Post-Campaign Insights

There’s a lot of information available about planning and implementing effective behavioral campaigns online. Only recently have we begun to explore how to best leverage the data that lingers after the program is over.

Behavioral targeting has significant value past the life of the campaign. How can you apply teachings from one campaign to the next? Advertising networks are beginning to provide post-campaign data that can inform both on- and offline marketing efforts.

Tacoda seems to have started the trend by providing detailed behavioral reports, ranking behaviors based on conversion action rate (conversions/a behavioral segment’s unique users). Behaviors with the highest conversion action rate are assumed to be most popular with a target audience. A recent report for a women’s retail client noted the target is most interested in news, food, health, and travel, for example — information you wouldn’t get from looking at the CTR (define) and conversion rate.

Minimize the Ramp-up Period for New Online Campaigns

Online, these insights can be used to minimize the learning phase. Generally, behavioral targeting campaigns take a few weeks to ramp up, meaning they have to run broadly across multiple behavioral, demographic, and channel placements before optimizing to the best converting selections. This insight, when shared with new publishers, will help minimize the ramp-up time and maximize conversions.

Don’t make publishers guess. Behavioral reports provide the strong support necessary for recommended placements and can be referenced when reviewing a plan with the client. This information could also minimize the time needed toward optimizations once a campaign begins. If you know what categories and segments perform best for your client, you can allocate a sufficient number of impressions to support those placements from the plan inception.

Continue to test. Taken to an extreme, this approach may lead to segment targeting, not behavioral. If you’re able to glean good information about your audience to use, your best bet is likely to be a mix of targeting approaches.

Add New Data to Consumer Research

Offline, this data can be added to a host of research tools to advance media selection. With our women’s retailer example, we know news is the best converting behavior. The next logical step would be to ask, “Have I included this in my offline media mix?” Have you included the news category in your magazine selection? Do you utilize CNN and MSNBC in the cable mix? Data can surface segments and approaches worth considering outside the online program.

The networks don’t all have the same ability to provide post-campaign behavioral reports. Tacoda provides the most detailed reports, with inclusive numbers for added support. ranks the top performing behaviors but is unable to provide supporting data. BlueLithium reports its information differently from Tacoda, ranking behaviors based on estimated CPA (define). Other networks can’t yet break out behavioral data but are expecting to have the functionality later this year. A post-campaign behavioral report is a way for these forward networks to differentiate themselves from the pack. But like all innovation in our fast-paced industry, it may be on its way to becoming standard and expected.

As post-campaign report availability increases, what happens if you use multiple networks and the reports contradict each other?

This has been our experience more than once. These reports should be viewed as guidelines only. It’s important to bear in mind the networks are different. What works for one network may not work for another. Use post-campaign behavioral reports as directional, to get an idea of what behaviors convert the best and what behaviors to avoid. Make sure to reference site-side analytics as well, to find out what sites (and behaviors, if you can infer that from the site) refer the most conversions. Third parties, such as Media Metrix and @Plan, should offer consumer profiles of the client site, providing it has enough traffic.

Aggregate and compare all this data, and make judgments based on what you know about the client’s offerings and target audience. Beware of insignificant data. Rely more on data from the networks you apply a large budget to rather than those that are just at the monthly minimums. The networks with a larger budget portion most likely generate more conversions, which can then be more reliably tracked back to a behavior.

While the art of using post-campaign behavioral reports for future endeavors isn’t an exact science, it’s a step in the right direction. Improved technology provides a useful tool to inform a broader marketing program while meeting specific online program expectations.

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