Bling-Bling Targeting

Having recently turned forty, I’m beginning to get those little clues that I may actually be getting older.

Last weekend, while on a quest for Happy Meal purchase number 4,378 for my six-year-old son, I pulled out a $20 bill at the counter. My son noted and mentioned, “Wow Dad, you’ve got some serious Bling-Bling.” Surprised by his statement, because I’d never heard the phrase, I quickly realized this was yet another funny line he’s picked up from his first few weeks in first grade. As I began to wonder if I had something hanging from my nose or had left my fly unzipped, he answered my puzzled gaze by clarifying, “You know, major green. Lots of cash.”

So now, I’m hip to another way to describe money — a subject that’s often on my mind as clients demand even more for theirs. After all, our current economic recovery is coming all too slow for most of us.

More blood from the same turnip

One way my agency is working to increase returns is to find methods to squeeze more ROI out of our online spending. Sure, optimization is a way of life with online marketing, but I’m sure we could all use a little more bling-bling. Over the next few columns, I’ll take a close look at targeting and describe how you can apply new techniques to pump up your online advertising results.

One interesting technology we’re beginning to explore is from a company called Poindexter Systems. The firm’s patent-pending flagship product, Poindexter POE, uses sophisticated statistical modeling technology to leverage traditional direct marketing techniques online. Poindexter POE works by analyzing anonymous behavioral, demographic, and transactional data and then uses predictive modeling to automatically determine the right audience for each client, and the right message for each segment of that audience.

In addition to automatically optimizing campaigns, Poindexter offers its own ad serving technology called SmartServe, which is integrated with Poindexter POE. SmartServe improves marketing campaigns through its unique method of processing ad delivery.

Optimizing with Clusters

Real-time media optimization is one of the services Poindexter offers. Whether you’re advertising on verticals or run-of-site, Poindexter can divide an audience into subsets (based on selects that include Geo, Day Part, Placement, Frequency, Recency and a load of other factors most ad serving companies don’t yet offer) or clusters, as they call them. Clusters are scored and ranked by their responsiveness.

You can act on the data Poindexter provides in two ways. First, you can more quickly identify which clusters are more responsive and request more impressions during certain day parts, certain geographies, or with particular frequency caps. Secondly, you can implement something called a media passback. Media passback allows Poindexter to pass impressions back to a publisher during the ad serving process (for resale) if the user fits into an undesirable cluster. The “cost” to publishers is a simple technical integration… the benefit is the ability to satisfy client goals with fewer impressions — or to better optimize a total budget investment.

While Poindexter has to date worked with just a few leading sites (among them Weather.com, USAToday.com, Washington Post and Excite) to implement the media passback concept, the company claims most publishers accept some variant of its media optimization approach.

Improving both ends of your results

Poindexter’s ideas are quite intriguing from a numbers standpoint. This approach promises to really hone in on the top performing segments of a buy, and I sense you could also quickly eliminate the worst 10 percent of your total impression delivery. Just do a little simple math on your average campaign CTR and transaction response rate and you’ll easily see that a lackluster campaign could quickly begin to shine with these kinds of adjustments.

Next Column

Next time, I’ll revisit an old friend — DoubleClick’s Boomerang — to see if the promise of this technology has really “come around.” In the meantime, I’ve got to start watching a little more MTV or I’ll have no idea what my kids are saying.

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