Audience Data Management is Key to Performance-Based Advertising

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ADOTAS — Audience data is typically a performance marketing company’s best yet least utilized possession. Understanding customers and their online behavioral actions can change the way an advertiser develops, executes and manages its online customer acquisition strategy. Driving more relevant and meaningful customer and advertiser interactions is the key to ensuring an effective and profitable online advertising campaign.

The rise of Big Data and more sophisticated audience analysis tools has forever changed online customer acquisition — for the better. Marketing decisions can no longer be based on a hunch or what may have worked in the past. Now, data must inform every digital marketing decision.

The key to developing and executing these highly relevant and extremely efficient interactions comes down to how well marketers understand and use data in their online advertising campaigns.

Data provides a window into a customer’s or prospect’s behavior, whether it is past, present or future actions. This allows marketers to make fact-based assessments about their customers. Understanding the “What, When, Where and How” arms companies with the information needed to target customers based on their actual behavioral patterns. Data also help marketers anticipate future actions, preparing them to better up-sell and cross-sell additional products by recognizing evolving marketing trends.

All of which begs an important question: If the answer to improving online advertising performance is so easy, why isn’t every company mastering and reaping the rewards from this concept?

The vast majority of companies collect customer data; however, they face a variety of obstacles in using this data to drive strategic change. Here are three strategies to help you take advantage of your company’s audience data.

Understand the Data You Already Have

Even though many companies collect data from their online advertising campaigns they are often doing so by way of executing some other more short-term, action-driven initiative. This approach tosses aside heaps of valuable information.

Think of all of the information collected by simply having a prospect click on a banner ad, email or landing page. From that one action alone we already know so much about a prospect. We know what sites she visited before clicking on the ad. We can gain a pretty good idea of her current physical location in the world. And, in many cases, we know her age and demographic information, the time and day she interacted with the ad and the type of device (mobile, tablet or desktop) she used to engage with the ad.

Understanding which media channels your customers and prospects are using as they make their way through the purchase consideration cycle offers an enormous edge in making smart, strategic decisions, especially when layered with the aforementioned audience data.

Understand How and Why to Use Data

A widely prevalent and difficult hurdle to overcome in audience data management is understanding how and why to use your data. Harnessing the individual channels of data for the betterment of overall performance can be an overwhelming task. Confronted with a consistently growing pool of customer information marketers are faced with a shortage of actionable insight that can be assembled from the data that already exists.

Invest in Internal Data Management Resources

Many companies fail to invest in internal department or resources dedicated to data management. This is often due to an overwhelming focus and attention on immediate advertiser results at the expense of properly understanding the underlying factors affecting a campaign. That is precisely the type of issues that proper audience data management helps elucidate.

Understanding data to improve the overall health of digital performance can sometimes be a deeper investment on the front end but often pays off handsomely when correctly executed.

Furthermore, there are so many channels to manage, and so many different skill sets needed to manage these channels, that the tradeoff is usually a loss of data sharing within a marketing team. This can be offset by creating an internal marketing unit specifically dedicated to examining a company’s entire data landscape and funneling resources to the necessary business units based on information gleaned from that data.

It’s been said that “Data is king” and, in the case of online marketing, this is often true. Marketers that respect and understand data the best will achieve the most performance from their online advertising campaigns.