Launch an Audience-First Data Strategy in 3 Simple Steps

The number of cord-cutters, adults who abandon pay TV in favor of streaming services, is accelerating rapidly according to eMarketer and is expected to be more than one-fifth of the U.S. population by the end of 2022. But, when a telecommunications company offering fiber optic services, including fiber internet, fiber phone, and fiber IPTV asked us to help them expand their footprint and improve their online sales, we were up for the challenge. To appeal to the cord-cutting crowd, we chose to promote our client’s reliable high-speed internet connections that power consumers’ streaming entertainment with an audience-first data strategy. “Audience first” simply means before you ever think about creating your digital media campaign, you first should think about and understand your prospects well. What advertising creative, format, messaging and channels will most appeal to them and engage them enough to convert? Let your target audience shape and guide everything you do and how you do it.

How Our Audience-First Data Strategy Performed

For this programmatic campaign, we set out to drive new client signups and prove our client’s ad investment was worth it. So, we matched our media results throughout the campaign back to our client’s sales data to track and measure the return on ad spend (ROAS). How did our campaign ultimately perform?

  • We saw an average increase of 215% in signups for our client’s high-speed internet year over year and a 534% increase in overall average ROAS.
  • Because our team provided real-time analytics and attribution insights, the telecommunications company could truly start to make key business decisions based on data and maximize their results.
  • Our client also saw a halo effect, in which signups from other mediums, such as call centers, Salesforce, and programmatic, increased due to customers first seeing our digital advertising.

Want to generate amazing results like this for yourself? Follow these steps to make our audience-first data strategy work for you:

Audience-First Data Strategy Step #1: Gather and analyze relevant data.

Examine your first-party data, such as your customer relationship management (CRM) data and site data. This will tell you where your customers and leads go online, how they behave, what they’re interested in, and what they need. Knowing your prospects’ preferences and thoroughly understanding their online and offline behaviors can help you streamline your advertising efforts and minimize wasteful spending. Then, tap into third-party data to widen your prospect net and amplify your message beyond the leads you already have. This will help you find new people who resemble your ideal customer and who could be most receptive to your message and likely to buy.

Audience-First Data Strategy Step #2: Combine display and search to reach potential customers throughout the sales funnel.

Why Display?

  • targeted, personalized, and measurable
  • diverse sizes, novel formats and interactive features
  • visually appealing and attention-grabbing way to introduce your brand to prospects as they browse the web
  • supports brand awareness and brand recall at the top of the funnel

Why Search?

  • cost-effective way to compete with rivals and complement digital media efforts
  • gets eyeballs on your business: your URL, company description, at times even ad extensions, such as your address, map or click-to-call button
  • visible to shoppers at the bottom of the funnel who are actively searching, considering and looking to buy now
  • sends high-qualified traffic to your website and provides robust analytics to help improve your campaign results

Why Are They Better Together?

Integrating display and search so they work together makes your overarching campaign more cohesive. Combining the two lets you target your prospects from different angles – when they are and when they aren’t searching for you – and can improve your ROAS.

Audience-First Data Strategy Step #3: Use Display and Search Targeting to Your Advantage

Audience targeting can get your advertising in front of the right group of people who exhibit the traits, interests and behaviors that are most valuable to your business. Whether running a display or search campaign, here are some targeting methods to try.

Display Targeting

Use Your CRM data to find eligible users through data matching with IP address targeting. IP address targeting can reach people who work at a certain business or who are a part of the same household. You can run any name, physical address or zip code you know through an IP mapping system, and it will match up with an IP address so you can then target a person on a specific device. For our client’s display campaign, we did just that. We looked at their first-party data and matched physical addresses within their serviceable areas to IP addresses. This allowed us to cost-effectively deliver personalized display advertising to eligible users. Focus on site data to find and advertise again to users you want to convert with retargeting. Track prospects who visited your site while they are browsing online. Re-advertise to them within a certain amount of time to encourage them to act, whether that’s to take a specific action or purchase your product or service. Typically, retargeting is done within a few minutes or up to a few hours after a prospect leaves your website to be most effective. We implemented a layered pixel strategy on our client’s website for our display campaign to capture users at every stage of the sales funnel. This allowed us to segment our best prospects who didn’t complete the signup process and then retarget them with specifically tailored display advertising later to nudge them one more time to convert. (Of course, we excluded those users who had already signed up.)

Search Targeting

Optimize your campaign on your sales goal and focus on keywords that show intent to purchase (or intent to switch providers in this case) with zip code targeting. Zip code targeting lets you home in on prospects based in a specific location, like in a residential area or across a few city blocks. For our client’s search campaign, we used zip code targeting to concentrate on serviceable areas and leveraged the same pixels as the display campaign. We strived to target in-market users by optimizing on signups (not clicks) and focused on keywords that showed intent to switch providers so we could drive more orders. When you follow these three steps – gather and analyze relevant data, combine the power of display and search, and include the right display and search targeting methods to reach your prospects – you’ll have the necessary components to start your own successful audience-first data strategy. But, remember, you don’t have to strategize alone. Looking to build a solid new partnership? Look no further. We can stand by you no matter your goal and can offer you unmatched digital media expertise plus the best-in-class technology and tools you need to significantly improve your sales performance and growth. Reach out to us to learn more!

Digital Is Shaking Up OOH Advertising

Out-of-home (OOH) advertising has existed for decades through billboards, benches, bus wraps, indoor displays and elevator posters. But while OOH advertising inventory was previously only available in traditional mediums, advanced technology is opening the door for buyers and sellers to get in on new digital ad inventory, known as digital out of home (DOOH). This is great news for digital marketers, but what do you need to know to take advantage? Get the inside scoop on DOOH here: What is DOOH and how big is it? Reshaping the traditional advertising industry, DOOH typically includes digital displays in public areas, such as bus stations, airports, shopping malls, movie theaters, sports arenas, and more. And as DOOH inventory continues to rise, so does investment among advertisers. Marketing research firm eMarketer cites recent reports that show U.S. DOOH ad spending will increase by over 10% this year to $2.8 billion, accounting for nearly a quarter of the total OOH advertising spend. At the same time, total OOH ad spending will grow just 3.6% in 2019 — meaning the influx in DOOH dollars is coming from traditional OOH advertising budgets. Even though DOOH is experiencing healthy growth fueled by traditional budgets right now, it won’t be long before it steals budget from other digital media line items too. How can you take advantage of DOOH’s benefits?

  • Reduced Creative Change Costs – Printing and installing traditional OOH advertising infrastructure is time-consuming and costly. Instead, use DOOH displays that are updated remotely within seconds. For instance, a pet food manufacturer can swap ads for chicken-based treats with venison kibble immediately after a salmonella outbreak hits the news.
  • Advanced Creative Variation – Visuals are often limited to static images and messages in traditional OOH advertising. Video inventory through DOOH can add variety and keep viewers interested. For example, an amusement park can feature a video from the front seat of their new roller coaster in ads to catch passersby’s attention and drive excitement around season pass sales.
  • Improved Engagement – While reach and branding potential are high for OOH advertising, especially in urban areas, there’s limited engagement with traditional placements and no way to prove viewers saw the message. However, special sensors and software in new DOOH displays allow consumers to interact with the ad, increasing engagement, activation and attribution efforts. This can be very impactful for businesses with brick-and-mortar locations, like a gym, to drive in-store visits. In this example, the ad could enable users to select from popular fitness classes via a touch screen and show directions to the nearest fitness studio based on their selection.
  • Enhanced Targeting – A traditional one-to-many targeting approach relies on broad third-party demographic and geographic data to reach the masses. Sophisticated digital targeting employs first-, second- and third-party data on location information, traffic density and historical foot traffic patterns. Then, individual-level audience information gets paired back to consumers’ mobile devices as they pass by respective screens. So, a new Mexican restaurant can target inventory where the highest concentration of millennials who eat at Taco Bell at least once a week walk by during the lunch hour.
  • Greater Relevancy – A single creative is typically used throughout the duration of a traditional OOH advertising campaign. But with DOOH, ad creatives can be customized based on real-time factors, such as weather, traffic, time of day, sports scores, and more. For instance, a car dealership can push truck and SUV ads on snowy days, run ads for sports cars when it’s sunny, and promote hybrid vehicles during rush hour commutes.

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Intriguing Digital Marketing News You Should Know (June 2019)

The headlines keep coming fast. Our industry keeps changing fast. Now, you can ramp up your knowledge fast without losing any momentum when you read our June 2019 expertly compiled digital marketing news then dig deeper into the articles that most intrigue you:

“The OTT space is fairly complicated because it’s still kind of emerging,” said Charlie Chappell, head of media at The Hershey Company. “We’re investigating all the different ways in. When I say investigating — we’re spending meaningful money to be able to understand how it works and what impact it has on our business to figure out which one’s going to work the best for us going forward.”

How much media spending The Hershey Company is going to move into OTT and esports remains to be seen. Chappell said they’re taking a wait-and-see approach: “There is no doubt that the consumer is going to OTT and moving to gaming and esports. We’re going to move at the rate the consumer moves. If they move faster, we’ll move faster. If not, we won’t.”

  • What’s bigger now than Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Prime Day. Now in its fifth year, the event will kick off at midnight on July 15 and last 48 hours.

“In just a few years, Prime Day has become such an important online holiday it affects everyone,” says Alice Fournier, an ecommerce analyst at Kantar Retail. “It’s moved so quickly that it plays an important role in promotional planning for most brands.”

Amazon brick-and-mortar competitors are surely planning how to take advantage of Amazon’s holiday hoopla: how to connect with customers looking for deals and how to drive more traffic to their own sales and promotions in-store during this crucial time.

During a recent Cannes Lion panel, Linda Yaccarino, chairwoman of advertising sales and client partnerships at NBCUniversal, parent company of CNBC said, “When you have to make more programming that’s not guaranteed to be a hit, you have to spend more money, you have to build your brand, you have to help the consumer discover your stuff — the price will go up for the subscription, and it would be logical to mitigate those increases to take ads.”

If Netflix did decide to incorporate commercials, just how they would do it is anyone’s guess. It’s possible they would stick to the traditional tried-and-true structures and formats, but maybe they would choose to innovate.

Peter Naylor, head of ad sales at Hulu said during the panel, “The future of ad-supported media does not resemble what we’re doing today in terms of ad load or even ad shape. It can be interactive advertising or nonintrusive advertising. I think you’re going to see a lot of innovation from all these new OTT providers because we’re allowed to. We’re not married to the clock. Fifteen and 30-second ads were a product of linear TV. When everything’s on demand and served through an IP address, the ad experience is going to dramatically improve.”

  • Spotify is trying to make its advertising more valuable and generate more money by offering advertisers a more specific and better way to reach consumers: through podcast-based targeting.

With only music targeting available before, advertisers got basic insight into desired customers: their general demographics, the music genre they consumed, the playlists they built. But, now podcast ad targeting may be more beneficial to advertisers since it can drill down to the podcast category people are interested in, revealing their interests and hobbies.

The focus on podcasts will continue to be a priority at Spotify. A Spotify spokeswoman recently told The Verge that the company will continue to improve advertising around podcasts: “We aspire to develop a more robust advertising solution for podcasts that will allow us to layer in the kind of targeting, measurement, and reporting capabilities we have for ads that run alongside other content experiences like music and video.”

“It’s dramatically different now than it was a year ago,” said Megan Halscheid, VP of media tech strategies at Publicis Media. “We’ve seen it in the interest from our clients and advertisers in terms of a shift. DSPs and SSPs are recognizing the new potential demand for buying this channel. The media owners are making that digital investment anyway. They see the advantages of buying that programmatically.”

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