InsightsData insightsExpert tips for data-driven display

Expert tips for data-driven display

Gone are the days when marketers could look at display as an “add on” for traditional ad campaigns. Data-driven display works, but if you're not making the most of your consumer data, you could be missing out.

Content Takeover Display Advertising

Somewhere between the bygone era of the blinking banner ad and hyper-personalized video targeting, display advertising became a science. But if you’re not making the best use of all your available consumer data, you could very well be wasting your display budget. We rounded up a few tips from the experts for making the most of your data-driven display.

Ever since the first banner ad appeared on the Web in 1994, brands have scrambled for a few seconds of consumers’ attention. But unlike those first days of begging for a click at the top of a page, marketers have a veritable arsenal of first party data to help segment and target users, not to mention the ever-evolving possibilities for testing provided by programmatic. But all that data goes to waste if advertisers don’t use it wisely.

Here’s how experts are using data to help top brands earn attention.

Data collection

According to Julia Stead, director of demand generation for Invoca, many marketers are ignoring one of their best sources of data: live contact with consumers.

“If you’re not taking into account valuable interactions like live phone conversations, you’re missing half the picture and are relying on incomplete data to make your performance optimizations,” Stead says.

Here’s a perfect example – someone does a search, clicks on an Adwords ad, ends up on your site, then calls in to finalize their purchase because they have some questions first. If you’re not tying that purchase data back to your Adwords data, you’re not getting credit for the revenue, explains Stead. At the same time, you are probably optimizing against that search term because you didn’t see it convert, and still retargeting that customer, not knowing they actually made a purchase.

Let data inform creative


Aside from using data to avoid irrelevant retargeting, brands should also be using consumer behavior to inform creative, says Art Prateepvanich, head of Product Marketing for Quantcast.

“In the past, you had to look through massive amounts of surveys to get consumer insight, but now you should really be looking at who a customer is, where they are based and how they’re using your app or website. Having more data available should show in your creative. You have to make sure your display shows the customer that you know them,” Prateepvanich says.

Return on ad spend

Marketers should use data-driven display as a means of creating long lasting relationships with customers rather that focusing solely on CPAs, a methodology that Prateepvanich finds a bit outdated.

“We’ve seen the value of click-throughs really decrease over time as marketers opt for acquiring new customers as opposed to targeted advertising. Personalized display works when targeted creative is in front of consumers. If you just measure by CPAs, it’s not going to be nearly as good as if you combine that with the overall impact of your display campaign. You need to be marketing across the whole brand funnel,” says Prateepvanich.

Focus on lifetime value

Using data for lookalike targeting can help marketers better tailor the message for where consumers are in their purchase journey so that brands can avoid coming on too strong, too soon.


“Better data gives you insight into the lifetime value of certain customer segments and dictates how aggressive you should be in going after that customer,” says Will Aronson, account director for 3Q Digital. “Lookalike modeling is one of the best examples of the power of putting better data to use in today’s digital marketing landscape. You’re using your own data to define who you’re going after, and ensuring a more targeted approach.”


Gone are the days when marketers could look at display as an “add on” for traditional ad campaigns. Data from display campaigns can track user behavior across devices and channels to inform many other areas of campaigns.

On the reporting side, with better data you can better understand how users are behaving across channels and devices.

“Armed with that information, you can build more accurate attribution models and get a more holistic view of your larger marketing activity,” notes Aronson.

Display works!

Display provides real value. It’s obviously doing some good things or it wouldn’t be growing. As Prateepvanich puts it, “banners have gotten bigger and more beautiful, they’ve clearly shown their effectiveness. The relevant data we get from them can make or break whether a campaign works or not”.


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