There’s still great turbulence in the UK and indeed, world economy. As a result, many businesses’ marketing budgets – particularly in the digital sector - are coming under intense scrutiny.
The issue is possibly most acute for online publishers. As
they proliferate, and therefore so does inventory, they are
facing a veritable perfect storm with demand falling from
advertisers. This makes it very hard for those responsible
at publishers for delivering, possibly already stringent, sales
and revenue targets.
However, what is 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
A key option that has been growing in popularity in the digital
industry, and beyond, is corporate trade.
Despite corporate trade, or corporate barter as it’s often
referred to, being well established, it’s only recently that its
visibility has increased and it has become an attractive
method for online media owners, media agencies and
brands, to generate extra value from online marketing
In the digital industry we have recently seen an increasing
number of media owners, ad networks and exchanges
seizing the opportunity to use corporate trade to ensure
value is maximised from their advertising inventory.
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 tablets.
But how does corporate trade work? It 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 utilising corporate trade.
A corporate trade organisation is 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 the corporate
trade business with their advertising inventory which that
organisation’s range of clients can access for their digital
For those in doubt of the value of the industry, Active
International’s global turnover for the last fiscal year was
$869 million. But what are the key factors to bear in mind
when sourcing a corporate trade organisation?
It’s preferable that the corporate trade company has a
worldwide presence. By nature many online publishers will
have a global reach and will therefore want to implement
It’s those corporate trade businesses with operations
around the world which can generate extra value for
media spend within the countries they operate in,
providing added flexibility and value.
Only work with those businesses who have relationships
with leading, recognised online brands and top media
agencies across the likes of Omnicom, Havas, WPP, for
example. It’s only these who are well regarded or
It goes without saying that publishers only sell space to
advertisers that they are happy to have appearing on their
websites to avoid damaging their brand. The larger and
long established corporate trade companies are more
likely to have contacts with a wide range of relevant
advertisers and networks.
Ensure the corporate trade business is open and
honest. To find this out meet up with them before making
an appointment to see what they can offer. They need to
be able to deliver a deal which benefits everyone
The corporate trade business must be able to offer 24/7
reporting on where the inventory/goods and services
exchange stands. In this day and age technology has
progressed sufficiently for any good organisation to offer
this measurement. So always ask what reporting
procedures are in place before making an appointment.
Best practice advice in this sector is always to aim to
identify and partner with the biggest and most
experienced provider in the marketplace - size, volume
and depth of relationships and the provision of the latest
reporting technology is key to delivering value.
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 throughout the remainder of 2012.
In the current difficult economic environment those digital
media owners who don’t consider corporate trade could
be missing a trick.
About the Author
Paul joined Active International in 2003 and became
Director of Media Trading for UK operations in 2009.
Paul has worked in the media industry since
graduating from Leicester University in 1987. Prior to
joining Active International, he held senior Broadcast
and Digital roles at various media agencies and as a
media owner at Open TV.
About Active International
Active International is a global leader in Corporate
Trade, with over 26 year’s global experience. As a
Corporate Trade company Active International allows
its clients to generate Extra Value from their
underperforming stock. Active International buys these
assets using Trade Credits for a greater value than
their clients would receive for cash on the open
market. These Trade Credits can be spent through
Active International as part payment for a range
of services, from media campaigns and printing to
conference facilities and corporate hospitality. Active
International works closely with blue-chip brands which
include John Mills Ltd, Specsavers and Young’s
Seafood, and many of the world’s top 25 media