Join Our Free Display Advertising Insights Webinar

Display Advertising: What to Expect in 2015

Date: Thursday, 22 January 2015 at 2:00 PM (GMT)
Featuring: CEO, Sri Sharma & Head of Display Sales, Andrew Turner
 

 
Net Media Planet is pleased to announce that we will be joining up with PerformanceIN to share our predictions for Online Display Advertising in 2015.
 
As the fastest growing digital advertising channel, Online Display Advertising is rapidly becoming a critical channel for UK advertisers.Learn more about what the future holds for Online Display Advertising across the areas of Programmatic, Mobile and Video display advertising.
 
We will explore how marketers should adapt to developments in Online Display Advertising expected in 2015 in order to maximise their online performance across multiple channels and devices.
 
Spaces are limited so register today!

Case Study: Building a new customer base in the UK

We are pleased to share a new case study of our work with well-known international travel brand, Sunweb. Adopting a new approach, we integrated Paid Search and Display advertising to help effectively reach a new audience and successfully help build a customer base in the UK.

 

Challenge

Sunweb are a leading international specialist tour operator. They have an established customer base in Europe and were looking to increase brand awareness in the UK and build its customer base locally. They appointed us to help them achieve this through Paid Search and Display advertising. We believed that we could use an integrated Paid Search and Display advertising strategy to increase brand awareness and drive incremental bookings in the UK.

 

Our Approach

Sunweb has some brand awareness in the UK, and as such already has some existing traffic to the website from UK consumers. To capture this existing search traffic, we launched a Paid Search campaign promoting Sunweb’s holiday services through a series of text ads. Messaging was designed specifically to drive consumers directly to the website.

 

To expand reach further, we implemented a Programmatic Display prospecting campaign promoting Display ad placements on contextually relevant websites. This approach was designed to target new consumers who fit a pre-defined audience profile, who we believed would have an active interest in the type of holiday being offered by Sunweb.

 

To drive more online bookings, we analysed campaign conversion data to pinpoint the times at which most on-site conversions were made. Using this data, we commenced a retargeting campaign to pursue our target consumers at times when we knew that they would be most likely to convert.

 

Results

The campaign has been a great success. Since launch, UK revenue has increased by +96% and bookings by +36% month on month. At the same time we have also managed to decreased cost per acquisition by 73%.

 

For further information on this campaign, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by contacting Digby at [email protected]