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For publishers, efficiency must go hand in hand with proving value

Publishers have to work hard to convince brands to spend their advertising budgets with them. A key part of this is, says Brand Metrics’s Kristen Friesen, being able to demonstrate brand uplift whatever the size of the campaign.

By Kristen Friesen

For publishers, efficiency must go hand in hand with proving value

The decline of cookies, the increasing importance of first-party data and a focus on efficiency herald exciting opportunities for publishers – but only if they can prove the value they bring to advertisers. That means reassessing their measurement approach to focus on delivering what brands need.

In a cookieless, data-hungry environment notably favourable to publishers’ interests, their desire to increase direct buys (and CPMs) through the value of their first-party data is a natural response. So too is their wish to become a preferred brand partner.

And with ad operations teams squeezed and large campaigns requiring the same effort as small ones, the preference for focusing resources on more profitable strategic deals means efficiency is also becoming important.

But as they focus on accessing a greater proportion of advertiser spend while simultaneously seeking to become more efficient, publishers must demonstrate to brands what they are getting in return. And this is where brand lift measurement plays a key role.

Rising requests for brand lift insights

Today’s brands increasingly find themselves in search of qualitative insights, not just traditional quantitative metrics. And while, initially, this impulse found a natural outlet in branded content, it’s also increasingly being requested in the context of digital display buys.

The difficulty is, publishers are forced to turn away up to three-quarters of these requests because they can only be justified on campaigns with significant budgets. Post-campaign brand lift studies are historically expensive, time-consuming and complicated, and for those in search of efficiencies, they’re anything but efficient.

While there are countless examples of publishers outsourcing ad operations to save money and support their internal teams better, measurement and reporting have been missing pieces. But instead of treating those two investments as an exclusive one-off, they really ought to be brought into step with efficiency trends around ease of deployment and scale.

The emergence of new measurement approaches – ones that open up opportunities for publishers to offer brand measurement uplift for even small campaigns – makes this a very real ambition. Real-time measurement isn’t confined to single brand campaigns but can be deployed as a matter of course – democratising brand measurement and rescuing it from the exclusive clutches of the top handful of advertisers. By changing the nature of measurement, you enable publishers to demonstrate the value they deliver, on a constant basis.

Beyond just measurement

Such a shift in measurement also has applications for publishers, over and above the ability to report on brand lift for advertisers. Suddenly these insights can be used as a pre-RFP sales tool to give advertisers upfront benchmarks on what their campaigns can deliver. Premium custom ad products can be justified by proving the greater uplift they deliver compared to standard digital display, and the additional information can support upselling opportunities. Far from being an after-the-fact check-box on an RFP, brand measurement becomes a valuable, proactive insights tool for driving more effective, smarter pitches.

Critically, publishers can now make sense of the value they bring to an advertiser. While first-party data is clearly a big play, the ability to prove campaign performance and its impact on an advertiser’s business is the argument-clincher that justifies why brands should invest in accessing that data.

As cookies die away, conversion reporting is about to become more complicated and disjointed. And as the traditional measurement model is shaken up, people are beginning to look for qualitative measurements to justify spending with publishers.

Efficiency, that other great favourite, also requires reporting in a consistent, scalable manner. But as publishers demand more of an advertiser’s budget and preference, delivering accountability on the back end is what they must provide in return. And if proving the payoff of a campaign beyond just a CTR was difficult before, the newfound ease of doing just that is surely something to celebrate.

About us

At Brand Metrics, We provide a market-leading platform to measure brand uplift for digital ad campaigns, including display, branded content and video, even campaigns as small as 50,000 impressions, to ensure publishers have tangible proof of their value for even smaller clients. Simple and powerful, our survey-based SaaS technology calculates brand lift across four key metrics: awareness, consideration, brand preference and action intent and compares these scores against Brand Metrics’ global benchmarks, allowing full comparability from campaign to campaign. Our SaaS technology is used by over 50 global publishers including The Guardian, News UK, National World, The Ozone Project, Financial Times and Burda Forward, providing them with tangible proof of their site’s value.