Everyone Owns The Audience…Just Not In The Right Place

With the proliferation of data and access to consumer information, marketers have gained increased insight into their core customers. The Social Analytics industry has grown by over a dozen companies in the last 12-18 months and we’re already seeing how access to richer data is empowering advertisers to do things they’ve never done before. For example, the ability to target a certain group of consumers with distinct travel intent did not exist until recently.

Most media buying outlets no longer buy specific publishing properties (TV being the exception). The advent of data-driven targeting combined with powerful ad exchanges has made “audience targeting” the new norm. It’s a much better way to get a return on your ad spend, because it gives you the opportunity to speak to the people that matter most to your brand. However, this great new data-driven capability comes with some “not-so-great” consequences. As data has become increasingly commoditized, one of the main complaints is that “everyone owns the audience, but not always in the right place.”

On the upside, “great” consequences occur when your ad is both matched with your audience and “happens” to be displayed on a complementary site. For example, a CPG beauty company buys a targeted campaign based on consumer intent data, which “happens” to serve ads to the targeted audience when they’re visiting a popular Health & Beauty blog. In this case, it’s only coincidence that both intent and context were matched correctly. The agency bought the right audience, but had little insight or control into where the exchange would ultimately deliver the ad to the specified audience.

The “not-so-great” consequences occur when you find the right audience, but have no power to select the right context. Let’s say this same CPG beauty company selected the same audience, but the exchange displayed ads when they were surfing some unfriendly brand sites. A common complaint we hear from brands’ VPs of Marketing is that their ads are appearing on gambling, tobacco, file-sharing, or UGC sites. The exchange is certainly doing its job by matching the ad inventory with the brand’s chosen audience, but the flipside is that serving the right ad to the right consumer in the wrong context is ultimately damaging to the brand.

There’s no denying the opportunity for premium publishers to offer their inventory in a scalable way that reaches the apex of both audience and contextual targeting–connecting the right brand ad with the right audience on the right property. Achieving this nirvana necessarily means expanding the real estate available to advertisers beyond content and task-oriented sites.

To more closely follow the pattern of consumer behavior, advertisers need to access premium placements on eCommerce sites. In addition, to best maximize such Shopping Media opportunities, advertisers need to utilize a combination of the following supports:

Premium Real Estate1- Premium/Transparent Publishers
2- Matched with the right audience
3- The most relevant retail context
4- Ability to leverage existing rich media assets
5- The vehicle to offer cross-channel shopping tools (coupons, sampling, and lead-gen gathering).

There’s only so many ways you can slice and dice the U.S. consumer base, but the main differentiator will be created by premium outlets that offer their ad inventory in a scalable way—matching the right audience with the perfect context.

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This post was written by Jake Bailey

ABOUT Jake Bailey
As VP of Product Marketing and Solutions, Jake is responsible for identifying, assessing, and building new markets, and driving product and technology innovations for our retail and brand partners. A recognized thought leader in e-Commerce, Jake joined RichRelevance in 2009, and was tasked with building RichRelevance’s Shopping Media platform, which now delivers personalized advertising on some of the world's largest retail websites, empowering these retailers to become premium advertising publishers. To view Jake's full profile, click here.
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