Casting Light on Network Transparency

Q&A
Jason Oates

NetMargin’s VP of Media Services, Jason Oates, explains how internal and external transparency aligns partners and drives performance.

How does transparency help advertisers and affiliates?

When publishers and advertisers share data with each other, they have an opportunity to increase profitability and improve lead quality, making the entire system work better. Transparency is vital to building trusted and prosperous long-term relationships for all stakeholders.

What types of data should be shared between advertisers and publishers?

I’ll focus on a few that have the biggest impact in the email channel.

Publishers: NetMargin expects email publishers to provide detailed stats (e.g., open and click rates) when testing new creative against established controls or top-performing creative. It’s also helpful if publishers can provide context around how advertisements are targeted (e.g. list type, click behavior, demo, age, geo, etc.).

Advertisers: Advertisers should provide back-end performance reporting by a) Media Channel (e.g., email, search and banners) and b) Source (Publisher or List). Advertisers should be able to share actual numbers or performance indexes on things like call center contact rates, conversion rates, cost per sale, duplication rate, charge-back rates, percent U.S. IPs, and percent of leads falling into primary and secondary customer targets. Detailed feedback is vital for publishers to make optimization decisions.

What are the benefits of sharing this level of information?

It’s simple: advertisers get higher quality leads, and publishers generate more revenue. By sharing creative performance with design teams, we can collaborate on developing better creative, which will improve consumer response and publisher’s eCPMs. Understanding targeting techniques also impacts the creative and optimization process. When advertisers share reporting, it’s easier for publishers to improve their targeting and drive higher eCPMs and payouts from advertisers. For example, if we can inform a publisher that their leads are scored poorly because 60 percent of those leads are males 18-24 when the advertiser’s target audience are females 35+, the publisher will have the opportunity to make the necessary changes to continue running the program.

What is the network’s role in ensuring there is transparency?

We do our best to establish expectations very early so that, by the time we launch a campaign, our partners understand what’s needed to succeed and achieve a competitive advantage. Most importantly, though, is to leverage and share data to prove that transparency drives performance.

How has transparency created a Balanced Scorecard (BSC) approach to pricing?

The Balanced Scorecard is a strategic performance management tool for measuring whether the smaller-scale operational activities of a company are aligned with its larger-scale objectives in terms of vision and strategy. By establishing performance metrics tied to financial, operational, marketing and developmental goals and creating pricing tiers against those metrics, we can ensure strong and sustainable returns for advertisers and reward the highest-performing publishers.

Can you give an example of how transparency has increased performance for both the merchant and the affiliates?

One of our advertisers is providing age and gender information for every lead generated by each publisher so that they can see how their leads align with the client’s targeting goals. One of our publishers adjusted the campaign’s target audience and their effective CPC jumped from $1 to $1.35 within 24 hours.