Kroger Precision Marketing (KPM) took a similar route a while back – offering advertisers self-service paid search buys via an integration with OwnerIQ. Target – via it’s media arm Roundel – allows for a certain level of self-service as well. Advertisers can purchase Target sponsored ads in a self-service fashion via Criteo’s platform. Target also opened up their audience data for purchase across an advertiser’s preferred DSP last year.
Motive for Opening a Self-Service Route
WMG (and others) adding self-service options is a direct response to the success of Amazon’s advertising platforms. Commerce offerings are looking for ways to compete with Amazon and their self-service approach.
Advertisers typically prefer control over their ad dollars. Agencies especially crave this option. Commerce platforms providing more access to/control over ad spend (i.e. the self-service option) is going to be a continuing trend within the online landscape.
Model Aligns with Commerce-Based Search
This is especially true within paid search – which has never been an ecosystem wherein managed service provided a tight enough fit. The level of ownership/dedication to process improvement required to make paid search campaigns successful has always lent itself to a self-service model.
Paid search (or sponsored) ads specific to the commerce environment are no different. With paid search, an agency isn’t simply passing along creative and audience/reach requirements to a vendor. There is much more attention to detail that goes into making a paid search campaign successful.
Which Route Should Advertisers Take?
WMG is pushing for advertisers looking to go the self-service route to focus on owning their media via a third-party platform (as opposed to WMG’s interface). It’s in the advertiser’s best interest to pull their data into a third-party via API due to the added value capabilities. These features include automated actions, bulk editing/creation, enhanced reporting and ease of use, among others.
A consistent theme across commerce-based self-service platforms (Amazon Advertising, WMG, etc.) is a lack of functionality. Layering a third-party commerce solution on top of WMG’s functionality allows advertisers to get the absolute most out of their ad spend.