Interview with Lauren Dick at Mail Metro Media

Meet Lauren Dick from Mail Metro Media 

Are you considering Self-Serve for your business? Interested in hearing from some of the companies that are already enjoying the benefits of automation? We’ve taken the liberty of interviewing some of our clients regarding their thoughts on Self-Serve Advertising and what role they believe it will play in the future. If you’d like to learn more or get in touch with us or any of our clients, reach out and we’ll talk! 

First up: let us introduce Lauren Dick, Business Development Director at Mail Metro Media. Mail Metro Media is the group owner of news titles including The Daily Mail, Metro, The Telegraph, i, and YOU Magazine. Reaching more than 1 in 5 UK adults every day, Mail Metro Media boasts a massive, highly engaged audience, and needed a scalable advertising solution to leverage it. In this first instalment of our summer series of interviews with industry frontrunners, Lauren tells us how the Mail Metro Media Ad Manager, a self-serve platform built by DanAds, is helping both the group and their advertisers, as well as sharing her thoughts on the digital advertising industry and its direction. 

Lauren, you’ve recently embarked on the self serve journey. Can you tell us how you got started? 

It’s something that we’ve actually wanted to do for a long time. We have a very advanced programmatic stack, so we’re very familiar with how automated buying has taken off over the last decade, and it’s certainly one of our major demand sources. So we took the opportunity last year where, with covid and everything changing, we had the opportunity to lean into how SMEs are being impacted – and our chairman was supporting that with millions of pounds of free advertising. We wanted to use that opportunity to say, actually, this is a great time for us to lean into the self-serve platform that we’ve wanted and build that so that we have a super simple access point for small businesses to appear across our titles, but to also work with projects like the IAB (Internet Advertising Bureau) to reset the thinking of the platform. 

In your opinion, what do you believe are the benefits for media owners working with self-support? 

From a resourcing perspective, it’s great that internally it really democratizes everyone’s access to it. So our regional sales team can use it and our non-digital focused sales team can also use it. But it also takes that pressure off of our ad ops team, in terms of having to set up all of these smaller individual bookings, which is great because it gives everyone more access and more visibility across how our ad server is set up and how we prioritize our inventory. As far as we’ve come both internally and for small businesses looking to advertise, everyone is still undergoing that digital transformation and trying to understand how they can capture new audiences online. Having a self-serve platform allows advertisers to really grasp how to set something up for themselves, which in the past always sat with the ad ops team as a very siloed set of resources. 

Why do you think there has been an increasing demand from media owners for these platforms? 

I think you have to look at what the big walled garden platforms (Facebook, Google, Amazon) are doing and see how simple they make that. I mean, my mum could go and set up an advertising campaign if she wanted to – it’s very visual. It’s a step-by-step process. You can’t really go wrong. And it’s also a really, really low price point to enter into that market. So it’s a de-risk test to see if it works, to see if you can find new audiences, to see if it’s the right way that you want to engage with your consumers online. And I think they are absolutely leading the way across how to simplify that process. But more and more consumers and small business owners are actually saying, well, how can we engage across other properties? How can we do this? How can we do that same digital targeting? But look elsewhere to where all of it where our consumers might be. So I think that’s why you’re seeing publishers really lean into those opportunities for self serve, for the ease of use to capture that small business, but then to also kind of see their advertising expanded beyond those sort of walled gardens. 

Looking ahead, what are your predictions for self-serve advertising platforms and what role will they play in the future? 

This is very much in my crystal ball, but I think if we truly are going to look at how we offer something that simple and easy to use for SMEs, but that delivers the scale of those platforms, we really need to collaborate and bring multiple publishers, multiple opportunities for brands to appear against different types of content, different audiences, different context, but all from that single super easy to use, simple slice of single payment gateways, really, really standardized set up for products and targeting. I hope what will happen is in order to scale we’ll start to lean into publishers coming together, bringing smaller networks of publishing or publishing types together so that the SMEs have those opportunities to target, but to expand beyond just those Big Tech platforms.

You’ve been focusing really a lot on the SMEs and on that segment, would you say that that is your primary audience? Are you seeing opportunities for any other types of advertisers using the platform? 

In terms of how it’s actually set up, the opportunity is there for anyone to use it. If the West End agencies decided that they wanted their teams to be able to sell we could look at doing it that way, it’s all plugged directly into our server. If there are smaller agencies, regional agencies who want to do the same again, it is very easy for us to configure that. They have an account and they can set up on that. But I think primarily we have to look again to where I started, which is that the bulk of the demand that we see across the industry now isn’t from those kinds of top 100 advertisers. It’s from the long tail, it’s from people, it’s from small businesses or anyone wanting to find their uses, the consumers that are right for their business and reach them in a very targeted fashion and digital allows them to measure that and allows them to be very granular in how they find those users and how they measure that and how they how they ultimately how they see the uplift. Is it working for them? Is it driving people into their bakery or their dog grooming shop? So it’s very tangible, digital is such a tangible thing to see, for a very small investment. Do I see the ROI straightaway? And I think that the more and more that people lean into testing different types of digital buying, whether that’s true self serve or any other channel they start to feel comfortable with actually like, oh, this is really working. We should do more of this. We should do less of this. We really want to dial up something, dial down. And that’s kind of true for any marketing. But digital really allows you to have those instant results and see whether something’s working for your business. 

Thank you Lauren for taking part in our Summer Interview series. To learn more about the Mail Metro Media Ad Manager,
click here.

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