MediaPost Search + Performance Recap: Search Within the Media Mix

The Outbrain team was on the ground at MediaPost Search + Performance conference last week in Captiva Island, Florida, to bring you all the key takeaways and hot topics being discussed by the industry.

Search media can be complex, as seen and heard throughout the MediaPost Search & Performance Insider Summit, where one of the key discussions was the struggles of cross-channel strategies and how to master them.

Marketers today have so much data at their disposal and need assistance in better understanding how to utilize it all.

Too Many Levers vs Too Little Data

Head of Product Marketing at Adobe, Pete Kluge, talked about how search marketers have so many levers they can pull, that they have trouble sifting and sorting through these levers and product capabilities. How do they know what will be the right action? Additionally, search marketers are dealing with scarcity in their conversion data, because so few consumers actually convert in comparison to brand and click data.

Search in the New Performance Plan

Social, Programmatic, and Display are catching up with Search. Buyers now have access to advanced targeting capabilities outside of their search platforms. Crispin S, Vice President of Digital, grew the search business from a $40k plan to $40M over the course of just a few years. However, now that other channels have caught up with search – these kinds of budgets are no longer feasible just in Adwords alone. Search now has to integrate its data with programmatic and social, as it has the final checkpoint conversion data on consumers and will maximize efforts across other channels. Crispin’s thesis statement was that search data drives all media. Going forward – the robust conversion data gained from search buying will help to inform campaign strategy across multiple channels.

What audiences are you reaching? What demographics are converting? What channels are you finding successful?

Bottom line: Search teams need to diversify.

The Struggle with Algorithmic Control

There was one topic that was brought up in almost all of the presentations at Mediapost. Marketers are increasingly concerned with Google taking more algorithmic control over their campaigns in AdWords, Google Display Network (GDN), and YouTube. This is causing Search teams to lose confidence and trust in Google platforms because transparency has waned. Google is taking more of the platform optimizations “in-house” through their algorithms, which means less privacy for consumers, fewer optimizations for brands, and less data for marketers.

Secondly, search marketers are starting to see more walled gardens pop up and more “algorithms” taking control of their marketing budgets, audiences, and strategy. This has caused them to lose crucial data and information for furthering market strategy and informing their clients of what drives conversions. Head of Retail Media of Georgia Pacific, Mike Feldman, said it best stating that “information from vendors is directional at best” when talking about strategy informing algorithms and optimizations.



Throughout the conference, the common subject was that Search marketers need partners who can provide transparency, audience expertise, and a way to diversify outside of the walled gardens of their three core marketing channels. Outbrain can be a major piece in the overall solution to the performance marketing puzzle.

  • Conversion + Data. By onboarding DMP data, marketers can fill in the gaps of their overall conversion data by seeing what those users are actually interested in and model out a larger audience. Outbrain can assist in choosing what data to onboard or suppress, provide owned first-party, proprietary interest data, build lookalike audiences, and give valuable audience insights.
  • Diversification. Performance marketers are increasingly interested in taking advantage of Outbrain’s audience data to better serve their search outcomes. They can utilize our product capabilities and interest data to diversify their learnings across our exclusive premium publisher network. Budget and advanced capabilities are no longer held solely in search platforms as marketers begin to expand outside of the walled gardens (through platforms like Outbrain!).
  • Transparency. The more platforms share with performance teams, the better. Through Outbrain, there are no walled mazes of data often seen (and mentioned at the Summit) through Amazon, Google, and Facebook. You can see for yourself in our easily accessible dashboard.

Want to see how Outbrain can work for you?

Drop us a line, or get started with your first campaign.


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