In the current economic situation, many media owners are looking at new ways to standardize and optimise their advertising products for their SMB clients. The reason for such is straightforward.
SMBs or long-tail advertisers are often the most significant customer group of broadcasters and advertisers. However, their spending is often substantially lower, ranging from $3-5k a month. As media owners handle their campaigns just like all others, it puts financial pressure on margins and segment profitability.
As a result, self-service platforms are a good way to standardize a lot of the campaign booking and reporting process. When SMBs book the campaigns themselves, sales agents and ad operations can spend more time with high-value clients who require more attention. Further, the long-tail segment becomes more profitable due to the lower cost needed to handle such.
These are some expectations media owners have when creating self-service platforms. But the reality might look a bit different.
Success factors for self-service platforms
There is a range of factors that influence the success of a self-service platform. Let us look at some of the highlights.
Clear target audience
When offering a self-service solution to customers, it is crucial to understand the target audience. While it might be tempting to offer a one-size-fits-all solution, problems will occur in the service delivery. For example, SMBs and agencies have very different expertise in digital advertising. This contrast requires a different UI and processes. While SMBs need a simple UI with recommendations and explanations, experienced agencies require more choices to utilize their existing knowledge. Disregarding these differences will lead to a low adaption of the platform and general dissatisfaction with the solution. To make the platform a success, media owners must choose a specific target audience and optimise the platform and support accordingly.
In 2022, programmatic advertising rose by 22%. In fact, advertisers have a lot of options to run digital campaigns including both programmatic and social. Getting advertisers to switch to a self-service platform is therefore a consistent effort. If prospects do not know about the solution, they will have no incentive to switch to self-service or will end up with a larger solution such as Google Ads. To mitigate this, media owners must have a clear go-to-market strategy to educate their target audience about the solution and learn how to retain them.
Education of clients
Another factor is the education of clients, especially the SMB segment. With their limited knowledge and lacking human support, they might not understand the option the platform presents them and how to create optimal advertising success. The outcome would be a high sign-up rate but no bookings of campaigns. Long-tail advertisers will then drop the solution and media owners will not achieve their goal of increasing margins. To make a self-service solution a success, media owners must have an education and support strategy in place. To utilise the tech and save cost, this can be standardized through chat, call centres, and platform tours.
The right technology partner
When you choose a self-service platform, it is important to choose the right technology partner. When changing to a technology-first approach, customers need to have a stable and reliable platform. Moving away from interactions with clients, faulty technology can substantially hurt the client relationship. Another aspect is the technology partner's ability to help advance the product and knowledge. Working with SaaS providers, such as Nexta, helps to benefit from new features that are continuously developed. Further, an experienced partner can help with platform support and set up of education and awareness campaigns.
Success Story: Denmark's Publisher Platform
Utilizing their knowledge Nexta has partnered with Denmark's leading publishers to create a self-service solution, where SMBs are able to buy direct inventory. This revolutionized the Danish programmatic market, where companies used to buy programmatic or through individual publishers. As a result, the Publisher Platform combines the publisher's advertising knowledge with Nexta's technology and has been awarded a Drum Award for best overall technology.
During this collaboration, both partners gained substantial knowledge about the importance of creating a clear value proposition, platform awareness, and continued education of clients. Today, the publisher platform is serving hundreds of Danish SMBs, giving them access to premium inventory, and driving advertising success. For the publishers, this created a substantial extra income stream with a 12% growth rate YoY. Nexta's extensive advertising technology knowledge drives the partnership with continued support and development of the platform. Today, both partners are investing more in the collaboration, gaining new tracking across the Danish SMB market.