Missed Opportunities?

  |  May 19, 2010   |  Comments

Are you taking advantage of all sources to advance your behavioral program?

Are you at the point where your on-site behavioral targeting program is pushing its boundaries for improvement? Conversion rates have been optimized and are starting to show less overall improvement - even as user traffic continues to grow?

Where do you look for the next step to improve site performance? Micro-segmentation? More A/B testing?

What about looking at an existing partner - one that has already invested in similar user-based targeting programs? Who is this unlikely partner? Your ad network. Yes, the one you spend dollar after dollar with, relying on their network of websites and affiliates to drive additional leads and visitors to your site.

In many cases, they have already done the heavy lifting of identifying your visitor and tracking their behavior - and have even delivered an ad or two based on pre-determined criteria. In developing your relationship with an ad network, you have already specified your target profiles - why not take better advantage of the data?

Once this visitor passes through their network and into your site - what happens? Where is all the data that they collected along the way? How well prepared are you to deliver a truly relevant experience to them? And how can you make the experience even more relevant by linking your onsite behavioral program with rich external data?

How much do you know about this visitor - the one affiliated with an ad network? For most businesses, their knowledge is limited to knowing what ad the visitor clicked on or what display ad the consumer was exposed to.

Is this helpful? Yes, of course. It allows you to deliver a corresponding landing page, offer, or some combination of both based on their last action. But what if you were to tap into their entire behavioral profile - and extend that to your site?

As ad network consolidation continues and major content providers look to sell and manage ad space directly to buyers, ad networks are seeking new audiences and opportunities to commoditize their data. Buying and integrating ad data from your ad network or third-party data provider may be the next step in the evolution of this complex relationship. In many ways, the ad networks have a unique opportunity to deliver not just targeted ads, but the profile and/or history of a specific consumer.

While this may seem like a compelling opportunity to enhance your optimization program - a few potential roadblocks to this panacea of targeting may exist:

  • Data integrity: How well can you trust the data coming from anyone outside of your organization? Are you comfortable accepting external data at face value - and using it to render unique content and offers? What is the risk of getting this wrong?

  • Pre-existing behavioral groups: To take advantage of this new data set, your business must not only have confidence in the data coming in, but the framework to support it. This means you need to have your segments well defined, and your business rules ready to go, when the visitor arrives.

For businesses that can handle this mass amount of data, consider engaging with your ad networks to see how you can take advantage of their insights and information.

If your organization isn't quite ready to take this step, take advantage of all the requirements you originally gave your ad network when establishing your original arrangement. Make sure that you're leveraging the same segmentation criteria as they are - and start testing. Even if you can't make the leap to taking their data, you can certainly test your original targeting criteria and optimize your spend.

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Andrea Fishman

Andrea Fishman, VP of strategy and a partner at BGT Partners, leads BGT's Chicago office and has extensive experience in marketing and management consulting. She and her team drive value to BGT's clients through the development of behavioral marketing programs, web analytics, measurement programs, industry benchmarking, competitive assessments, and the design of integrated marketing programs.

Andrea has been with BGT since 2003 and is credited with strengthening partnerships with such clients as ADT, Sony, ADP, and Avaya. Prior to joining BGT, she served as global vice president at divine, inc. She's also held strategic positions within marchFIRST, The Lewin Group, and the office of U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy.

A graduate of Brandeis University, Fishman was awarded the Wasserman Scholarship for academic achievement and was named a 2010 Stevie Awards Finalist as Best Executive in a Service Business. She is a frequent judge for the eHealthcare Leadership Awards and is involved with the Special Olympics and Chicago Cares, a community service organization.

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