By Peter Klein | SVP, Media Services
Accountability and accuracy are two issues that seem to forever plague the performance marketing industry. Whenever advertisers and publishers call for greater accountability from their affiliate networks, they are often met with silence.
Since we believe strongly in high standards of accountability, we set out earlier this year to improve the results of the click-to-call campaigns run through MonetizeIt, the MediaWhiz affiliate network. We found the perfect partner to do so, RingRevenue, the industry-leading provider of call performance marketing solutions. In February we partnered with RingRevenue to develop a comprehensive pay-per-call program to drive high-quality inbound phone leads to advertisers.
Today, I am proud to announce preliminary results of that partnership. In just six months of partnering with RingRevenue to run our click-to-call campaigns, we have quadrupled total calls run through MonetizeIt. Calls driven through the network increased 64 percent during that time period.
Here are some more impressive statistics showcasing the success of MediaWhiz’s partnership with RingRevenue:
- MediaWhiz has doubled its number of advertisers earning revenue from click-to-call campaigns run through MonetizeIt in the six months since the partnership was signed.
- Click-to-call conversion rates in the network are 20 percent, exceeding the industry average.
- Publishers in the network earning commissions from click-to-call campaigns are experiencing an average 160-percent increase in earnings-per-publisher.
Needless to say, we’re very impressed with the performance of our click-to-call campaigns run in partnership with RingRevenue. Results of the partnership indicate it offers a lucrative opportunity for advertisers and publishers to increase their lead-conversion rates. (more…)
By Peter Klein | SVP, Media Services
There’s no doubt that performance marketing is a significant force in online marketing, and will continue to grow. What will 2013 have in store for the performance marketing industry? As I see it, there are four key trends that will influence performance marketers’ work in the new year:
1. More brands will invest in performance marketing. The 2012 IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report indicates that more than two-thirds of all marketing transactions will be paid for on a performance basis. Total U.S. spend on performance marketing will grow by almost $5 billion, to $25 billion in online advertising revenue, versus 2011 spend. This indicates that performance marketing will continue to dominate the online ad-spend model. Brands that consistently miss their online marketing ROI targets will comprise the majority of new spend on performance marketing campaigns, as they seek to take advantage of the industry’s guaranteed results. Traditional agencies will continue to focus on branding for their clients in the digital space, and farm out performance marketing budgets to trusted affiliate networks and marketers.
2. Lead quality and compliance take center stage. As brands continue to invest their marketing dollars in performance marketing, they will place increasing pressure on performance marketers to achieve their investment goals. The SaaS and lead quality product market will blossom. These two dynamic sectors of online markets will help advertisers pay for only top-quality leads, enabling performance marketers to get paid appropriately for such quality. The government will continue to get involved in online marketing regulations, such as Do Not Track legislation, and more states will attempt to pass nexus tax laws. Efforts will likely be minimally intrusive, and the industry will push for self-regulation efforts as a means to limit involvement.
3. Mobile lead-gen has its moment in the sun. Mobile marketing will become a much larger piece of the advertising budget in 2013. eMarketer forecasts 138 million smartphone users in the U.S. next year, comprising 43% of the total population. It will be critical for advertisers to optimize websites and create shorter lead-generation forms with click-to-call for mobile devices. In our “always on” world, consumers need instant gratification from the brands they allow into their online world. Advertisers that provide consumers with access to immediate customer service will win their business.
4. Consolidation of media channels. A larger premium will be placed on internal media sources to provide quality and consistency. As such, the lead-generation industry will see a continued and more aggressive consolidation of affiliate networks. Many affiliates will merge with or acquire one or more of their affiliate media sources. Specifically, many mailers and media buyers will join forces with networks to increase margin, reduce compliance risk and deliver on allocated budget to survive and create a competitive advantage.
By Peter Klein | SVP, Media Services
Editor’s note: The following post was originally published at CMO.com.
Long dismissed as a niche form of online marketing, performance marketing has become a multibillion-dollar force in the digital-media ecosystem. For CMOs, performance marketing, of which affiliate marketing comprises the largest share of revenue growth, is no longer a marketing strategy that can be ignored or delegated to junior-level marketing managers. It is now a driving force behind many brands’ online growth and customer-acquisition efforts. As such, it requires CMOs’ devout attention to properly use and scale in order to realize long-term customer-acquisition value.
The rise of affiliate marketing, and its growing influence with digital marketers, is no accident.
Affiliate marketing has existed for more than a decade. It helps advertisers achieve their ROI goals by using publishers (affiliates) to conduct their marketing efforts via multiple media channels on a pay-for-performance basis.
Affiliate marketing can be used for any vertical, brand, company, language, time frame, or demographic. Importantly, it is a useful testing ground for CMOs who desire online marketing channel options, instant gratification, speed, and a clear measurement of return on advertising spend (ROAS) or return on marketing (ROM) investment. In fact, many affiliate marketers are experts in industry metrics and traffic sources, and can help CMOs develop campaigns based on long-term brand and customer-acquisition. This is critical as the industry evolves into a larger mobile-consumer target.
But affiliate marketing’s benefits extend beyond lead generation. Affiliate marketing professionals and networks are at the forefront of innovative online marketing campaigns. The rise of social networking sites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pandora, were largely built on affiliate marketing ad spend revenues.
Every brand in the digital age needs a strong lead-generation component to its online marketing strategy. Affiliate marketing is CMOs’ answer to that need.
Read the rest of the article at CMO.com.
The benefits of affiliate marketing are more thoroughly explained in a new MediaWhiz insight paper from, “The CMO’s Guide to Affiliate Marketing.” It outlines critical steps CMOs should take to begin working with an affiliate; defines core terminology; and information on why it is critical for CMOs to invest some of their marketing spend in the affiliate marketing channel.
Will “nonline” shopping help thrwart the negative retail effects of showrooming?
By Keith Trivitt | @KeithTrivitt | Director, Marketing and Communications
As the 2012 holiday shopping season heats up, one trend many marketers and analysts will closely monitor is the concept of “showrooming.” Showrooming occurs when consumers try out merchandise in stores then go online to buy them, often at a discounted price.
Fifty-six percent of American consumers are expected to participate in some aspect of showrooming this holiday season, according to Mobile Marketer.
Showrooming is driving many brick-and-mortar retailers crazy as they attempt to thwart the effects of Amazon and other online retailers on their bottom line. It’s also causing several well-known global retail giants, including Best Buy, to seriously rethink the physical size and make-up of their stores.
So what’s a savvy retailer marketer to do in the wake of showrooming’s rise and dominance of commerce?
The marketing geniuses at Google might just have the answer. After surveying 1,500 holiday consumers about their shopping habits, Google has found that the “lines between online and offline commerce are blurring,” according to Direct Marketing News. Google details these findings in its recently released Pre-Holiday 2012 Consumer Intentions study.
Despite dire predictions within marketing ranks that consumers would start to skip physical stores entirely in favor of online shopping, Google’s study finds that isn’t the case. In fact, the distinction between online and offline shopping are disappearing.
The concept is called “nonline” shopping. And it may harken the next great wave in-store shopper marketing.According to the Google study, 51 percent of surveyed consumers intend to research a product online and visit the store to buy it; 32 percent plan on researching an item online, inspecting it in the store and then retreating back online to complete the transaction.
“I think the whole concept of nonline is customers are connected to brands at all times of the day, and they’re going to choose how they want to interact and, at the end of the day, purchase,” Brett Goffin, Google’s retail head of industry, told DMNews. “The retailers who understand that are going to be ones in the long-term that, we believe, are going to succeed.”
‘Nonline’ Shopping’s Lessons for Marketers
The Google study presents a multitude of insights for digital and shopper marketers.
According to Google’s Goffin two factors are contributing to the blurring of offline and online shopping: consumers’ rising comfort with online shopping and their decreased fears over online credit-card fraud. (more…)
Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt of an interview with Jeremy Leonard, SVP of strategy and operations at MediaWhiz, that was published Oct. 9, 2012, in Website Magazine. Read the full interview here.
If you’re looking for an edge (and who isn’t) check out Website Magazine‘s interview of Jeremy Leonard, the SVP of Strategy and Operations at digital media agency MediaWhiz and a real whiz when it comes to conversion optimization.
Numerous well-known names fill the MediaWhiz client roster including Nielsen, Home Depot, Discover and many others – and Leonard’s experience with these brands and their challenges shines through in the interview below, providing Website Magazine readers with compelling insights into high-level lead generation and conversion optimization, some guidance on the debate over form length, and how traffic quality and mobile devices are forcing advertisers to shift their approach quickly.
WM: FOR THOSE IN OUR AUDIENCE THAT AREN’T FAMILIAR WITH MEDIAWHIZ, DISCUSS THE AGENCY’S ROLE IN THE DIGITAL LANDSCAPE.
JL: MediaWhiz is an integrated digital media agency that works with brands to help them more profitably engage, acquire and retain customers. Clients include a broad range of leading advertisers such as Unilever, Nielsen, CarpetONE, The Lasik Vision Center, Home Depot, Discover and First PREMIER Bank.
Historically an online performance marketing agency we have evolved into a digital customer acquisition agency focused on direct response and lead generation. We have practice areas in affiliate marketing, search, creative display advertising, email, data acquisition and social media.
WM: WHY SHOULD AN AGENCY (OR ANYONE) BE CONCERNED WITH CONVERSION OPTIMIZATION WITHIN LEAD GENERATION SPECIFICALLY?
JL: Great question with several compelling answers:
Everyone should be concerned with conversion optimization for a very simple reason: consumer traffic to your website isn’t free. Even if your site traffic is coming from SEO or Facebook “Likes,” you spend time and money to generate that traffic. Marketers should naturally demand a return on that investment. That ROI should be in the form of consumers completing a specific call-to-action. In the world of lead generation, that call-to-action will be in the form of a qualified lead or sale.
Some advertisers may look at lead generation specifically and think, “Well, I’m only paying a publisher for a lead – why would I need to go to the trouble of making a site optimize properly? I don’t pay for anyone who doesn’t convert.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. Performance-based lead generators have hundreds of advertising offers that they can run to their display inventory, drop to their email lists or make SEM bids. The offer represented by your website is no better than if the publisher can’t generate a fair return on its media investment.
Poorly converting sites will result in a high number of clicks but a low number of leads; this instantly tells the publisher that the problem is not with its traffic but with your site. Your offer will be taken out of rotation, and you will be lucky if anyone sends traffic to your site again.
Read the rest of the interview here.
By Sultan Riaz | @Riaz_MediaWhiz | Marketing Coordinator
MediaWhiz’s leaders are continually sought after as resources for opinions, advice and expertise, based on our deep understanding of industry trends, the needs of our customers and the broader marketplace in which we operate.
For the week of Nov. 12-16, 2012, MediaWhiz experts were quoted or featured on a variety of digital media news and trends, including online lead-generation in the post-PC era; extolling the role and value of affiliate marketing; best practices for online lead conversion; and what it’s like to be a digital media buyer. | Read previous MediaWhiz In the News posts.
Roundtable Discussion: Lead Generation in a Post-PC World
DMConfidential | Nov. 15, 2012 | Featuring Ori Carmel
Ori Carmel, VP of performance strategy, MediaWhiz
To understand the impact of mobile on the lead-gen industry, and online marketing as a whole, marketers should look toward the developing countries in Africa and Central and South America. There they will find the future of mobile lead generation and e-commerce.
Lacking infrastructure, entire regions in the developing world have leapfrogged the PC era. People in these regions rely on mobile technology to operate and streamline many aspects of everyday life, including business interactions, regardless of how large or small those businesses are. At the click of a button individuals can conduct their entire business cycle, including acquiring new customers and solidifying existing ones through mobile-optimized e-commerce and lead-gen platforms.
For the lead-gen world, the implications are massive. As the U.S. transitions to the complete mobilization and personalization of both information and access, potential and existing consumers can now be reached at any time, in any place. This ongoing shift, which is only speeding up, is changing consumption patterns of information and purchasing right before our eyes. Marketers can gather more precise and relevant information to better tailor offers to behavioral and demographic profiles. Brands can pinpoint the exact moment at which the potential client is most receptive to signing up or converting.
Furthermore, with increasing resources going toward tailoring brands’ mobile presences and usability, consumers continually grow accustomed and now expect to be able to gather info, sign up and transact online. As a result, consumers are more receptive than ever to being targeted for intelligent, value-driven offers and opportunities on their mobile devices.
The future of PC usage in the U.S., or anywhere else for that matter, is far from obsolete. However, it is certainly past the growth stages of its life cycle.
Let’s Give Affiliate Marketing Its Due Respect
DMConfidential | Nov. 12, 2012 | Op-Ed by Peter Klein
Rodney Dangerfield would have loved affiliate marketing. It gets no respect, at least not from CMOs and senior marketers.
Long considered the ugly stepchild of digital marketing, affiliate marketing has grown to become one of the leading drivers of brands’ online marketing success. It accounts for more than $21 billion in online advertising revenues in 2011, according to the IAB.
Thankfully, this lack of respect is starting to change. Marketers are taking notice — affiliate marketing is a powerful force in brands’ online marketing strategies. Read more …
Editor’s note: “A Day In the Life” is a regular editorial series in which MediaWhiz employees discuss their work and lives and how the two interact.
Name: Ori Carmel
Title: Vice President of Performance Strategy
If you had to explain your job description in one tweet, what would it be?
Build mechanisms that are sophisticated and advanced. Provide quality services and quality leads to companies. Make real money.
How do you commute to work on a daily basis?
I take the 1 train from the Upper West Side. I try switch to the 3 train when it comes across [the platform]. The commute usually takes about 30-35 minutes.
What is the first thing you like to do when you get in the office?
What is the first thing you like to do (work related) when you get in the office?
I usually check my email first to see if there is anything urgent from the night before. We have people who are working on the West Coast, so a lot of times there are urgent things coming from those offices. Otherwise, I check emails to start the workday. (more…)
By Peter Klein | SVP, Media Services
Editor’s note: The following post was originally published in DMConfidential.
I typically write about performance marketing, but in the wake of being harshly affected by Hurricane Sandy, as so many others up and down the East Coast have been, I am going to write about appreciation. As I write, my family and I are on day eight of life on Long Island with no electricity, no heat, no TV and, worst of all, no Internet access! This situation has helped put into perspective what I take for granted as part of my daily life.
I have friends and family that have had their homes flooded or destroyed entirely, all while I escaped with only minor property damage and transformation of my home into a wine cellar at 55 degrees. I haven’t slept more than a few hours in the last week.
Trees and power lines are down. School has been closed all week, and Halloween offered a much-needed break. Lines of 50-100 cars and three-hour waits to get gas can still be found on every major street corner. My car has become an expensive generator to charge my phone. My office, located on Water Street in Manhattan’s Financial District, has been closed since the storm. Regardless, I continue to repeat to myself: “I am lucky, and I appreciate what I have.”
It’s amazing what the human spirit can overcome, and there are many positives to take away from this experience. (more…)
By Sultan Riaz | @Riaz_MediaWhiz | Marketing Coordinator
Programmatic buying and premium display advertising were a big a topic of discussion this week at MediaPost’s OMMA Premium Display conference. Keith Trivitt, director of marketing and communications at MediaWhiz, moderated a panel, “Battling The Transformers – Can Media Maintain Its Value Against The New Ad Machine?” which focused on the state of premium display advertising among high-end publishers.
The panel was stacked with an all-star cast of speakers, including:
- Andrew Sollinger, Managing Director, The Americas, Financial Times
- Jason Oates, President, LiveIntent
- Bill Rowley, SVP, Business Development & Publishing, Martini Media
- Kathryn Kulik, Global SVP, Media Sales, CBS Interactive
- Kristine Welker, Chief Revenue Officer, Hearst Magazines Digital Media
- Premium display advertising is clearly helping publishers and advertisers adapt to their customers’ needs.
- Programmatic buying will not be completely eliminated from a company’s budget.
- The appropriate balance must be found between publishers using programmatic buying to sell their low-end display inventory and meeting the high end of the premium online advertising market.
- According to the Andrew Sollinger, managing director, The Americas, of the Financial Times, the biggest issue for publishers will be “moving [advertisers] from programmatic to premium.”
- Although ad exchanges and networks are beneficial to high-end publishers, the best way to keep advertisers happy it to focus on what they want; and what they want is premium display advertising that is designed with value to the consumer in mind.
High-end publishers and brands continue to value premium display advertising, even as the sector gets squeezed at the margins.
Here’s a recap of what was a spirited 45-minute discussion about premium display advertising.
Programmatic Buying: Friend or Foe?
While all panelists agreed that programmatic buying is an important, if not vital, aspect of the business, they differed on its impact on the value of premium display advertising. “Custom premium is here to stay,” noted the FT’s Sollinger.
Through the discussion the point being driven is that premium display advertising is focused on the consumer and provides content that both consumers and advertisers want. “Premium display starts with the consumer or it won’t work. Ad experience needs to be built around the customer,” according to Katerine Kulik, global senior vice president of media sales at CBS Interactive’.
By Peter Klein | SVP, Media Services
Performance marketers are held to the highest standard of accountability possible – return on investment (ROI). We live and die by key metrics that make our clients successful.
If we must be held accountable for every facet of our campaigns, shouldn’t the President of the United States be held to the same accountability standards?
No matter who wins, performance-style metrics should factor into measuring the President’s success.
As I outline in a new white paper, “The CMO’s Guide to Affiliate Marketing,” there is a five-step process for performance marketing success. It’s a process that will benefit not only the next President of the United States (if he were inclined to engage a performance marketing campaign) but every CMO who is seeking an edge in the era of accountability of online marketing.
Let’s review each of the five steps as they relate to the work of CMOs and Presidential candidates.
Step 1: Define the Goal. For a CMO, this means defining the desired outcome of a campaign, be it a lead or a sale that generates a specific volume of consumers; specifically, which audience to target. For a Presidential candidate, this means the campaign or platform that he stands for, the audience he wishes to target and the overall deliverables to which he will be held accountable by the American people.
Step 2: Choose the Network. CMOs need to conduct due diligence before engaging an affiliate network. This is accomplished by comparing specific areas of performance, including an affiliate network’s tenure, financials, industry/vertical expertise, etc. A Presidential candidate’s most important network, of course, is his cadre of advisers, including his Vice Presidential running mate, all of whom will help him or her represent the views and values of their campaign and political party. (more…)