Media ad teams should focus on best clients, reduce resources on the rest

By Mark Challinor


London, United Kingdom


In a recent blog post, I took at look at the early predictions for advertising this year and how they are playing out as we end the first quarter.

Considering those, here are my thoughts for ad team priorities for the rest of the year:

  • Maybe self-serve is the answer for those smaller accounts or maybe for the good of the industry from a collaboration point of view as competitive media brands work with each other where they can.
  • Cross-channel partnerships naturally take longer to build, are resource- and time-intensive and use different skills. More solutions-based sales teams need client and agency relationships, from planning managers to trading directors to deal with a lot of people for bigger deals. 
  • Technical competency on details, at a transactional level, across different platforms is also needed. Campaigns across multiple channels with different creative, objectives, and performance metrics are more complex and rely on clients also having the same operational infrastructure and understanding, maybe with our guidance? What, for instance, will be the impact of AI in our ad business as highlighted earlier?
  • With that guidance, advertisers and agencies will see this as an opportunity for an extended pre-sales process. Even if ideas aren’t accepted or sold immediately, it plants the seed that the publisher is creative, trustworthy, adaptable, present, and has a pulse of the targeted audiences. An extended pre-sales period means publishers are pulling prospective clients more case studies and samples, and the inbound leads are looking more like requests for ideas rather than pitches.
  • It could be argued that publishers should see the need to really beef up the client team and what they know about their top, say 50, clients. Do you immerse your sales process into that level of detail? Tightening up those sales roles to really develop those relationships on a different level is going to be important. How sales teams are going to be shaped as a consequence will change. Most publishers won’t have 100% of staff in the office ever again, for instance. What are the pros and cons and impact of that? Those media companies that have a true focus on trying to solve clients’ challenges will be able to proactively approach said clients with unique solutions for unique times. The simple truth is most news publishers — however premium unique or valued — are in many cases not differentiated enough to do so.

All that brings us to perhaps the biggest area of focus for media companies: how we gather data about and for our advertising clients. 

As third-party cookies come to an end this year, news media companies should be focused on as much first-party data as possible for their ad clients.
As third-party cookies come to an end this year, news media companies should be focused on as much first-party data as possible for their ad clients.

Historically, brands have analysed their consumers creating profiles based on various demographics or using cookies. However, significant changes are hitting the industry pushing brands to rethink how they find and connect with customers. Since Google announced it was ending support for third-party cookies by the end of 2023, advertisers have had their hands forced in looking for new ways to reach their audiences.

As the world moves forward, understanding audiences will be crucial to communicating effectively in a world where privacy is at the top of every news and advertising agenda. The decline of cookies is challenging businesses to source new, effective, and compliant ways of reaching their audiences without invading their privacy. Understandably, this will prove to be a significant adjustment. 

The fallout from the cookie scenario creates an interesting outlook for the rest of 2023 and over the next few years. Several brands and advertisers will be forced to rethink their strategies and the industry will go through a transition period. A wide range of new solutions will be tried and tested, and there will certainly be winners and losers.

However, no one will win more than the consumer, as advertisers place a higher focus on the user experience in an attempt to deliver better results without the use of cookies … more creativity, more insights, more tech focus, more thinking out of comfort zones. 

In a cut-throat and viciously competitive market, pioneering new technology can have a major impact on the effectiveness of advertising campaigns. Any slow, delayed, or ineffective decision can lead to brands falling behind in the fight to attract customers, and importantly, sales. The sooner businesses look toward the future, the quicker they’ll be seen by the right people at the right time, reaping the benefits. 

Deeper relationships with key partners are critically important for media businesses, especially now. We should be trying to extract, manipulate, and exploit as much first-party data and insights for clients as we can. As a result, seek out those opportunities that our data gives us, find those interest-based communities, those opportunities around sustainability, climate change, new revenue streams, etc. 

But perhaps above all, we need to take control of how and where we place our limited resource for maximum ROI. So, expect more industry collaboration, more smart targeting of audiences as we seek to provide a more personalised service to our advertisers. 

We are all in this current economic situation together. Maybe it took the triple nightmare of a pandemic, a war, and a cost-of-living crisis for us all to knock our heads together and realise this? 

One thing is clear in my mind: 2023 is shaping up to be an exciting, vibrant time to be in media advertising. I hope you agree.

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About Mark Challinor

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