Audience Targeting
January 19, 2016

Q&A: The Power Of Programmatic Data–And How To Harness It

Q: What are the primary benefits of working with programmatic data?

Teich: Programmatic provides an outlet for marketers to leverage the masses of data available about their customers. Who a consumer is, their interests, their purchase intent etc. may be more important than the context of where the ad is shown. Though premium content is available through programmatic, marketers are able to leverage data on programmatic exchanges to connect with prospects no matter where they appear online.
Programmatic technology is also making it easier than ever to seamlessly connect consumer insights to actual media programs. There no longer needs to be a disconnect between a marketer’s insights team who identifies their best potential customers, and the media activation team who buys and targets media based on these insights. Instead, consumer insights can be directly linked into audience management systems and become the basis for finding customers programmatically online.

Properly leveraged, data opens the opportunity for true one-to-one marketing. Programmatic platforms like Connexity, are capable of evaluating and targeting audience members on an individual basis. Advertisers don’t have to buy standard one-size fits all audience segments that aren’t a perfect fit for their brand. Instead, programmatic audience systems can prioritize targeting ad impressions to audience members that are the best fit for the advertiser. Ad creative can also be dynamically adapted to the person’s interest – so you can deliver the right message to the right person at the right time.

In addition, programmatic eliminates many of the manual cycles (and delays) of manual transactions. As campaigns run, data science can interpret what signals matter most and optimize a marketer’s campaign almost instantaneously. Programmatic campaigns can be optimized by audience, site, ad size, position on the page and more. In the days before programmatic the agency or advertiser would manually evaluate campaign performance, contact the publisher to ask for optimizations which the publisher would then execute. Now with programmatic, technology captures performance data and optimizes campaigns in real time – eliminating the need for time consuming back and forth between the advertiser and publisher.

Q: Can you give us an example of how you use data to create an audience?

Teich: We have access to online shopping data for more than 175 million products from Connexity’s product listings network. In addition, we also leverage demographic data gathered from our Bizrate Insights surveys. We combine these two data sources to build unique audiences for marketers.

Imagine a consumer that engages in our retail marketplace and shops for Black and Decker power tools. From this data point, we classify this individual as in-market for Power Tools. Big DIY and Home Improvement retailers love access to this fresh data to bring in a new buyer to their site or store. Now imagine we see this same consumer shopping for flooring supplies, faucets, and DeWalt power saws over the course of two months. While these data points create more in-market targeting opportunities, we also classify this shopper into a DIY lifestyle segment based upon repeat activity in a similar vertical. The same retailers are interested in this shopper, but this persona is also interesting for banks (home equity loans), truck brands (DIY and trucks go hand in hand), etc. The more we know about a shopper, the more we place them into in-market, life stage, lifestyle, or shopper type categories.

Q: What are some of the major challenges facing the programmatic space?

Teich: Accurately attributing performance to the ads that influence performance remains a challenge. As campaigns optimize across devices how can marketers be sure they are giving credit where credit is due? They want to focus ads on the best performance, but how does programmatic fit in best with their mobile, search, social offline campaigns etc.?

Viewability is also a lingering challenge for the industry. Marketers need to make sure their ads are they displayed in placements where the viewer can see them. Campaigns can be optimized to higher viewability based on the signals from the sites themselves and 3rd party technologies. But viewability doesn’t necessarily lead to performance – some of the best performing placements on a campaign may have low viewability, but in turn they may deliver a highly qualified audience who drives the advertiser’s KPIs. In this case the advertiser may not want to completely eliminate that particular low viewability placement if their overall ROI is being met. Viewability should be one of many considerations when optimizing campaigns towards the best possible performance.

In addition, some fear that since marketers are not negotiating with a human in programmatic exchanges, they could be buying ads on sites that only have bot traffic or that the targets DSPs are bidding on may actually be bots in disguise. But, it is important to remember that bot fraud isn’t limited to programmatic. One way marketers can reduce the risk of bot fraud without hiring an ad verification company, is to target audiences with rich data profiles. For instance, Connexity factors in a variety of data points when creating audiences: online shopping patterns as well as demographic data. If there are multiple data points on an audience member from a range of online activity, then there is a lower risk that the ad will be shown to an impression bot. If marketers don’t have confidence in the data that they are using to target their campaigns, then they could contract with an ad verification vendor.