A num­ber of years ago dur­ing the dot-com boom, I worked at an online gro­cer man­ag­ing its direct mar­ket­ing pro­grams. (Remem­ber Home​Gro​cer​.com and Web­van who acquired it?)  Although we were an Internet-based com­pany, an offline direct mar­ket­ing chan­nel, direct mail, was the most cost-effective for us in acquir­ing new cus­tomers.  What mat­tered to us was reach­ing the right audi­ences by get­ting the right mail­ing lists to drive new cus­tomer acqui­si­tions. We tested hun­dreds of mail­ing lists to reach dif­fer­ent audi­ence segments—everything from mag­a­zine sub­scribers to consumer-compiled files—in an effort to reach the right audi­ences and gen­er­ate new cus­tomers cost-effectively.

Since then, direct mar­ket­ing has changed a lot. We have a lot more options in dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing. Dis­play adver­tis­ing has also changed sig­nif­i­cantly, with sev­eral new opportunities:

  • ad exchanges
  • demand side platforms
  • data man­age­ment platforms
  • every­thing in real time

As Things Change, Mar­keter Objec­tives Have Stayed the Same

Ulti­mately, we want to reach the right audi­ence with the right mes­sage to drive a con­ver­sion, and we want to do that meet­ing our mar­ket­ing ROI, or cost per con­ver­sion, goals.

To meet our mar­ket­ing ROI and cost per con­ver­sion goals, it is and always has been about reach­ing the right tar­get audi­ence with the right mes­sage. What changed, with a big impact on dis­play adver­tis­ing, is that we now have Big Data. Adver­tis­ers now have access to huge amounts of audi­ence data for tar­get­ing of dis­play ads that includes web­site activ­ity and ana­lyt­ics data plus offline cus­tomer data. Mar­keters can use advanced tech­nol­ogy plat­forms to man­age audi­ence data and to reach their audi­ences with dis­play ads and con­tent across the Web in real time.

Today, dis­play adver­tis­ers are using demand-side plat­forms (such as Adobe Media Opti­mizer for Dis­play) to reach their audi­ences across ad exchanges and opti­mize their cam­paigns to meet their objec­tives. Many are also adopt­ing data man­age­ment plat­forms (like Adobe Audi­ence Man­age­ment, which is a capa­bil­ity of Adobe Media Opti­mizer) to bet­ter iden­tify, seg­ment, man­age, and acti­vate their high-value audi­ences and give them a holis­tic view of their key audi­ences across their busi­ness, online and offline, and across third-party data sources.

Effi­cient Audi­ence Targeting

When plan­ning a real-time bid­ded dis­play cam­paign, we have to con­sider the usual chal­lenges of a dis­play advertiser.

  • We may not be meet­ing our mar­ket­ing ROI or cost per con­ver­sion objec­tives and need to bet­ter iden­tify and get access to more high-value audi­ences that do perform.
  • If we are meet­ing our per­for­mance objec­tives, we often aren’t get­ting enough of those audiences—our tar­get audi­ences are too small.  We need to increase the size of the address­able audi­ence and reach more of them across the Web.
  • It’s dif­fi­cult to reach our audi­ences across dif­fer­ent chan­nels and user touch points. A chal­lenge may be that we are using dif­fer­ent and sep­a­rate sys­tems for Web ana­lyt­ics, dis­play (demand-side plat­form), ad serv­ing, on-site opti­miza­tion, and these aren’t all work­ing seam­lessly together to enable an adver­tiser to reach their audi­ences across channels.

Doing audi­ence tar­get­ing more effi­ciently can address some of the chal­lenges of dis­play advertising.


Iden­tify Your High-Value Audiences

Many adver­tis­ers don’t have vis­i­bil­ity into what makes up their best per­form­ing audience—what pages have they vis­ited on their web­site, what key­words have they searched for, what prod­ucts have they pur­chased, what are the demo­graph­ics and busi­ness attrib­utes of the users, etc. Hav­ing more vis­i­bil­ity into your high-value audi­ences gives you the oppor­tu­nity to find more high-value and high-performing audiences.

An audi­ence man­age­ment plat­form lets an adver­tiser com­pile audi­ence data from var­i­ous sources, iden­tify high value audi­ences, and make them action­able for cross chan­nel marketing.

First-party data is typ­i­cally the foun­da­tion for build­ing out an audi­ence for a real-time bid­ded dis­play adver­tis­ing campaign—these are the high­est per­form­ing audi­ences.  An audi­ence or data man­age­ment plat­form (DMP) like Adobe Audi­ence Man­age­ment can ingest first-party Web ana­lyt­ics and offline CRM data and make it avail­able for retargeting.

  • First-party online data like site vis­i­tor data from your Web ana­lyt­ics solu­tion shows you the users who have expressed inter­est in your brand or prod­ucts by com­ing to your web­site and have shown intent through their behav­iors on your site. Have they have aban­doned the shop­ping cart, vis­ited prod­uct pages, down­loaded a white paper, filled out an appli­ca­tion, searched for a spe­cific key­word before com­ing to site, engaged with con­tent, etc.?
  • First-party offline may include CRM, prod­ucts pur­chased, mar­ket­ing, point of sale (POS), call cen­ter engage­ment, and other cus­tomer data.

First-party audi­ences can be aug­mented with third-party data to increase the size of the address­able audi­ence and extend the reach of those valu­able audi­ence seg­ments for dis­play advertising.

  • Most audi­ence man­age­ment plat­forms are inte­grated with the top third-party data providers.
  • These may include busi­ness and con­sumer data.  As exam­ples, Bizo pro­vides busi­ness data (job titles, indus­try, income level), and Exe­late pro­vides con­sumer demo­graphic data (gen­der, age group, lifestyle interests).

An audi­ence man­age­ment plat­form can acti­vate audi­ences for cross-channel marketing.

  • Audi­ences are syn­di­cated to exter­nal ad tar­get­ing and con­tent deliv­ery platforms.
  • An adver­tiser can deliver a con­sis­tent and rel­e­vant expe­ri­ence across their dis­play adver­tis­ing, on their web­site, and other channels.

Here is how audi­ence man­age­ment can work with your demand-side plat­form to help you meet your dis­play objectives.

Demand-side plat­forms

  • Reach audi­ences in real time across the Web to drive conversions.
  • Reach high-value audi­ences across top ad exchanges (Google Dou­bleclick Exchange, Face­book Exchange, etc.).
  • Meet per­for­mance objec­tives. The plat­form allo­cates ad bud­get across dis­play cam­paigns to opti­mize for a customer’s objec­tive and eval­u­ates each impres­sion in real time and opti­mizes bids at the impres­sion level to max­i­mize performance.

Audi­ence management

  • Ingest audi­ences data from var­i­ous sources includ­ing first-, second-, and third-party offline and online data.
  • Drive bet­ter per­for­mance with more access to high-value first-party audi­ences through seam­less ana­lyt­ics integration.
  • Increase address­able audi­ence by aug­ment­ing first-party data with sec­ond– and third-party data, and look-alike models.
  • Acti­vate audi­ences for cross chan­nel mar­ket­ing, enabling an adver­tiser to deliver a con­sis­tent and rel­e­vant expe­ri­ence across the dis­play ad, web­site, and other channels.

Although the world of mar­ket­ing has become much more com­plex, our objec­tives have ulti­mately stayed the same.  For dis­play adver­tis­ing, we can meet those objec­tives more effi­ciently through audi­ence tar­get­ing and management.

For more on this topic, check out the Adobe Sum­mit ses­sion “Unleash the power of dis­play adver­tis­ing through ana­lyt­ics and audi­ence tar­get­ing.”