Partnering for the post-advertising world
- 03 March, 2022 09:03
The last few years have thrown a triumvirate of issues at marketers seeking to reach new consumers and grow brand equity.
Firstly, third party cookies are set to soon be eliminated by Google Chrome. Whilst the timings and goal posts keep changing, with Topics API now set to replace FloC as an alternative, the upshot is that it will soon be increasingly difficult and expensive for brands that have previously relied on cookies. Last year’s Australian Competition and Consumer Commission report found that in 2019 for every $100 spent by advertisers, $53 went to Google, $28 to Facebook and $19 to all other websites and ad tech. This means there’s few alternatives to the walled gardens when cost per click and customer acquisition costs soar.
Next, the pandemic has seen trust in brands, the media, governments and institutions hit rock bottom over the past few years. This growing distrust is having a negative ripple effect on marketing, with high profile documentaries like The Social Dilemma, fuelling consumer scepticism and distrust.
Lastly, consumers seem to have lost patience with digital advertising. Outside of privacy concerns and a decline in trust, a lot of display advertising just isn’t very good. Worse, it can be an actively negative experience; who hasn’t experienced slow to load video ads, clunky interstitials that obscure content and being haunted by the pair of expensive trainers you browsed the web for during your lunchbreak.
And it isn’t just consumers that are demanding changes. Around the world governments including Australia are implementing new privacy-related legislation, meaning that practices that are acceptable today might not remain so into the future.
Faced with this perfect storm of challenges, marketers are seeking new ways to reach audiences in a cost-effective manner. For many, the answer is to seek out brands, people, content, influencers and others who share similar brand values and aspirations to partner with in order to reach a new and expanded audience.
Partnerships in action
Performance-based partnerships (that is the partner is only rewarded if a sale or other agreed KPI is reached) is a rapidly growing acquisition channel for brands. It’s quickly evolving thanks to innovative new technology solutions such as impact.com’s partnership management platform which make it easy to manage a diverse range of partnerships at scale.
Declining trust levels mean consumers are seeking out authentic brand experiences and connections and revisiting the 2022 version of word-of-mouth recommendations. This includes turning to review sites, social media influencers, shoppable content and more for recommendations and inspiration of products and services that are relevant to them.
More traditional partnerships, such as those between brands and publishers or other audience aggregators, are also growing in popularity, giving new life to older concepts such as coupons and cashback offers. Brands are also forming partnerships with charities, retail stores, authors, designers – there really are no limits as long as both partners share common ground and have a symbiotic audience.
And it’s working. Experience marketplace, The Big Red Group has seen a 24x return on ad spend through partnerships managed via impact.com, with a 32 percent increase in partnership revenue in the first five months after deployment of the platform. Similarly, Booktopia has seen a 219% revenue increase through partnerships since working with impact.com.
Let’s look at how.
The right technology
Put simply, Impact.com’s partnership management platform does all of the heavy lifting for brands like The Big Red Group, Booktopia, Westpac, Canva, Coles, Virgin Australia and more, which means their marketing teams can focus their energies on nurturing deeper and more innovative partnerships versus time consuming manual management and optimisation.
impact.com manages the whole lifecycle of a partnership. From discovery (through an extensive database of partners and influencers that can be filtered by promotional method, channel, geography, reach, and audience demographic), through contracting, optimising and rewarding. All of which can be done across geographies, languages and currencies. Critically, it means that brands can rapidly scale their partnership efforts, as well as providing full transparency into how each partner is performing and allowing for bespoke optimisation.
As all transformative technology should be, the true value of an effective partnership management platform is that it is an enabler.
It enables marketers to devise an almost infinite amount and type of partnerships. Essentially, if they can dream it, impact.com can manage it, rewarding a range of different KPIs with ease. Consequently, marketers are able to get creative when it comes to reimagining partnerships and growth marketing strategies.
Take Booktopia. One of the ways Australia’s largest online bookstore has achieved such high growth for its partnership program is via the number of innovative partnerships it has formed. For example, it has entered into partnerships with physical retail stores and created a unique ambassador programme with its authors in order to drive sales through the authors’ social media channels, as well more traditional loyalty plays with Qantas and its frequent flyer points.
Similarly, tech design unicorn Canva is also using impact.com to find and recruit new types of partners such as microbloggers, YouTubers, podcasts and influencers. The company created its partnership programme from a standing start with impact.com and now uses the platform to manage programmes in 148 countries. The flexibility of impact.com’s platform makes it easy to adapt all processes and payments across currencies and allows for communication customisation to meet cultural preferences. For example, Canva found that in Brazil, partnership discussions happen over the phone or via WhatsApp, whereas in the United States, partners prefer to get information via email. By adapting their ways of communicating to each territory, the expansion into new markets and the recruitment of local partners have been more successful. Canva’s program is currently supported in 8 languages with the ability to add up to 30 more as it continues to expand globally.
As consumers are leaning into recommendations and inspiration from trusted networks and away from traditional advertising, it’s time for marketers to look at the revenue, brand equity and return on investment the right partnerships can deliver.