Moving Beyond Behavioral Ads

  |  September 1, 2010   |  Comments

Ad networks and exchanges offer ways to reach qualified consumers and gain consumer insights. Consider these three ways.

Instead of focusing on pending legislation over behavioral targeting or the more serious privacy concerns over the newly launched Facebook Places, I thought it would be more worthwhile to begin discussing how to leverage the space proactively now.

Reach Qualified Consumers

It is no mystery that the available "non-identifiable" points of data about each online user is fairly extensive and provides publishers and advertisers with various ways to segment, customize, and target inventory. This means if you want to target people interested in candle and soap making, you will have a high degree of certainty that your message will get to the appropriate audience. The Interactive Advertising Bureau's " Networks & Exchanges Quality Assurance Guidelines defines 23 standard tier one content categories and 371 standard tier two sub-categories. With 16 ad networks already signed on, this affords marketers and publishers the opportunity to target similarly and somewhat effortlessly based on defined categories.

Keep in mind, however, that testing is always important. All ad networks are not created equal. Just because targeting those interested in bird watching does not work on one network, does not mean it will not work on another.

Gain Consumer Insights

Another way to leverage networks' data on various consumer behaviors is to gain insight on your target consumer. Consumer insights can be determined by profiling your audience traffic against the nearly 400 categories. This can provide lots of valuable data, including the kind of information that takes you further into the purchase funnel. For example, a wine brand with a high composition of wine enthusiasts coming to its website learns not only about the consumers who love their wine, but also those that convert have a love of French cuisine. This methodology can be applied similarly to advertising engagement metrics.

This insight not only provides you valuable data, but it also can cause marketers to start thinking about where they can create a useful relationship with their customers. There is the opportunity to find out key insights about consumer behavior in the form of passion points, preferences, life stage, and even behaviors. Since what we say is not always what we do, it is invaluable to have actual consumer behavior as another point of insight.

Inversely, it is important to ask why those primarily interested in French cuisine are converting and others are not? This can circle back to consumer segmentation testing to determine why other consumers are not converting at the same rate and what factors are resonating more with a particular segment market.

Offer Something of Value

Remember the consumer and key drivers motivating them to engage with your brand. As we know, it's not advertising or yelling at a consumer that gets their attention nowadays, but rather the seamless entry into their lives that affords them some sort of utility or ability to get precious time back into their lives. Inclusive in this is creative testing to see what messaging, copy, and offers resonate best with different segment groups. You can have one product; however, motivation for purchase can vary vastly. If this is true, consider if your offer and messaging should be as well. Behavioral targeting can circle back to this by testing against these target audiences.

Not all consumers are motivated equally. Recognize this when creating a marketing strategy. Behavioral targeting can be leveraged to learn a great deal about consumers and create a higher degree of relevancy - from pushing out advertising to the various audience segments to gaining insights that can feed into planning strategy and the ultimate nirvana of digital utility.

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Amy Manus

As senior media director for the Razorfish Atlanta office, Amy brings more than 15 years of media expertise that spans across both traditional and digital media. Often noted for her passion of media and dedication to finding the right solution, Amy ensures clients business objectives translate into targeted, measurable, and successful initiatives. Although her skill set is vast, her greatest expertise centers in the worlds of media research, strategic media planning, interactive planning and buying, social media, analytics, and search engine marketing. Amy has worked with world-class organizations such as AT&T, The Coca-Cola Company, Pleasant Holidays, Clarins, Disney, Equifax, and Loews Hotels to name a few. Aside from her work at the agency, Amy has been a regular columnist for ClickZ's "Data Driven Marketing" vertical for the past five years and has been a contributor to notable industry media including Adotas, Media Post, The New York Times Online, and the IAB. Amy holds a double major in Marketing and Speech and Communications from Clemson University.

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