Guest comment: Digital industry embracing corporate trade in 2012
Online publishers are increasingly turning to corporate trade
to maximise value from their unsold ad space. Paul
Sumners, Director of Media Trading (UK) at Active
International, examines the benefits of corporate trade to
online media and what they should consider before
employing the services of a corporate trade business.
Unfortunately, the outlook for the UK’s economy is
increasingly fragile and uncertain. As a result, many clients’
marketing budgets - especially in non-traditional
communications channels - are coming under intense
So, what’s the answer for those media owners, who want to
maximise value from their advertising inventory and are keen
to leverage all potential revenue streams available to them?
A key option that has been growing in popularity in the digital
industry, and beyond, is corporate trade.
Despite corporate trade already being a well established
industry, it’s only over the last few years that it has become a
more visible and attractive method for online media owners,
media agencies and brands, to generate extra value from
online marketing expenditure.
We currently work with a large range of media owners,
across a wide variety of sectors including display and
partnership activity directly with publishers, networks
(including display, VOD, mobile and performance), as well
as working on sponsorships and emerging platforms such as
To explain how the process works, corporate trade generates
incremental revenue for digital media owners.
This can take several forms; brand new advertisers to digital,
existing brands spending more year on year, or existing
brands increasing the proportion of expenditure with those
media owners conducting corporate trade.
We are able to do this by providing various goods and
services to the digital suppliers, for example, marketing,
corporate entertainment, funding cap-ex projects,
conferences, flights or hotel rooms. In return for the above
exchange, they pay us back with their advertising inventory
which we then allow our range of clients to access for their
digital marketing campaigns.
But what are the key factors to bear in mind when sourcing a
corporate trade organisation?
Firstly, digital media owners should only deal with the largest
and most established operators in the marketplace. It’s these
that have the financial stability to ensure they will be around
in the long term.
The corporate trade company should have a worldwide
presence. Many online publishers will have a global reach and will want to implement cross-border campaigns. Mark
Chippendale, the former commercial director of CBS
Outdoor, has been appointed as the UK managing director
of barter company Active International, as managing director
Dean Wilson steps up to chief executive.
A corporate trade business with operations around the world
can help generate extra value for media spend within the
countries they operate in. It’s this reach that also provides
added flexibility and value.
Ask which existing online publishers, media agencies and
also brands the corporate trade business currently works
with, this will give you an idea of how experienced and well
regarded the company is.
It’s vital that publishers only sell space to advertisers they
are happy appearing on their websites to avoid damaging
their brand. To this end it’s the larger and more established
corporate trade businesses that are more likely to have the
contacts with these advertisers and networks.
In this day and age technology has progressed sufficiently
for corporate trade organisations to offer 24/7 reporting on
where the inventory, goods and services exchange stands
so always ask what reporting procedures are in place before
making an appointment.
Corporate trade is becoming increasingly popular and
prevalent in the digital industry and beyond, and we expect
it to be a discipline that’s set to grow even more strongly in
Given the turbulent economic background, digital media
owners who don’t consider corporate trade could be missing