If you’re reading this, you’ve likely experienced the long and arduous process of either searching for paid placement opportunities or, as a publisher, trying to fill open real estate by contacting advertisers one-by-one. And that’s just the beginning.
In an effort to streamline this process and make earning incremental revenue easier, CJ Affiliate launched an intuitive Placements Marketplace.
We sat down with a few members of the CJ team—starting with Product Manager Aruna Bhagtani—to learn about this new solution and why it’s been such a hit with customers.
Why did CJ create the Placements Marketplace?
Offering paid placements for a flat fee or a commission increase is fairly common practice within the affiliate channel, yet managing media placements has been a time-consuming and complex process in the past. Our goal was to develop an easy, end-to-end solution that makes posting, finding, tracking, paying, and reporting on placements a simple and straightforward process.
So this tool benefits both publishers AND advertisers?
Yes. Any publisher that offers multiple advertising options—such as home page or email placements, sponsored or social posts, either for a flat fee or a commission increase—will find this tool extremely beneficial. Likewise, it will benefit any advertiser who is in search of placement opportunities to display their banners, links, coupon codes, etc.
In addition to having a single place to search for placement opportunities, why else should folks be excited about this new tool?
Not only can publishers reach more advertisers quickly by broadcasting all their placements to the entire CJ Network or filtering to a smaller group of advertisers, but the online IO makes the process of contracting on placements, uploading assets, and processing payments extremely efficient—saving both parties time.
We’ve also added a new transaction type to track all flat fee payments, which makes for a seamless payment reconciliation process. And since we are tracking all placement links, we can deliver performance insights with benchmarking, helping advertisers identify which placements are working for them and which ones aren’t.
To hear how users have responded to this tool, we invited Strategic Operations Manager Josh Peterson, Publisher Development Director Kristen Levins, and Senior Publisher Development Manager Bindi Singh to join the conversation.
Josh, tell me about the advertiser experience before the Placements Marketplace.
In the past, advertisers found and booked placements in a style similar to pushing a cart down every aisle of an unfamiliar supermarket. They had to communicate with each publisher separately, learning about their placement opportunities and executing the entire process through custom, one-off communications. It worked, but when you are trying to buy and manage many placements, the old approach does not provide the scale, accuracy, nor the transparency needed for today’s marketers.
Kristen, was the process just as daunting for publishers?
Yes, if not more! Previously, publishers endured an extensive manual process to secure placement inventory. This included reaching out to existing advertiser relationships with customized proposals one-by-one, mass communication regarding current rate cards, keeping track of responses, additional follow ups…and that was only the beginning of the process. Then publishers would create their own unique IOs, keep track of creative assets needed, and ensure payments were received and then reconciled. In addition to all the manual processes, prior to the release of CJ’s Placements Marketplace, publishers generally had limited accessibility to foster new relationships with managed and unmanaged advertisers through CJ.
So, Bindi, is it safe to assume that the Placements Marketplace has solved for these issues?
Definitely. This tool provides the ultimate lens to discover missed opportunities. With this new solution that automates the workflow, publishers have the ability to establish and strengthen relationships with a complete end-to-end placement management solution.
What reaction have you seen from publishers to the Placements Marketplace?
Publishers have been enthusiastic. The ability to reach numerous advertisers in one centralized location and the opportunity to utilize their performance to secure additional budget from advertisers are both huge attractions to the tool.
As mentioned, the paid placement payment process used to be a struggle for publishers, specifically in regards to receiving creative assets and reconciling payments that are due. Publishers were elated to hear that CJ built a solution to save them time and energy when performing their daily tasks. They agree that the Placements Marketplace streamlines the entire system.
And are you seeing a positive response from advertisers, Josh?
Yes, the feedback has been great. Advertisers are pleased to get the visibility into the performance of these placements so they know where to place their bets. They definitely see this as a big step in the right direction for the industry.
It sounds like this solution has been extremely well-received. I imagine there are other, similar tools available in the affiliate space. Aruna, how does the Placements Marketplace compare?
While there are other networks that offer publishers the ability to share information about the placement opportunities they are making available to advertisers, we are one of the few networks that provides an end-to-end solution; we’ve automated every single aspect of the workflow associated with posting, finding, tracking, paying, and reporting on placement opportunities.
It already does so much. Any plans for expanding the scope of this tool?
Yes! We will definitely continue iterate based on the feedback we get from our clients. In addition to that, as we start collecting more performance data on placements, we can provide more insights to our clients, such as the incremental lift coming from the placements. We also plan to incorporate audience metrics, which will make it easier for advertisers to get their brand in front of a targeted audience.
The Placements Marketplace is currently live in CJ’s Account Manager platform!
Tell us about your past experience managing paid placement opportunities, and how the Placements Marketplace has worked as a solution. We’d love to hear from you!