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Challenger Series: Channel Expansion

Published: June 4, 2018

Author: Madeline Fitzgerald

During this 3Q Accelerate Week, we’re sharing our top tips and best practices for Challenger companies: the new competitor on the scene going up against competitors who are already established (and may have greater resources).

Kicking off the week, we’re breaking down some of the newer paid media channels that Challenger companies can test to gain a competitive advantage over slower-moving giants.


Who is this best for? Quora advertising can be a fit in many verticals, including for mobile apps, and is more dependent on the target persona’s habits/personalities. We see Quora work best for users who are in research mode and looking to consume content that relates to an upcoming decision.
What targeting should Challengers test first? Test all of Quora’s targeting options (topic, question, interest, and audience). While we found topical targeting (contextual) to perform best generally, other forms of targeting also performed fairly well. It absolutely varies by client and industry – for instance, we had trouble with Topics for a client in the very cluttered and competitive cryptocurrency space – so test all targeting options, then follow the data to stick with what works. Campaigns are also relatively simple to set up, so there is not a huge resource cost for testing.
Pro: Given that the channel is still young, it’s a great opportunity to get up and running faster than larger competitors. Additionally, you can see great return if you take advantage of the very native feel of the ads; you are able to read what users are saying within the feeds of topics and questions. Thus you can speak directly to their needs, which is certainly unique about the platform.
Con: Inventory is a bit more limited than some other channels, so once competition catches on, the advertising environment can get crowded in a hurry.
—Digital Marketing Specialist Scott Trevellyan

Amazon Marketing Services

Who is this best for? Any eCommerce company selling on Amazon (or considering selling on Amazon!). Amazon makes up a huge (and fast-growing) percentage of online sales, so eComm retailers need to know how to take advantage of that traffic effectively.
What targeting should Challengers test first? Test Sponsored Products first – they rely on basic keyword targeting (so you can use your existing SEM/Google Shopping data) and have the most inventory available. In fact, if you’ve got multiple related products, you can coordinate your bids so your products take over the top-of-page results for high-priority queries. We’ve seen the best results by adapting the Alpha-Beta Structure for Sponsored Products, because you can apply Exact Match negative keywords to your Broad Match campaigns. For even more reach, use an Automatic Targeting campaign to supplement traffic further.
Pro: CPCs are traditionally very low and purchase intent is very high, so you can get very good efficiency on this channel.
Con: The reporting on Amazon is very manual, which can slow down your work, but there are lot of sales to be had.
—Team Lead Will Moomaw

Yahoo Gemini Search + Native

Who is this best for? Because Yahoo is part of the Oath family, their targeting is informed by data points from email, search, content, and mobile app usage – you can find a fit for basically any vertical. However, Native works best for users who are already inclined to research and read longer-form content topics/products they’re interested in.
What targeting should Challengers test first? There are many different types available to test, but one of the best to start with is Search Retargeting. This allows you to get in front of users who have previously searched for topics on your keyword list. You get the benefit of the intent of paid search, and you have more opportunity to capture traffic with engaging creative and educate users with long-form news/blog content.
Pro: The Gemini platform allows you to access multiple inventories and campaign types from one hub and coordinate your efforts – you can get in front of users on search, native, and display.
Con: Traffic quality can be pretty variable, so you’ll want to refine your search keyword lists regularly and take advantage of placement adjustments on Native. Our recommendation is to set up automated adjustments so Tier 1 publishers (Oath-owned properties like Yahoo, AOL, TechCrunch, Huffington Post, etc.) receive most of your budget, whereas lower-tier properties have the lowest possible bids.
—Team Lead Trevor Morrissey

25 E Washington Street
Suite 420

Chicago, IL 60602(650) 539-4124


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