Mindshare’s Tough Love: Ad Partners Have 7 Days to Perform

WPP-owned Mindshare has a lot of love for its digital ad partners, but it’s tough love — especially on the first date. For one client, new ad networks, data providers, and other platforms must prove their worth within a week of testing.

“Every test partner for this client has seven days to perform, and if they don’t they’re off the plan,” says Brian Decker, managing director, client leadership at the global media agency. “And they may be off the plan for a very long time. Complacency just doesn’t work in these types of dynamic media ecosystems. Just because a strategy or partner worked last year or even last month doesn’t mean it will work this year.”

We interviewed Decker after he spoke on a panel at the IAB Mobile Marketplace event this week.

AdExchanger: The lack of differentiation among some ad networks is a long-standing issue in display advertising. Is it different in mobile?

BD: I think it’s even more challenging in mobile. There’s a big challenge with salespeople not understanding enough of the underlying unique selling propositions. Number two is being educated enough to understand the technical differences, which is massive. In a lot of cases you’re talking about black box targeting optimization algorithms that are looking to drive this process of moving rocks and measuring business.

What’s the value of location targeting on mobile?

It will become a differentiator. If we’re talking about geo-targeting such as a Foursquare, they’ve scratched the surface in terms of in-store experiences, in terms of leveraging mobile in entirely new and provocative ways.

It’s not very new technology. I remember a decade ago there was a lot of testing of this kind of stuff. But it was far more challenging then. You had to work directly with mobile carriers and you had to have opt-ins, which typically could only happen when someone was becoming a new subscriber.

When you look at mobile application usage, it’s over an hour per day now… And there may not be media dollars associated with any of that.

But how do we do things like retargeting, something that’s been a very productive tactic online? The challenge is enormous at the moment because of issues like the UDID, concerns over fingerprinting, and the user experience that’s being delivered.

Are you able to segment users by location to your satisfaction for a client like Domino’s?

You can do a geo-fence and get to that. But is that what you want to do? In certain cases, unless you’re doing an actual geo-fence, the accuracy of doing a DMA level, zip code level, zip+4, down to potentially a latitude and longitude tareting [is not self-evident]. I haven’t seen that level of targeting unless you’re doing an actual geo-fence.

Any thoughts on Facebook’s recent decision to push Premium Ads through to the Ads API?

It’s an extension of their sales force. The API partners [Mindshare works with] have done a remarkable job in terms of getting stuff done. There’s a certain amount of limitations, whether it be working with ad serving companies or view through attribution. Eventually those barriers will go away.

How the API partners are going to deal with these Facebook Exchange partners is a question that no one has been thoroughly articulate about what that means. The API partners have some challenges ahead of them. This is one way of keeping them happy in the interim. (See AdExchanger’s earlier piece on Facebook automating premium.)

[The API partners] have done some very smart work. We’ve been working very closely with three API partners, and we’ve been very happy with the results. They’ve done some interesting work in helping us do some planning for what I would call reverse profiling.

Rather than us telling our media partner what our target is, it’s very interesting when we can have a media partner telling us a lot about who our customers are – from a consumer perpective, to think about how you can leverage that for different programs.

So that lets you create lookalikes you can market to in other channels?

Exactly. And this starts to border on social graphing and mapping.

Is “premium” a good way to describe these ads?

It’s a positioning question that’s better asked to Facebook. I’ll attempt to address part of it. Facbook’s menu of what they’re selling is more complex than most. Some of it is supported by media dollars. Some of it is not. Premium is much more like the Chef’s specials on the menu. You have lots of stuff. It’s harder to sell Facebook from a sales perspective. We get an email once a week that talks about changes.

Having to be really educated in understanding what is, because some of these nuances have implications.

How has your relationship with WPP’s Xaxis trading desk changed over time?

I use Xaxis a lot as an extension of my team. It allows us to do a lot more strategic thinking in terms of what we provide that’s more valuable to our clients. We give them a tremendous amount of direction. I do consider them a very close partner to what we deliver. It’s a very symbiotic relationship. The sophistication of a lot of partnerships and relationships – the Facebook exchange is an example. It’s great for us to have access to that.

They’ve brought similar opportunities that help us demonstrate to clients how smart we are in being efficient and at the same time being stealth in what we do.

By Zach Rodgers

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1 Comment

  1. Mark Korsmann

    ..I would suggest the advertiser do the same! Give (Mindshare) “seven days to perform, and if they don’t they’re off the plan”!

    Real time bidding is not an “off the shelf product” yet. You truly have to make a lot of tweaking in order to find the optimal setup..This is hardly done in seven days!

    Mark Korsmann