News & Opinion

Nick Manning: "We need to go back to basics"

Taking to the stage at PAMCo's launch conference this week, MediaLink's Nick Manning discussed the continued importance of reach, context and transparency and described publishers' new audience measurement as part of a wider movement.

We're advertising to people, not algorithms

Opening the morning event, MediaLink's senior vice president said PAMCo is "a welcome beacon of collaboration" and "a return to core principles... based on what advertisers want and need".

Going on to highlight "the lack of common measurement standards in digital media", Manning explained to delegates that PAMCo's approach – which includes panel-based research – "represents the real behaviour of people across platforms" and is "necessary to see through consumers' eyes".

It's his view that "PAMCo is part of a movement", which is "to a certain extent, back to basics", encompassing improved reach, a greater understanding of context and reaching audiences in an environment that is conducive to growth.

"We need to remember that we're advertising to people, not algorithms", he explained, adding that "audiences define themselves through their passions and communities... we need to appeal to those in the right environment and in the right way... people no longer want to be just their data".

With PAMCo opening up the opportunity for fully integrated, cross platform planning, Manning suggests that advertisers should require media agencies to adopt it, asking "why wouldn't you?", while publishers "should continue to innovate to demonstrate the power of their media brands in the attention economy".

PAMCo = a golden opportunity

Echoing this sentiment, Katie Ingram, ESI Media's trade marketing and insight director, described PAMCo as a "golden opportunity", calling on delegates and the industry to embrace change.

"For the first time, we are able to communicate from a brand-first point of view" she said. "We can see how people are interacting with our brands and are able to match the medium to the message".

By using PAMCo to plan, provide proof and create new packages for media planners, Ingram demonstrated how the data can be used to get further up the chain when it comes to strategic planning.

All about an audience first approach

The importance of taking an audience first approach was dominant during the panel session.

Chris Forrester, The Telegraph's CRO, said that insight into how audiences are consuming content across different platforms can now be packaged to find the right partnerships for advertisers. Meanwhile, Newsworks' CEO Vanessa Clifford discussed how PAMCo could be used to create and tailor packages to specific clients' needs – a step publishers are working on at the moment.

Commenting on the granularity of the data, Duncan Tickell, Immediate Media's commercial director, welcomed the fact that "proper single-source data" means an end to "stitching stuff together" and described some of the engagement data as "gold dust". Similarly, Adam Crow, MediaCom's head of print brands, said the reach data enables the delivery of audiences at scale and provides the ability to "talk to people intelligently and accurately".

He also said that, in keeping with the audience first nature of the data, agencies need to breakdown silos and become more integrated in order to put clients first.

What does success look like?

In light of the industry's focus on transparency and context, the panel agreed that the new data has come at the perfect time. Emma Cranston, Manning Gottlieb OMD's head of publishing, cited Newsworks' 'Planning for Profit' research and Radiocentre's 'Re-evaluating Media' study with Ebiquity as sources that back up PAMCo and evidence that "everything is aligning". But what’s next?

Cranston said that she's hoping for a shift in digital revenues for publishers, saying they've had unfair ride given the quality of the content and context they provide, while Tickell said that revenue and business growth is the goal as PAMCo will help publishers build "much more persuasive arguments". He also drew attention to the level of collaboration present, saying "we're all really prepared to work together. Our competitors aren't the people in this room".

Addressing the current focus on short-term metrics, Clifford stressed the need for a balance between short and long-term goals, but said that advertisers aren't going to be convinced entirely against short-term gains. Using PAMCo and other research data to demonstrate how newsbrands and magazines deliver in the short to medium-term is therefore a priority, aided by the fact that PAMCo provides daily and weekly reach insight.

While Forrester pointed out the value there is in quality journalism for advertisers, Tickell added that the new PAMCo data gives publishers the chance to control the narrative around published media and be confident in its effectiveness.

by Jessie Sampson 23/05/18

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