More articles by David Dowhan
Cut Through the Noise in Targeting with First-Party Data
ADOTAS – The biggest problem with “big data” in the advertising ecosphere isn’t bigness, per se. It’s the attendant noise factor (in scientific parlance) that thwarts the most diligent efforts to divine meaningful direction from so much third-party data… and there is a lot of data out there. How do you know what data is useful without costly rounds of trial and error?
Basic descriptive data such as estimated age and income can be a weak proxy for the target consumer; however, combining even a small handful of online attributes to define a target market often results in low scale and high data costs. Generic data clusters that group a large number of households into individual data segments with names like “soccer moms” and “urban strivers” have big scale, but they were never designed for precision, targeted marketing. The result is usually a larger-scale campaign, but not enough signal in the data to create meaningful targeting efficiencies. Unfortunately, it is the marketer’s budget that literally pays for the inefficiencies.
Finding the right data signals for a given marketing opportunity is an analytical exercise that should be based upon empirical data. This is why it is important to leverage the marketers’ first-party data to cut through the din and find the right targeting signals from within the vast sea of big data.
Marketers’ own first-party data, when coupled via predictive analytics with thousands of offline, third-party data points about consumers, dampens the noise to enable the most high-quality prospects to emerge, with a minimum of wasted ad impressions. High-quality offline data is stable, reliable and verifiable. It is not based on opinion or inferred information. It represents real intelligence about real people.
Think about it: Marketers already know exactly who their best customers are. They have lots of information about which of their existing customers represent the most lifetime value. So why not target people who most closely resemble these existing, best customers?
Take the online higher education market as an example. Many people of all ages consider taking online courses to pursue an advanced degree or to reinvent themselves after being laid off. Plenty of them will use a search engine or visit a website and fill out a form seeking information about course offerings, but only a small fraction of these prospects will actually enroll. In other words, completing an online inquiry form about online higher education is not a great predictor of someone actually becoming a student. Some online higher-education marketers have learned that the shortest route to their best prospects begins with a deep data dive on their most successful current students. This exercise can be performed by an outside data specialist, one who has access to many different data sources and who can algorithmically define the right combination of traits of a successful, high-value prospective student. By combining the power of many data sets into a single audience model based on a marketer’s best customers, this process can identify millions of high-value “look-alike” prospects who are more likely to enroll and successfully complete their degree program.
This custom-built, look-alike audience, derived from the marketer’s own first-party data, can be reached using relatively inexpensive real-time bidding (RTB) media inventory. Only consumers who match the high-value custom profile are served display ads, greatly reducing wasted ad impressions.
The same techniques work across a variety of product and service categories to reach consumers with the highest propensity to transact. Moreover, marketers can reach these consumers at the top of the proverbial marketing funnel, before they’ve exhibited any in-market online behavior — and before their competitors reach them. For all of its strengths, online behavioral targeting is not very effective at differentiating between high-value prospects and lower-value prospects. Moreover, it only works on the limited set of prospects who are showing behavioral signals. What about the millions of high-quality prospects farther up the funnel? To focus advertising dollars on high-value prospects earlier in the consideration cycle, one needs to look beyond behavioral indicators.
To be sure, behavioral targeting and high-value profile audience targeting are very complementary. Profile audience targeting influences the right prospects earlier in their consideration cycle, and behavioral targeting helps seal the deal at the bottom of the funnel. The beauty of high-value audience targeting is that marketers can reach highly profitable prospects before the competition. In order for the bottom funnel to grow, you have to feed the top. Just make sure that you’re feeding the upper funnel with your highest-value prospects.
You’re right on here, David. We’ve seen through our work with marketers that they truly do know what is most important to their customers and they’re already collecting a ton of data, but how are they using it?
Get Smart Content (www.getsmartcontent.com) allows marketers to use their first party data to target and provide the most relevant content to their potential customers on their website. Using Smart Content, we’ve seen brands increase conversions and decrease bounce rates on their site as they connect their visitors with the content and calls to action that are most relevant.
Get Smart Content will allow website owners to target based upon any first party data that you know about your visitor, geotargeting, referral URL, actions already completed on your site, social engagement, time/day/date, mobile device and number of times they have previously visited your site.
By utilizing first party data, marketers have the opportunity to truly connect and engage their customers.
Leave a Comment
- Preview: What’s Happening at Internet Week New York 2013
- Video from the Westchester Digital Summit
- Automating Core Processes Can Reduce ‘Little Big Problems’ That Ruin Customer Relationships
- Unleash the Power of Mobile: 6 Steps to Lead Generation the ‘Iron Man’ Way
- Who’s Sharing My Brand Images? Why Text-Based Social Media Monitoring Falls Short
Take the Display Advertising Survey for the Chance to Win a Jawbone Jambox!ADOTAS – Industry discussions about cookies, privacy and the impact on display advertising have been frequent — and, in some [...] more...
- Watch it Live: Xbox Reveal, 5/21 at Noon EDT/10 a.m. PDT May 20th 2013 ADOTAS (via CNET) – Check out CNET’s live coverage of [...] more »
- Today’s Burning Question: Implications of Yahoo’s Tumblr Acquisition? May 20th 2013 ADOTAS – Today we’ve solicited comments from industry leaders in [...] more »
- AFAIK: Poptent, Clear Channel Outdoor, Infusionsoft, Silverpop May 20th 2013 ADOTAS — Here’s what jumped out of my Inbox and [...] more »
- Live Twitter feed from Internet Week New York May 20th 2013 ADOTAS – This year’s Internet Week New York (#IWNY) will [...] more »
- Preview: What’s Happening at Internet Week New York 2013 May 20th 2013 ADOTAS — Digital advertising and technology collide this week as [...] more »
- Report: David Karp sells Tumblr to Yahoo! for $1.1 Billion May 20th 2013 ADOTAS (via New York’s Daily News) — Who wants to [...] more »
- It’s Not Digital – It’s Mobile May 17th 2013 ADOTAS — One of the biggest mistakes advertisers can [...] more »
- Preview: What’s Happening at Internet Week New York 2013 May 20th 2013
- Video from the Westchester Digital Summit May 17th 2013
- Automating Core Processes Can Reduce ‘Little Big Problems’ That Ruin Customer Relationships May 17th 2013
- Unleash the Power of Mobile: 6 Steps to Lead Generation the ‘Iron Man’ Way May 16th 2013
- Who’s Sharing My Brand Images? Why Text-Based Social Media Monitoring Falls Short May 16th 2013
- Print and Web Manager
- SEO Marketing PPC Specialist
- Marketing Summer Internship at Clean-Tech Educatio
- Service Line Manager - Digital Media
- SEO / SEM Specialist
- Pinterest Roundup — May 2013 | Technology for Publishing LLC: [...] Early Pinterest Analytics Show Brand Potential [...]
- YouTube Turns Eight As Platform Surpasses More Than 100 Hours Of Video … | HOW CAN I GET MONEY: [...] in the look, feel and behavior of Google Objects. The integration is easy, and
- MobiKeith: Well done. Gr8 read. Concepts can b used in general sales/marketing environment. Tx.
- Client News Weekly Wrap Up: [...] PunchTab founder and CEO Ramjet Kumaran, lists four best practices for using incentives to attract and