Although audience extension campaigns are really about creating inventory by accessing third-party sites, they tend to have multiple purposes.
The advertiser may be trying to reach a highly granular segment with limited on-site presence. The publisher may have limited pre-roll video inventory, so they will hunt down their audiences in third-party streams. The advertiser may want to use a lookalike model of a publisher segment for prospecting.
So in using extension for publisher marketing—which we wrote about in great detail last week—you have to be clear about your objective. What is it you really want from this extension campaign?
Are you merely trying to drive deeper engagement from your current readership or bring more attention to a new section or service? Straightforward retargeting might work – and this is a handy way to boost sponsored content or other major initiatives with or without a brand presence.
Are you trying to bump up unique traffic and expand your audience? You might want to leverage third-party data and lookalike marketing, but be warned that this can get expensive quick.
Will banners do the job or do you think video would further engage potential audience? And then what kind of video – in-stream or outstream? Are you out for clicks or just trying build awareness?
Determining objectives is going to be a multi-department struggle. Ops should be consulting with both marketing and editorial here. The analytics team can be a boon in selecting engaging content to push off-site and analyzing results – how many new people did you bring to the site, what was the overall engagement (did they read a story and bounce, or go several pages deep and dedicate serious time to your site?), etc.
But ops will be at the center of the endeavor because it’s got the extension experience. Further, ops people that work social media and content marketing platforms to boost native (i.e., sponsored content) campaigns already have experience driving traffic back to site content. That knowledge can simply be transferred over to web-based media buying (which arguably is more familiar territory).
Ops will also wear the media planner’s hat depending on the complexity of your extension operation. You might have a seat on an exchange or outsource most of the process to a third-party provider like a DSP or SSP. You might go either or both ways depending on the campaign.
In addition, you could have media-trading partnerships with other sites – if these publishers offer similarly themed content, it may make sense to push the majority of your spend here to bring in relevant audiences.
There is no right answer – you’ll have to experiment with each and every channel depending on your budget, which will vary when sponsored content is in the equation. But marketing and editorial will be leaning on ops for campaign execution, optimization and performance. This is your project to own, and great chance to brandish your media transaction expertise.