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Publishers have a campaign crisis

Facebook, TikTok, Google Search, news sites, Instagram, you name it. Users are all over the web, enjoying content and trying to find relevant information.

A graph showing the different platforms use, such as Meta, Google, Snapchat, Linkedin.

So, what are local businesses doing to stay in front of their clients? They are using the same tactics that were used 20 years ago, running print campaigns and maybe a single Facebook campaign every now and then. It is easy to conclude that this is not the best marketing strategy.

To navigate this complex advertising landscape, local advertisers are looking to the marketing experts that have supported them over the past decades – publishers. However, they are continuing to drop local advertisers for the benefit of a few large clients. What is the issue here? It is what we at Nexta call the campaign crisis.

What is a campaign crisis?

To understand the campaign crisis we must first look at the way publishers are servicing local advertisers. To fulfil campaign orders, whether print, O&O, or social, publishers typically rely on manual workflows. These include everything from printed forms to working in multiple systems. No matter the exact steps, there are always multiple teams involved, including sales, AdOps, and design teams.

A flowgraph showing the different steps to run a single campaign for a publisher.

Hereby, it is vital to understand the context. These workflows were established when advertising solutions focused on one or two channels, often consisting of print and O&O. With such, budgets had a sufficient size to mitigate the cost of longer manual workflow.

But the context has changed. Today, a variety of channels need to be covered for adequate presence. However, the complexity of running effective advertising campaigns simply cannot be handled with the current manual workflows that are dominating publishers. With similar budgets now being spread across multiple channels, publishers need to create and handle substantially more campaigns for the same revenue.

The result? Manual workflows require scaling internal teams to cover the demand for more campaigns. High costs for larger teams decrease the margins of every additional campaign. At the same time, standardization of campaigns is pushed to shorten handling time, hurting the advertising effect. Decreasing margins and campaign performance – welcome to the campaign crisis.

Two graphs showing how the number of Ad Ops goes up with more campaigns and margins go down.

What is the effect of the campaign crisis?

To mitigate the campaign crisis, we see a common pattern across publishers.

The first is to simply drop local advertisers and focus on larger advertisers. These allow publishers to keep their manual workflows as the per-campaign revenue is higher. Further large advertisers often only use publishers to run a single channel, having other partners or teams to run social channels. The issue with this strategy is the hugely missed opportunity of local advertising. In the US alone, the local advertising market has a value of 165b USD. Giving up on this market because of outdated processes does not set publishers up for success in an increasingly competitive market.

The second pattern is trying to continue business as usual. With the current workflows, this has effects: stressed employees and dissatisfied clients. With the increase in work and campaigns, margins are tried to maximize. This means that AdOps needs to handle more campaigns at the same time, leading to stress and frequent manual errors. At the same time, campaign set-ups are more standardized to decrease time spent per campaign. This decreases the campaign effect and is basically an open invitation for advertisers to churn. Not the best setup to get a future-proof competitive advantage.

In the end, this poses the question of how to solve the campaign crisis. Thankfully there is a solution that has been used in a past context, campaign orchestration.

How to solve the campaign crisis?

Known as customer lifecycle marketing, campaign orchestration is the coordination of data, marketing activities, and campaigns to drive a personalized experience. This increases campaign performance and ultimately ROAS.

To do that Nexta, combines two worlds, the publisher’s data platforms with the external advertising platforms.

A graph of how Nexta combines the two worlds to make campaign booking easy.

To set sellers up for success, Nexta integrates into the publisher’s CRM, CDP, and creative platforms. This information allows users to automatically onboard clients, utilize the right first-party data and pull in existing banners. No more working in multiple systems to handle orders.

On the other side, Nexta integrates into all relevant advertising platforms allowing the creation and handling of campaigns out of the Nexta platform. This requires no interaction with third-party platforms through a unified booking flow. Now omnichannel campaign booking is as easy as booking a single O&O campaign, with scalability ensured.

With Nexta, the day-to-day for sellers or AdOps is now in a single campaign orchestration platform, eliminating workflows and giving the power to create high-performing campaigns themselves. This increases campaign margins, improves campaign performance by utilizing data, and allows tapping into the huge revenue opportunity of local advertising. The campaign crisis is over.


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