Placing Financial Marketing Success “In Context”
Dianomi co-founder & CEO, Rupert Hodson Explains the Success of the Company he Leads and Why it Matters to the Future of Financial Marketing
Gramercy Institute Chief Analyst Bill Wreaks recently met up with Dianomi co-founder & CEO Rupert Hodson. Hodson’s fast-growing London-based financial marketing firm (which he co-founded with Dianomi COO Raphael Queisser and CTO Cabell de Marcellus) recently won one of Gramercy Institute’s prestigious “20 Most Valuable Partners in Financial Marketing” awards.
Dianomi provides financial marketers around the world opportunity to market their financial content across its vast financial publisher network alongside contextually-relevant news articles. Dianomi began 2003 and today, serves over 3 billion native ad impressions each month for over 250 different financial clients, reaching over 80 million unique users across its financial publisher network.
Wreaks engaged with Hodson to better understand the business behind Dianomi and what Dianomi’s success might spell for the future of financial services marketing.
WREAKS: Before we talk about Dianomi itself, what’s your impression of our industry today. Is this a good time to be in financial services marketing? Why do you feel this way?
HODSON: It is a fascinating time to be in financial services marketing, particularly with the digital channel paving the way. Brands continue to focus on putting the customer first through developing content marketing strategies aimed at creating awareness, building (or even re-building) trust and encouraging loyalty and retention. There is real opportunity for companies that can enable these brands to reach and engage with their target audience effectively, at scale and in context.
Marketing in context, in our view, is absolutely paramount. The idea of marketing in context in online advertising is being lost as programmatic seeks to deliver 'audiences' for brands, irrespective of environment.
Quality of creative and quality of environment are critical to advertisers. Delivering campaigns targeted to specific financial audiences, while they are actively engaging in financial content has been an age old recipe for success in marketing. We are simply driving this further in the digital age. This is where the real opportunity lies.
WREAKS: What I have always admired about your company is the simplicity of the core value you deliver—to both financial publishers as well as to financial marketers. For the sake of those who might not know, what is Dianomi? How (and why) does it “work” for financial marketers and for financial publishers?
HODSON: We launched Dianomi with the aim of building a business that focused on effective content marketing within the financial services vertical. “Premium” is an often over used word in the digital space, but we firmly stand by it. We have focused on partnering with the world’s leading financial publishers through whom we integrate our Sponsored Financial Content Units. Through these units we promote links to our advertisers thought leadership content, targeting their key financial audiences, all on a pay for performance basis.
Our 250+ publisher partners include the likes of Marketwatch, CNN Money, Kiplinger, Business Insider, Seeking Alpha, Reuters, Barron’s, Nasdaq, The London Stock Exchange, The Australian Stock Exchange and The Singapore Exchange - the list goes on.
We will be announcing some major new publisher deals in the near future and we are only just getting started as we continue to scale both publisher and advertiser demand.
We work with 7 out of the top 10 global banks and 7 out of the top 10 global asset managers. We have offices in New York, London and Sydney and are expanding our reach to Singapore, Canada and continental Europe. The latter, where we are rolling out onto local language publishers.
WREAKS: The native content platform category is growing rather quickly, yes? What kind of growth have you noticed lately at Dianomi and what kind of growth has the native content platform space, itself, experienced in recent months. As the competitive field expands, what specific attributes do you suggest that financial marketers and financial publishers should look for in a native content platform.
HODSON: Yes, is the simple answer. Business Insider have forecast native advertising spending in the US to reach $7.9B this year and $21B in 2018, outpacing growth in search and display. Here at Dianomi we are seeing close to triple digit growth over the last 12 months. All the signs point to our growth rate increasing.
WREAKS: Are there any notable land mines to be made aware of?
HODSON: For both brands and publishers the key land mine to be aware of is that of brand safety. When looking at Content Discovery networks you need to be 100% confident that your content is placed in the right context, not sitting alongside some extreme weight loss ad or Kim Kardashian’s latest antics. Context is key, and this, combined with transparency has been one of the key drivers of our growth, both through providing brand safety to our advertisers, but also to our publishers whom integrate our Sponsored Financial Content Units.
WREAKS: How unique are Dianomi’s services? Why? Is it the technology? The right partnerships? The reporting of results? The service?
HODSON: A key differentiator is our audience. We reach over 22 million desktop uniques a month in the US, all of whom are engaging with financial content. The audience is affluent, over 40% have liquid assets over $100k and 21.5% with liquid assets over $250k.
Through Dianomi our advertisers have a brand safe environment where they are able to deliver links to their content, through to their targeted audience, in context and at the right time.
The focus of the targeting and the affluence of the audience makes the Life-time Value (LTV) for the conversions from our ads extremely valuable to our advertisers. You may have a campaign based on a CPA but unless those accounts you win are really good accounts, you may not be achieving very much.
Of course, our tech and relationship with advertisers and publishers is also key. We are like a test lab for both. A/B testing every ad headline as well as every ad unit position on each publisher and learning together what works and what doesn’t. It’s a synergistic relationship which is very enjoyable.
I am at risk of sounding like a stuck record here but, while our audience is key, it is where we reach this audience that really matters. We have created a brand safe environment where we are able to deliver the right content, to the relevant audience, in context and at the right time.
WREAKS: It seems like I am hearing more and more about native content platforms in recent months. Is this just my imagination or has something changed lately in financial services marketing that makes the services of Dianomi particularly pertinent to the objectives of financial marketers right now? Why does it seem that circumstances are shifting in the right direction these days for your specific services?
HODSON: Financial services marketing has become less about promoting an individual product or service and more about providing content to a user that educates them into making an informed decision. This fundamental marketing shift has been driving the growth in native content platforms, across all verticals.
I am an investor, so when I am researching a market sector, say emerging markets on the Marketwatch site, and on reading the article I see a sponsored link to J.P. Morgan Asset Management's market commentary on emerging markets, I get real value from clicking through to that content. There is real benefit, and at the same time JP Morgan are able to highlight their emerging market fund range, which also presents a solution to my needs. I will research it. It really is a win win win solution for the publisher, the advertiser and the consumer.
This targeted distribution is the key driver to our growth.
WREAKS: How do you measure your clients’ success? I suppose that this is both a “metrics” question as well as a “customer service” question. How do you know that you are doing well by your clients?
HODSON: One of the first questions we ask new clients is “What will success look like for you?” That is because we are very flexible in how we can deliver results. We can back into a CPA from a CPC, we can measure actions on site and level of engagement. We can even deliver CPL campaigns. But the most important thing is that we know what success looks like to the client and how we will be measured. Our business is based on long term relationships many over 12 years, so we are in it for the long term and don’t have any interest in spending budget that doesn’t deliver ROI.
We have 95% YoY client retention over the last three years for our top 40 clients. We believe that this speak volumes.
WREAKS: Here’s a related (though much broader) question. At the end of the day, how do you measure your own success and the success of Dianomi. In short, what makes you happy and satisfied about doing the work that you do?
HODSON: Unlike some of our competitors, we have kept razor focused within the financial services vertical. Rather than chasing the fastest buck, we have focused on maintaining our brand integrity, only working with premium advertisers and publishers. We turn away as many advertisers looking to run on our platform as we take on. This long term focus on quality and building long term relationships has really started to pay dividends over the last few years.
How do we measure our down success? Well, that simply comes down to exceeding the KPIs set from both our advertisers and publishers. This is what makes Dianomi tick. If we are delivering market-leading results for both, which we do, then that is the perfect recipe for further growth.
Co-founder & CEO, Dianomi
Bill Wreaks, CEO & Chief Analyst, Gramercy Institute
For more information on this interview:
Rupert Hodson/Co-founder & CEO, Dianomi
"Wreaks Speaks” interviews are designed by The Gramercy Institute to feature the ideas and advice of leading figures in financial services marketing. For more information regarding this program, please contact:
Bill Wreaks , CEO & Chief Analyst
The Gramercy Institute