How a connected audience approach can improve your paid performance

When it comes to paid media, I have two key mantras that I believe in.

  1. Media is expensive so you need to make the most of every penny
  2. You’ll never have a data set as rich as your own

What this essentially boils down to is that you need to utilise audience lists across all of your marketing activity wherever you can.

The first way that we need to be using audience lists is by making lists in Google Analytics, recording the information of anyone that hits a specific page of a website, building audience lists off the back of that, and then re-engaging across paid media activity.

Whether they’ve landed on your corporate pages, personal pages, or holiday pages vs. working trips pages – your audience is telling you what they’re interested in, and you should be using that information to market back to them, and attract them back to the site to convert.

Within many sectors, when customers are showing in market signals now is the time to reach out to them, as if you’ve spotted this then your competitors likely have as well. You need to make sure that everyone who comes to comes to your site is recorded, and retargeted with messaging relevant to them, based on the pages that they’ve visited on your site.

The second thing we’d advise is building out these audiences into your Google PPC account. Rather than focusing on keywords or upweighting for bids for people who are ‘in market for travel’, take your approach one step further by building out ideal audience lists. For example you could segment your audiences into groupings such as couples, families, or even use signals such as ‘is a parent, is in market for ‘trips to X location’. Other audience signals you could use include things like ‘is in market for a new Audi’ – as information like this indicates a level of income, wealth and affluence. You can then tailor ads to hit specific audiences, and can change the ad copy to suit the audience, structuring adverts around things like ‘the perfect family holiday’ for families or ‘the perfect romantic getaway’ for couples.

Through using these two audience focused methods, retargeting and prospecting, and delivering relevant ads to your audiences your ads will ultimately become more effective and more likely to convert.

Transparency is a buzzword in today’s digital marketing landscape, but with very good reason. Only when both brands and agencies fully understand campaigns can we work together to make sure they deliver optimal bottom line growth.

Transparency covers a multiple of nuances but can be boiled down to two main factors – agency revenue and campaign visibility. For this post we are focussing on agency revenue, however further posts as part of my ‘Media Explained’ series are on the way.

Agency revenue

This has been one of the hottest topics in the industry for many years now and still continues to be, so what are the key facts:

  • Most suppliers that digital media buying agencies work with offer a rebate back to the agency. This means that agencies may be making more money out of the media buying than brands are aware of. However, the industry is seeing a change here, as more and more agencies are now working transparently.
  • Within an agency’s own buying platforms (e.g. DV360) there is additional opportunity to add a higher margin, and as such agencies tend to make more money using these platforms than from buying through a supplier.


  • An agencies DSP is a very complex platform and takes considerably more managing than a supply-side buy so a higher revenue is often required to facilitate the management time.
  • Agencies do not always declare the full revenue made against media buys because clients are often unwilling to pay the equivalent management fee. This may be partially because agencies do not fully explain the scope of the tasks required in setting-up and managing a campaign.

What you can do as a brand…

  • The first step to working transparently is understanding the situation. Ask the agency if they are receiving rebates or adding additional margin to their campaigns.
  • Spend the time to understand the processes and management required to run campaigns.
  • Weigh up the pros and cons of the agency working with suppliers via their own DSP. Suppliers can take the heavy lifting from the agency, but a portion of control is lost.
  • Agree a transparent fee that works for both parties. Ideally one that can be flexed across Paid Media – PPC, Paid Social and programmatic so that hours can be flexed as needed.
  • Consider fixed fees with a floor (minimum) amount per month, rather than a ‘percentage of spend’ model, as work does not increase proportionally with media spend. This means that the agency is not incentivised to encourage brands to spend more.
  • Regularly review fees ongoing to make sure that the agreement remains advantageous for both parties.

Whilst agencies are becoming more transparent in their ways of working, there’s a still a long way to go before we achieve full transparency, and before trust is fully re-established between agencies and brands. At connective3 data transparency is fundamental to our way of working, to ensure that we create a mutually beneficial partnership between ourselves and our clients.