Publishers’ powerful context delivers more than clicks for brands


The tide is turning for publisher brands as the realisation of their true power dawns – the content, engagement and trust they offer advertisers is far more valuable online than simply measuring clicks and immediate actions. Katie Hartley, Group Account Director in the Media Product Team at Amplifi @Carat, explains how Dentsu Aegis Network is harnessing this power for brands.

Katie Hartley Media Product Director Amplifi publishing press marketing

Publishers’ powerful context is cross platform

In 2015 there was much support in the industry press for the power of the publisher brands and the valuable context they offer to advertisers. Following a long period of under-appreciation for the channel and focus on declining print numbers, many saw it as ‘the pendulum swinging back’. Quite right too! We are awash with stats that prove the publisher mix of destination content, engagement and trust makes for an extremely powerful advertising proposition.

What the market deserves now is greater recognition that this powerful context isn’t just the reserve of print editions. Digital touchpoints deliver this context at scale and offer a layer of targeting and creative capabilities that further enhances this.

Forget clicks, brand digital display delivers ROI

Publishers have notoriously struggled to fully monetise their digital touchpoints. In the face of cheaper competition, their premium environments, often with premium costs attached, can measure up less favourably against performance metrics imposed.

Arguably, this is because digital display in its entirety is challenged on its brand campaigns more than other channel. Despite clarity around branding objectives, we still continue to measure the cost per click or action anyway, just because we can. And once we have that information, we can’t help but make decisions based on it, otherwise we’d have to recognise that there was no point in measuring it. Perhaps we could do well to remember Einstein’s old adage that, ‘’not everything that can be counted, counts’’!

The Datalicious new study and white paper around digital attribution modelling sheds some much needed support on the power of digital display for brand - ‘indirectly influencing and building brand awareness that is then captured further down the purchase path by other channels such as search’.  It goes on to suggest that measuring digital branding by action alone, undervalues its role in ROI by 749%!

If the Datalicious piece is to signal a greater appreciation for true branding digitally without the shackles of performance-based metrics, then an appreciation for environment and in turn publishers’ offering ought to quickly follow.

Digital Publishing offers an ideal context for brands 

The brand rub effect, where we see the emotional values the reader has with the publisher brand transferred onto the advertiser brand, is just as true online as it is in print, making it a perfect environment for brand activity.

The InSkin/Rapp study reveals that users are twice as likely to like an ad if it is on a site they determine to be ‘good quality’.

The study emphasises this with examples from both news and magazine brands:

  • Clinique ad is 88% more likely to be rated positively on Marie Claire than on lesser-known sites
  • Land Rover ad is 71% more likely to be rated positively on the Independent website than on lesser-known sites.

This valuable digital context is growing at pace

72% of all adults now consume publishing across their digital touchpoints – this is double that of two years ago and yet is still likely to be a conservative figure given so many magazine publishers’ mobile reach is excluded from the NRS PADD survey.

The recent Flurry Analytics report highlights the increasing importance of mobile publishing in particular, showing that interactions on newsbrand and magazine brand apps posted growth of 135% in 2015. This scale of growth was second only to personalisation, beating all other categories including shopping, messaging and social!

Newer and anticipated touchpoints from the tech giants, Facebook Instant Articles, Google AMPs, Twitter Beyond 140 and Apple News are only set to make publisher content even more accessible and grow their reach even further. 

DAN’s new publisher planning solution capitalises on this context 

There is a clear need to remedy the disconnect between audience behaviour and traditional media planning methods - which often result in reduced budgets year on year thanks to the industry’s continued spotlight on circulation declines!

The 2017 launch of PAMCO (Publishers Audience Measurement Company) should engender this change across the market. But 2017 is too far away. We need to deliver better campaigns for our clients now.

In recognition of the significant value and scale that publisher digital touchpoints now represent, we have built a publisher planning solution to address this disconnect for our clients.

Called Publishing Stack, it includes a tool that considers all touchpoints, relative to the brand situation and KPI, acknowledging achievable scale and strengths including the relationship between exposure and effect. It does so by utilising DAN’s wealth of knowledge of experience from the bespoke CCS Survey data as well as the statistical analysis of over 1,000 case studies. The output is a recommendation on budget splits across the different touchpoints in order to achieve optimum delivery.

Unsurprisingly, for the majority of campaigns put through Stack, there has been an increased level of digital recommended to achieve this optimal delivery. Clients benefit from the same environmental context of the print product, but can overlay this with the targeting capabilities of digital too - so rather than buying all of a title’s audience as we do in print, the digital piece delivers just to the audience intended. However, we must be mindful of staying true to the purpose of these enhanced campaigns, not measuring an action just because we can, confident in the indirect delivery of ROI from brand activity online as highlighted by Datalicious.

Only by planning in this way, can we deliver solutions for clients that truly harness the power of publishing, wherever it lives, reaching the right person, in the right context.

Katie Hartley Media Product Director Amplifi publishing press marketing
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