Create and Satisfy Demand: Two Tools to Complete the Marketing Loop Plus the Advertising Equation

Today Steve Mulder gave us “Create and Satisfy Demand: Two Tools to Complete the Marketing Loop,”, an academic piece in iMediaConnection that well-defines the fundamentals between demographic segmentation and behavioral targeting or what he referred to as “goal targeting.”


Steve talks about customer segmentation based on demographic and psychographic profiling.  Of course you can push this farther and consider buying habits, product preferences and other known store-interaction behaviors which can be categorized.  Anything you know about your customers can be grouped and segmented.  So while Steve talks about the anonymous segments, when we’re talking about customers we can dive deeper and look at the information that our eCRM systems can capture and that our site-side analytics can measure.  If I have a customer who purchases monthly, like electronics (i.e., Target.com) and spends on average over $100 per transaction, I can drop that user in a bucket with other like-demographic customers.  The segmentation possibilities go much deeper.


This is not to suggest paralysis of analysis by creating too many segments, however if you are a Target.com, a BestBuy or other big box retailer, you have many, many customers and you have the ability to create 10-20-30 customer segment groups.  If you are an e-tailor like LLBean, or Amazon or Overstock.com, you can create these segments.


Steve talks about Personas, as a defined “who or what,” meaning “…Why does this product or service make sense to your target audience? Why do the people represented in this audience need it, and why will they use it? How should we structure and design it to satisfy how people will be using it? How do we make sure the site gives people the experience they need and the business results we need?” 


In Steve’s discussion, Personas are the other side of the equation, the behaviors that you target or goals.  This article focuses on web site content placement which is vital to the emarketing equation.  How you react to your customers when they are identified on your site will directly correlate to your recurring revenue potential.  I have discussed the integration of CMS and dynamic content many times before.


When someone logs-on an identifies themselves, you tap into eCRM and you can tap into the segment relationship and/or bucket that user belongs to.  They you can target them with content and messages to promote recurring revenue opportunities.


External marketing, such as email marketing can tap into these buckets as well with customer segment targeting as well.


But a topic we have talked about many times before is how you can recognize and target someone BEFORE they come to your site and identify themselves.  Well, what about when they come to your site and don’t login.  Using cookies enables you to recognize someone and still tap into your customer segment models right?  So you don’t have to wait until they login to identify them.


That takes care of returning customers.  What about someone who blows out their cookie?  Well, as soon as they login you can re-recognize them and re-cookie them right?  Cool.


What about someone new?  They click on an ad and come to your site, you grab the click-thru URL and interpret the source and put that into the cookie as a prospect and let CMS take over until they create an account.  Cool.  Once they become a customer, segment membership begins and more data can be written to the cookie for future recognition and content targeting – more CMS.  CMS is Content Management System btw.


Then there is the external recognition of your customers – what about the topic of choice with regard to advertising.  If you are spending time creating customer segments and you are spending time creating goals for CMS targeting.  Why wouldn’t you leverage that knowledge to benefit from being able to recognize your customers when you advertise online as well?  If you can recognize your customers while you advertise online, you can extend your goal-oriented messages, drive recurring revenue opportunities and motivate your customers to return.  When they do, your site-side BT efforts can take over as Steve discusses and your drive home those sales opportunities.


With both of these efforts in place.  Taking the time to create and analyze your customers to create segments and creating targeting goals that affect both internal, site-side and external, advertising-side efforts you will gain huge insight into what works.  The knowledge gained will improve your ability to make better decisions about your future marketing efforts, both site-side and external.


Reactionary with Insight

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Lead Gen 2.0: The New Opportunity and More if You Follow-Through

Michael Rosenberg has provided us with a good foundation to use for evaluating and selecting lead generation partners in his Lead Gen 2.0: The New Opportunity from MediaPost’s Performance Insider.  Michael illustrates some fundamental requirements that we should be demanding from a solid lead generation partner including:


(1)    24/7 real-time reporting


(2)    Access to multiple verticals


(3)    Access to and ability to leverage “your” customer once you acquire them


(4)    Low transaction costs


But when you work with a lead generation partner it is important to think about how you will leverage the assets you are generating through that relationship so that you can maximize your investment.  Lead-generation processes expose your offers to a huge base of prospects, and deliver qualified leads to your offering on a direct response basis.  You pay for performance and when someone actually becomes a lead, they are delivered to your doorstep. 


The lead information may be delivered to you, or they may be passed over to you for you to collect the information.  I always prefer to host the pages that are collecting the information.  Big difference as to whether you are collecting the information or if it is being collected for you.  The sooner you have access to the lead, the sooner you are controlling the conversion process.


Matt Wise discussed the concept of “data skimming” in his MediaPost article in 5 Questions to Ask Your Online Lead Generation Provider where he said “Most marketers should retain 100% ownership of the consumer data. Providers who practice data skimming — reselling your lead’s personally identifiable information — pose a serious risk of compromising your trusted relationship with the consumer.” 


I have a client who spends roughly $300,000 a month on lead generation alone and they actively are aware of the fact that they are getting skimmed data.  They are in such a niche industry that they have little control over the publishers that they work and therefore accept the practice.  But they are accepting poor quality leads too.  The leads are collected on their behalf and they receive the information after the fact.  Some publishers pass the individual to the advertiser so that they may collect the lead information directly and obviously those sources result in much higher conversation rates.


When you have access to the user sooner, you can immediately start to develop that relationship and rapport.  You can also start to do something else … tracking and measurement. 


As Michael indicated in his article, you want to make sure that you select a vendor who gives you access to 24/7 detailed reporting.  Jere Doyle, President & CEO of Prospectiv contributed an article to MediaPost on this topic entitled, Qualifying Your Online Lead Generation Partner wherein he said that you should insist that your vendor is “…measuring key data such as response rate, cost per lead, conversion rate, revenue by source….” 


But once you have access to your lead, you can start to lay down your own reporting processes too.  Let’s start with the cookie.  When you first receive the individual, you can leverage a cookie to track the user’s behavior.  First, you can use a site-side analytics tracking beacon – like an Omniture, WebSideStory or WebTrends to track the user from source through the lead reception process through to (hopefully) a sale. 


From the sale point forward you will be able to track that individual based on their source once they join your eCRM system as well leveraging your own additional first party cookie.


But what if that person bails out before the sale?  Do you let them off that easily?  Hell no!  You can use event-based behavioral targeting to cookie the user as they go through the lead generation process to source the user just in case they bail in addition to the site-side analytics tracking described above.  This way if they bail, you have them tagged for future targeting using banner advertising.  If you work with TACODA or Advertising.com you can use their pixels to deploy behavioral targeting later on and try to recapture the lead again with messages that speak to the fact that they were previously a lead.


Third option is that you use a first party cookie during the lead reception process.  Integrate the event-based targeting process using the first party cookie so that the advertiser is tracking the lead reception process with their own cookie.  If the lead converts – you have the first party cookie in place for site-side analytics and eCRM.  If the lead bails, you have the behavioral targeting in place but it will be site and network agnostic meaning that you will have deployed it across the internet instead of just across a network.


Furthermore, you will also have deployed re-targeting even if the person is not a customer.  While going through the first party cookie writing process, you can write details to the cookie about where they are in the lead generation process so that if they bail you can target them based on where they bailed – like traditional behavioral targeting.  But if they return to your site directly you can also content-target them based on the same information that you’ve written into the cookie since it is your first party cookie.  Your content management system will be able to read the cookie and know this is a former lead and can receive them accordingly.


Lastly, if you used first party cookies, and they convert, you can re-target them as customers out on the web as I have discussed in the past using DirectServe™.  As a customer you will be able to recognize them, distinguish them from someone you don’t know and message to them accordingly.  You will be able to do this if they are a lead or a customer as I have just described. 


So again, why first party cookies instead of third party behavioral cookies:


(1)    If the lead converts you can use re-targeting


(2)    If the lead converts you can use site-side analytics and eCRM with the cookie fully integrated


(3)    If the lead bails you can behaviorally target anywhere on the web, not just on one network


(4)    If the lead bails, you can recognize them if they return to your site independently and message to them accordingly


(5)    If you happen to reach them through an email marketing campaign that delivers creative, and they open it, you will be able to recognize them and message to them accordingly


(6)    Third party cookies get deleted over 40% of the time – Jupiter Research


(7)    First party cookies persist over 95% of the time so you will have a greater chance of keeping your data current


Lead Generation 2.0 brings forth a lot of possibilities and we have to be aggressive in what we get for what we pay for.  But is equally important that we also leverage technology to maximize what we do with what we get after we pay for it.  If that last sentence makes sense to you, you’re already half way there!


Reactionary with Insight 

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Want to Start a Behavioral Targeting Network? Here’s One Way

As I sit on a plane tonight, I look around and think to myself about all of the people with me.  I think about the things they are doing to occupy themselves and the places that they will go after the plane arrives.  I am not the first person to ponder these questions while in this situation, I know, but I am still asking them in my head while I am here. 


Some of these people will get on another plane – and I’m not concerned with them.  They have a longer night ahead of them than I do.  Sorry for them.  But others will head home or to some other venue and, eventually, whenever, will find themselves to a computer.  That’s who I am always the most interested in. 


But how many of the people on this plane are thinking about the things they need to get done when they get off of this plane.  Who is still “engaged?”  Probably a few.  How many of them are thinking about the emails they didn’t get to before they left.  The unfinished business.  More than a few of them if they’re anything like me.  Those are the people that have time left to log after this plane arrives.  Those are the business-minded people that are still mentally engaged and a 6pm flight out of Denver to anywhere is full of people who have been working all day.


And then there are the rest of the people onboard.  The disengaged business people who have unplugged while they are on a flight.  Go-figure.  They read a book, look at the SkyMall magazine, watch a movie on their laptop or take a nap.  I can’t relate.  Well, I do like the SkyMall magazine!  And of course then there is the “vacationer” if you will.  This individual is off to visit someone or someplace and is far less stressed by something that needs to get done en route than they were about what to pack for the trip.


I’ve just described at least 3 distinct, different personality types among probably 20 more categorical behavioral types all sharing the same recycled air on board this cramped Boeing 777. 


These 3 types of people are behaviorally predictable as well.  The engaged business person will whip-out the laptop and keep going.  She will write emails that will go out later.  She will read articles that were downloaded in preparation for the flight.  And she will work on the old PowerPoint deck.  Meanwhile, the disengaged business person and vacationer will look to be entertained or relax to pass the time.


Side-note:


There is nothing worse than sitting on a plane, and looking over that guy’s shoulder and figuring out who he’s pitching to in the morning based on his slide deck.  As the head of a sales team it curdles the food in my belly to think that someone I manage could be out there exposing my company that way.


So here’s a hint: leave the names of your “clients” or “prospects” off of your PowerPoint decks while you work on them when you are on a plane.  Nobody should be seeing your projections, pitches and deal-points in conjunction with the companies you are intending on working with, or with whom you are already working with while you are onboard a flight.  If you can work on a blank slide too, without your branded template that’s even better.  Don’t let people see who YOU are either.  Anonymous flying is safe when you’re doing your business.  SO many people act like they are sitting at their desk while they work on their presentations on a flight, never figuring that a competitor, partner or other industry-player is sitting next to or behind them.  Think people.


Back to this flight.  United Airlines plays it’s “made for in-flight” programming, which includes paid-for commercials.  And it is obvious how these three behavioral types get targeted on the plane too.  Each commercial is looking to reach one of the groups I’ve described.  They have tried to catch the business person who was still “in business mode” with business-level frequent-flyer messages that highlight loyalty benefits; and they showed some technology-related ads that could be useful to a frequent business traveler.  If she was listening in, they were on-message with her state of mind. 


The ‘checked-out’ passenger – who could be engaged with the things that might matter later, when they returned to home or work – might have liked the information on great business venues in multiple cities. 


And then there were the ads for the vacationer; destination ads, vacation ads, ads about products, etc. 


Each of the three segments is being targeted on board this two and half hour flight.  But there was nothing people can do with these messages in the moment.  It’s worse than sitting in front of a TV at home.  There is an inability to take action when you are on a plane.  Nobody is writing down the information they see in an ad on a plane?  An awareness campaign has to wear off by the time the flight lands.  At least that’s my perspective. Although the behaviors are targeted, the results are really not going to amount to much.  In the end, it’s just paid advert-ainment if you ask me.


So what about the business person who has time left to log when he gets to his destination?  Will he catch-up on the events of his day, finish the emails and just get out of there?


For a lot of us, we have to get online and check our email through a web-app (or maybe a VPN) if we’re not at home.  We need to go check what happened with the market.  We need to read a few key trade sites to make sure we know what happened during the day and see what people like Tom Hespos or Brad Berens had to say.  And we need to basically unwind with some online time.  J


What’s my point of all of this?  Let’s think about the business traveler, engaged and disengaged, once they get to their destination.


Think about the value that there is in knowing that someone has just undergone this huge experience?  How do you capture the fact that someone has just visited at least two airports, sat on a plane, breathed re-circulated air, dealt with delays, cabs, parking lots, traffic jams, deadlines, hotels and the pressures and annoyances of travel?  Anyone of those experiences can be used for behavioral targeting over the next 12 to 24 hours with a HUGE possibility of advertisements.  Knowledge of a person’s travel itinerary opens the door to targeting capabilities like nothing you could ever imagine.


This is an idea that I have had while sitting on a plane, so if you want to do this, call me and we’ll make this happen together.  Essentially, a travel site can become its own behavioral targeting network.  And it would be worth a lot of money to an advertiser.


Follow me closely.


DoubleClick sells behavioral targeting based on the DC cookie.  Over time they have written their cookie on browser across the web, tracked people’s behavior and used categorized browsers based on the sites they visit for targeting.  This is third party ad serving targeting.  Atlas does it pretty well too.  If DC or Atlas encountered someone on the web who has their cookie already, they can interpret the classification of that cookie and target the user with the best-fit advertiser and campaign.


Okay, TruEffect is a first party ad server, with the patent-pending DirectServe™ right?  Under this technology, TruEffect can serve ads out of any domain and can write cookies under any domain name.  So whereas, DC can read and write the DC cookie, TruEffect can read and write any advertiser’s cookie.  The benefit is that when an advertiser is writing their own cookie, TruEffect can target their cookie with ads anywhere on the web.  With DC, DC has to have written the cookie in order to target it.


Now, let’s take a travel site, like Expedia for example who can write their own first party cookies to a user’s browser at the time that they buy their trip.  That cookie can correlate to an anonymous segmentation scheme such as trip type, destination, travel date, presumption of business travel or pleasure, etc.  With travelers tagged, they can now go off onto the internet to be later recognized and targeted by an ad server that can read that travel site’s cookie.  TruEffect’s DirectServe™ is able to do that.


Any advertiser that would be interested in targeting someone that fits an Expedia profile user on the Web, could use DirectServe™ to manage their campaign while advertising online.  They might not always encounter a business traveler, but when they do they will be able to target that user based on the information written to the cookie.


But how would an advertiser gain access to Expedia’s anonymous customer profiles?  If Expedia were to launch their own “behavioral network” they would basically enable an advertiser to reach any user anywhere on the web who matched an Expedia profile.   Advertiser’s could pay Expedia a stipend target travelers while advertising online.  Say United Airlines wanted to advertise on Expedia’s Web site.  For a premium, Expedia could sell UAL the ability to target Expedia customers everywhere on the Web behaviorally according to buying profiles.  Expedia could sell the advertising on its own site and sell the ad serving to UAL across the web at the same time.  Using TruEffect’s DirectServe™, UAL could target Expedia customers all across the Internet behaviorally in addition to on the Expedia site.


Any travel site could do this.  Any transactional site could do this too.  Advertisers could do it too.  So sticking with the UAL model, when someone buys a ticket on UAL.com, UAL could sell the ability to target those individuals to advertise online across the web.  When they sell those in-flight video placements, they could also sell online ad serving capabilities that would target those passengers for when they get off the plane and next logon to a computer.  Anonymous passenger profile segments could be recognized across the web and targeted with suitable products and promotions.  If you sell advertising, and you sell B2C like the two examples I’ve just provided, you could build your own behavioral targeting network that could rival the value of some of the large more generic networks based on the customer segment behavior of your users. 


Again, think about how valuable it would be to an advertiser to be able to target someone who just got off of a plane within the last 24 hours.

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Why Does Google Analytics Report Values That Are So Different Than Ad Servers and Site Analytics Counts?

I had a client call me today and ask, “Why do we need to use an ad server when we have Google Analytics?”  Actually, he was redirecting a client’s question and asking for ammunition, but the question was legitimate.  He wasn’t talking about ad serving per se, but reporting.


 


Google analytics enables an advertiser to measure counts like an ad server and site analytics software and yet the measurements yield very different results.  In fact, the results are always lower, enabling the client to conclude that they must be more accurate.


 


Hold the phones!  Wasn’t it just like up to four months ago that Google was guilty of 20-30% click fraud rates with its Adwords program?  Advertisers started complaining and dollars started shifting away from Google and towards MSN and Yahoo!.  When Marketing Pilgram broke the story in December 2006 the word “Click Fraud” was changed to “Invalid Clicks” and Google demonstrated that they had miraculously instituted a change that resulted in the double-digit error rates dropping to less than 2%.


 


So why are we trusting Google’s counts?  It would seem that Google has simply put some major filtering in place to cover their asses so that Advertisers aren’t getting overcharged any longer.  And now they are the more accurate source of counts? 


 


In the end, however, what Google counts and what the rest of the industry counts when it comes to banner advertising and site-side traffic has to be inherently different.  Just as it is with click-traffic.


 


According to Google: “Different web analytics products may use a variety of methods to track visits to your web site. Therefore, it is normal to see discrepancies between reports created by various products. However, we generally believe that the best way to think of metrics across different web analytics programs is to think in terms of trends, as opposed to numbers by themselves.”


 


Google presents that their tracking methods can introduce a difference in reporting values: Cookie-based tracking vs. IP + User Agent tracking.


 


Cookie-based tracking relies on a browser setting the cookie. If cookies are disabled, cookie-based analytics programs (such as Google Analytics) will not count the visit.


 


IP + User Agent tracking typically uses log file analysis for its data. Ad servers rely on this methodology. 


 


Another discrepancy that Google talks about is a resultant of first party vs. third party cookies.  “Because 3rd party cookies are set by a source other than the website being visited, they’re often blocked by browsers and security software. Google Analytics uses 1st party cookies.” 


 


Ad servers use third party cookies and therefore these may be getting blocked by Google Analytics.  That would represent a huge discrepancy between the ad server counts and the Google counts.


 


So Google and ad server and site analytics do it differently.  That makes sense.  Now back to my client’s question.  Why would you use an ad server when you have Google Analytics? 


 


For one thing, Google limits a site visit per user to one time every 30 minutes.  Ad servers, by comparison, would not filter such behavior, but would recognize the fact it is a unique visitor (using a cookie) coming to the page more than once.  So impressions would be counted separately from unique impressions.  Google would simply filter the multiple impressions out and give the unique impression.


 


My suggestion to my client was to convince their client to deploy a site analytics toolset so that there would be two third-party validations in place to offset Google.  People don’t seem to get the idea that even Google is proposing that “…the best way to think of metrics across different web analytics programs is to think in terms of trends.”  Especially when it comes to Google.  You get what you pay for … and you don’t pay for Google analytics.


 


Here is something else that we discussed.  If you synchronize your ad server and your site analytics you will get accurate – or actually identical counts.  For example, deploy a DirectServe™ Technology using First Party ad serving with a WebSideStory first party cookie and you will have a seamless pass through of data.  Impressions and clicks will go through to the site and the site will read the ad serving data – actually WWS will receive the data using the first party cookie – and the reporting will match up perfectly. 


 


Remember, DirectServe™ is a patent-pending capability of TruEffect and we are partnered with WebSideStory to implement this kind of solution so that was a plug.  But seriously if you want to put together the pieces this is how to do it.


 


The client also asked about bid optimization.  Hmm, another variable.  Love it.  Well WSS has Bid Opp and so that can easily be brought into the picture as well.  Using a first party cookie, the ad server can lay the cookie down on the user when they click on the keyword and associate the keyword and search engine with that user.  If that user is already carrying the cookie from the client, the ad server can add to the cookie the search variables that regenerated the visit.  Then the site analytics software can receive the data using the first party cookie.  Done.


 


Re-targeting is a wonderfully versatile capability.  My favorite part of the conversation was when he said, “oh…we’re already testing targeting with TACODA.”  Love it.  Obviously we discussed the event-based targeting aspects of TACODA and how it is based on anonymous occurrences.  He agreed that while the solution works well it is limited to their network and does not have the ability to leverage client data like what DirectServe™ has to offer – site agnostic, web-wide capacity that leverages client knowledge about customers for re-targeting.  He got it and agreed that we were talking about complimentary solutions … for now.


 


Anyway, back to Google.  I think it is key to understand that ad serving has all of its benefits from the perspective of campaign management.  And site analytics has all of its benefits from web site trafficking, modeling and analysis.  But what was at conflict here was ignorance of a client’s client.  If a client is going to use Google, they need to be educated as to why they are using and what they are using it for.  It’s kind of like using fuzzy glasses to read a book.  Or a better example is using your hand to feel your kid’s forehead to see if they have a fever.  It is a trending tool that gives you a relative indication, not an exact measurement. 


 


Google Analytics is great for the advertiser who wants to log in at 3am and see what’s happening.  I do that sometimes with my blog when I write a particularly contentious article – just to see if it’s triggered some reactions.  But my server logs are far more accurate than Google Analytics.  The counts are always 30%+ off.  Same with ad server reports and site analytics. 


 


Educate your client with the tools that are going to demonstrate real accuracy.  Use sales reports and revenue reports – post-click analysis – to demonstrate further discrepancies that translate into real value to the client.  It is possible to show the client where the diversion points in the direction of the ad server and site analytics favor.  Go the extra step and you will prevail.  If you have more than one client that will bring this up, prepare a document that you can use over and over again.  This problem is not going away soon.


 


Reactionary with Insight.

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Gaining Ground with Behavioral Targeting: Mediaplex tells (Almost) All

So I have received a lot of email and even a couple of phone calls regarding yesterday’s article by Mediaplex’s Sean Quick in iMediaConnection.  How could I let an article on Gaining Ground with Behavioral Targeting go by without so much as a comment, when so much of my blog addresses this topic with such conviction?  Well, yesterday was my birthday so I was out having a much needed break!  But I’ll have at it now!


 


Okay, first of all I have to start off by saying that Sean did a good job of breaking up BT into two distinct categories – passive and active.  He used these descriptions to help us understand the difference between the classic event-based targeting capabilities of a TACODA and the re-targeting capabilities that I have been evangelizing on this blog.  I was so pleased to see Sean use the term customer re-targeting as well, since it was not an industry term when I first started this blog and my Urchin reports show Mediaplex on my blog everyday.  I take Sean’s usage of the term as a compliment J.


 


Recently I posted When to Blog and When to Publish, commenting on what I believe to be the hairline-thick line between what is informational and what is self-promotional publishing online.  I issued a request for feedback as to whether I should be blogging or publishing and if there are topics on my blog suitable for publishing, should you believe I should be publishing.  I was contacted by Brad Berens at iMediaConnection who suggested that I could follow the thought leadership track when writing for iMediaConnaction (with their help) and that my self-promotion and subjective style could be reserved for the blog.  Works for me!  Anyway, stay tuned as you may see some writing show up out there as well…


 


Anyway, back to Sean’s article.  While Sean does specifically highlight ValueClick’s Mediaplex as the provider of re-targeting, he also mentioned DoubleClick and Advertising.com.  So I don’t fault him for direct self-promotion.  But what I do believe Sean fails to do is accurately depicting customer re-targeting as it has come to be defined. 


 


If anything I believe that what Sean has done is introduced a third form of behavioral targeting: (1) passive, (2) active event-based and (3) active segment-based.


 


Passive BT goes back to the event-based targeting that I have already discussed in many postings.  Sean describes it as follows:


 


Passive BT — also sometimes called Targeted Segments and other names — is generally done either through applications that reside on a user’s computer, such as downloaded software, or through tracking tags that reside on publishers’ websites.  In either case, these technologies anonymously record consumer web browsing activity.  The consumer is unaware that such tracking is occurring, as it doesn’t affect their surfing activity in any noticeable way.


 


The tracking information is collected and analyzed, and the cornerstone of this approach is the subsequent attempt to make increasingly educated guesses about a consumer’s interests based on the data in order to deliver timely and relevant marketing communications.


 


Examples of providers of this approach include Tacoda, Revenue Science and Claria.


 


The Active BT that Sean describes is “also called User Retargeting [and] consists of anonymously registering consumers’ proactive, direct interaction with a company’s marketing efforts. For example, display or email advertisements or material on the client’s website and then implementing follow-up marketing programs that address that explicitly expressed interest in an attempt to deepen the relationship and lead to conversion.”


 


So this is still event-based.  A better description is Event-Based Active BT.  The information leveraged for re-targeting is based on other marketing experiences.  Sean does not describe the application of this BT specifically in terms of online advertising, nor does he describe it in terms of preventing the re-prospecting of customers through online advertising.  In fact, what he is doing is explaining that Event-Based Active BT can coordinate disparate forms of online marketing to collectively create a concrete BT model.  Moreover, and what is entirely left out of this article is the PROCESS.


 


One thing that I am so careful to do in all of my postings – and what I believe will be a focus of articles that I would write for IMC – is to illuminate the procedural differences between various kinds of technologies so that people can come to distinguish them.  It is important to understand the impact of a first party design and a third party design for example.  The benefits and differences of these kinds of technologies transcend the advertising experience for both the advertiser and user – in fact for the publisher too. 


 


TruEffect holds the patent-pending rights to first party ad serving.  So if another ad server were to implement a first party design, they would violate that patent and would be putting their clients in a nefarious situation that would result in problems down the road.  Aside from that, other ad servers are not doing it that way anyway right now.  They have their own design using a third party cookie and a synchronization process.  They still have their ‘control the data and you own the client’ model.


 


Listen, Sean is not going to talk to me about it, obviously.  But maybe he will talk to you and then you can come back and talk to all of us on the blog.  OR, maybe Sean would like to come on here and have a discussion with all of us.  It would be great to bring the truth out.


 


If Mediaplex is using a third party cookie to conduct user re-targeting, it is historically synchronizing.  Latency comes into play and there are limitations to the benefits that only a real-time capability can bring to the table.  Only a first party cookie foundation is capable of doing it in real-time. 


 


If Mediaplex is having clients share record information so that Mediaplex can assign cookie values to people when they transact or otherwise experience a marketing event, it is still a third party cookie, foreign to the advertiser and so the limitations include:


 



  1. The ad serving data is mediaplex’s data, accessible only by mediaplex;
  2. The cookie information is not accessible by the advertiser;
  3. The ad serving information is not readily integratable with other technologies such as site-side analytics which may be another third party cookie (omniture) or could be a first party cookie (WebSideStory or Webtrends); and
  4. Mediaplex can not adjust targeting strategies in real-time, targets must be determined in advanced.


As we have covered in many entries on this blog.  First party ad serving, using a first party cookie, allows all of the four aforementioned limitations to be mitigated.  Most of all, targeting can happen in real-time.  An advertiser can change a cookie value, login to the ad server and change the targeting reaction to the cookie; and the change is instantaneous. 


 


With a third-party implementation, the advertiser has have to share the altered customer information with the ad server (Mediaplex, DoubleClick) and then the ad server has to start writing new cookies, which have to propagate, and then the ad targeting can begin.  Can you say latency?


 


Two other limitation issues: (1) SOX and (2) third party cookie deletion.


 


When a third party is handling your data, and you have SOX compliance issues, you have a potential problem.  Using a third-party cookie and a third party ad server, deploying event-based Active BT, means your data about your customers is being shared with a third party who is subsequently developing additional information about your customers and gate-keeping your access to that data.  You need to make sure that you have controls written about the handling of that data because it is out of your control.  This is not an issue with first party ad serving because all of your ad serving data flows directly through to the advertiser and is not withheld by the ad server.


 


Secondly, third party cookies get deleted over 40% of the time – Jupiter Research.  So only 60% of the Event-Based Active BT will be effective whereas over 90% of first party cookies are persistent.  Do the math and you will realize that leveraging a first party cookie will bring a much higher yield in re-targeting activities.


 


So Sean’s article stimulates the interest and probably results in some genuine leads to Mediaplex, but I wonder how far down the path you will get with Mediaplex before you come to realize that you have not come to engage with customer re-targeting but more event-based BT?


 


The third form of BT that I characterized earlier is Active Customer Re-targeting.  The fundamental distinguishing difference is that the advertiser is creating customer segments and is cookieing their customers directly, as opposed to the ad server cooking the customer.  Advertisers may cookie their customers through eCRM, eCommerce cycles, email processes, site-side analytic platforms (i.e., WebSideStory), landing pages (i.e., CoreMetrics) all using their own first party cookie.  They can create customer segment profiles that associate a user with a customer type, just like they do offline with direct mail, cataloging and telemarketing and then deploy customer re-targeting with their online advertising.


 


So Sean, it would be very interesting to have a follow-up article with which we hear how Mediaplex, and if you’re so inclined to research your other examples – Advertising.com and DoubleClick – conduct the Event-Based Active User Re-targeting.  But that might not be on your agenda.  Hey Brad, maybe I’ll write that article for you!


 


Reactionary with Insight.

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