Can Paid Media Be Shared?
The top trend of the day in the start-up world is sharing. You can share cabs, town cars, your house or apartment, the tools in your garage and just about everything else that you own. From AirBNB to Uber to Lyft and any number of other hot tech companies -- it’s a sharing economy. It got me thinking: Do you think media could be shared?
It’s a simple idea. What if two companies who were targeting the same audience, but were not competitive in a category, wanted to share their paid media dollars to leverage a specific audience? It would be a kind of co-marketing, digital-exchange sort of thing. Two companies could pool their resources, purchase media through DSPs and automated systems together, leverage their first-party data for one another while also accessing third-party data through a shared environment or a private network, and use that combination of resources to maximize their media efficiencies while learning from one another’s customers. That would be a very interesting media model to pursue -- and it’s not a far-fetched idea!
These kinds of relationships are very common in traditional marketing, where co-op dollars are spent in CPG and retail. In the digital space they’re becoming more and more common, with companies creating private networks using a shared data platform. Merging first-party data from two companies for the purposes of creating lookalike models, retargeting and co-targeting is a practice that's become more common, and will likely continue to do so in the face of the third-party data debate.
This kind of arrangement applies mostly to customer experiences and data sharing, but I think it could also work in a media environment. Imagine a situation where a cadre of complementary brands combined resources to approach key premium publishers to execute a digital upfront and effectively block their key competitors from ever gaining access to the audience for those publishers.
If you take the concept a bit further, what about those same brands establishing a shared “investment” fund in new technologies that enable interaction with a specific audience, funding the growth of those technologies with the caveat that they would never take ad dollars from those brands’ key competitors. That model, sort of a Kickstarter for brands, is something I tried to kick off six years ago but was unable to do so. These days the market seems ripe for that model. I have to wager a guess that someone is working on it right now.
All these models are based on one simple idea: sharing. The sharing of resources, of budgets, of audiences. It’s about combining resources in a complementary way for shared benefit. I think I learned that in kindergarten -- didn’t you?
Purely out of curiosity: Who is doing something like this? Will it be you?