Please give a quick description of Nexta.io and what you do.
Nexta.io helps local publishers remain relevant for their advertising clients. Our platform enables media sales teams to sell relevant advertising products such as Display, Facebook and Google, and via our integrated and automated campaign optimization platform, we reduce our partners’ cost of operations, such as banner production, campaign optimization and reporting.
Jesper Urban and Martin Jensen co-founded Nexta in 2017 following careers in the programmatic ad space and among leading publishers. They had noticed the dramatic shift in the way advertisers and especially agencies allocated budgets to audience-based platforms like Facebook and Google. At the same time, independent news publishers and marketplaces were no longer top-of-mind for agencies and advertisers – a massive threat to the local media buying process we know and to the advertising revenue among local media outlets.
The market responded and Nexta quickly secured partnerships with market-leading publishers and marketplaces in Europe and has successfully expanded to Australia and Canada. Recently, Nexta appointed Morten Revsbech, a US-based digital media veteran with digital transformation experience from leading US publishers, to lead and support our North American partners.
What makes your company unique?
Nexta.io is the first fully developed AI-driven omnichannel sales and media activation platform, tailor-made for local publishers and media outlets currently selling digital services. The Nexta platform is designed to support the need among local publishers and media outlets to retain autonomy in the digital services space selling social media, search and display ad campaigns, and make it much easier, faster and more cost efficient to sell, place and run digital campaigns while having the technical ability to prioritize owned and operated display inventory and manage first-party data.
How does Nexta.io help a local media company? What problems do you solve?
Our unique, easy-to-use, and intuitive user interface ensures a simple, fast, and fail-safe digital campaign booking process. It enables publishers to have multiple user profiles, from media sales reps and ad operations to even supporting a client-facing self-serve and white-labeled UI. Our goal is to give our partners the ability to serve local SMB clients and their digital campaigns seamlessly and swiftly with technology that allows for several go-to-market strategies. We believe that a small local publisher has a different need than a large national publisher, which we’re positioned to accommodate.
Additionally, Nexta’s proprietary and AI-driven campaign optimization engine, NeOO, gives our partners an edge over their competition by simply running much better performing campaigns for their clients. Here’s what Amedia’s VP of Ad Sales Christian Thu shared with ExchangeWire:
“For us, using the Nexta platform with NeOO is the key component in our strategy of converting print advertising SMBs into digital advertising ones. Thanks to their data-oriented approach and automation, purchasing within publishing has never been so easy. The element that we really love about Nexta’s solution is the way it handles search advertising.”
In short, Nexta makes it easier and more cost-efficient for local publishers to become or continue to be the agency. The platform supports the media sellers learning curve to advise on and sell digital campaigns through simplicity and easy-to-read campaign performance reporting.
Our proprietary algorithm prioritizes locally owned inventory to improve monetization further while achieving better performance to increase client retention. Our partners have a future-proof and fully integrated digital sales platform that, through automation and the Nexta support team, demands a significantly reduced publisher support and fulfillment setup.
How does the technology behind Nexta and NeOO work?
The back-end that powers NeOO consists of two main components: the omnichannel orchestration across supported systems; and the optimization of each individual campaign running on each different channel.
The optimal performance of an online marketing campaign is vital, but what is equally important — and often overlooked — is delivering on the scheduled client investment: Budget, Clicks, Leads, or Conversion of some form. Simultaneously, obtaining optimal performance while delivering the booked volume is highly non-trivial in omnichannel settings. For this reason, the delivery dimension built into NeOO’s omnichannel orchestration layer is a first-class offering.
NeOO enables campaign spend to be formulated as a constraint, allowing a campaign to be tasked with delivering on a specific budget, either entirely, or not more, or not less. This feature gives the user full flexibility to guarantee presence on all channels, regardless of performance, and within a specific spend range. According to their respective performances, if a particular campaign cannot deliver its booked budget, the omnichannel layer dynamically re-allocates the budget to the client’s other delivery campaigns. That ensures that the whole campaign set receives the necessary resources to deliver on the client’s omnichannel target while maintaining optimal performance.
What trends are you seeing in Europe that U.S. companies can learn from?
The European publishers are facing similar challenges as the U.S. local publishers — traditional revenue (mainly print) is decreasing, and publishers are looking for new solutions to bridge the gap. One area is achieving better revenue performance among owned & operated inventory through increased local sell-through and by achieving a higher CPM as programmatic traffic remains at a much lower rate. Nexta is helping to automate and facilitate this through our platform, always prioritizing the publishers’ owned inventory as much as possible while not compromising on the advertising clients’ campaign performance.
Other trends that have emerged amongst local publishers include the search for automation advantages through technological advancements and the proactive pursuit of ways to collect and monetize first-party data. This has been fast-forwarded as we’re entering a new era on audience targeting capabilities, privacy regulation, and advertiser demand into transparency and campaign performance and quality.
Continuing to expand on the value proposition and monetization of owned content will prove key for publishers, as they are inclined to maintain partnerships with less profitable (albeit popular among advertising clients) digital advertising channels, such as Facebook, Google, and Amazon.
How has COVID changed your business?
COVID-19 created a lot of uncertainty among our partners and especially their clients throughout most of 2020. This seems to still be the case in 2021 and is likely to be the case in 2022 in some form.
At Nexta, having a global partner network meant that the shift in remote work and video conferencing/meetings was not a significant shift for us, as that has been our world since we onboarded the first partners back in 2017.
That said, it was clear that our partners were maneuvering through sales declines, which for some meant increased demand and interest in our self-serve and client-facing platform capabilities. Due to cost savings, they were trying to bridge the lack of traditional face-to-face client meetings and accommodate a smaller sales and operations staff size.
What do you think the US market needs to be thinking about in the next 6 months and planning for?
79% of business owners have made changes to operations due to the changing business environment following COVID-19, and +40% of local SMB’s are now making use of online tools and online advertising. 56% of these business owners are saying that at least half of their revenue is now made digitally. Source: Local Advertising Survey 2020 (Facebook).
Local SMBs are rapidly adapting to the remote and increasingly online post-COVID consumer environment and will demand the same from their local advertising partners. Publishers will need to accelerate their digital revenue models and find more ways to continue to be SMBs’ preferred local media and marketing partner while still remaining focused on profitability in offering digital services which will continue to increase in demand among their clients.
In 2018, Rick Edmunds from Poynter stated that media companies “needed to act more like mini ad agencies rather than just selling.” That is even more the case now, but instead of being an “agency” offering everything, the focus should be on providing highly profitable digital services which are often display, SEO and content development. Additionally, publishers should seek out available technology and self-serve platforms, to offer low-margin products such as paid search and paid social media advertising in a much more cost-efficient way.