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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This I believe

So for several months now I have been closely watching the industry, reading articles, PR releases, product releases, financial releases and generally paying attention.  I have been taking bits and pieces of what I care about and have been making comments and providing what I believe has been an insightful perspective on how technology can be better leveraged to improve how we advertise online.


I have looked at the ad servers, the networks, the lead generation tools.  I have examined the search engines, the publisher tools and the creative formats and provided you with feedback on what other reliable people have had to say.


And I have discussed ad agencies, their workflow, the media buying process and the tools that people use to do their jobs, however inefficiently I may believe that to be.


Here is my position.


The agencies have engaged the interactive medium completely.  Estimates for 2007 are that between 12 ½ and 20% of advertising budgets will go towards new media.  This is no longer the edgy side-project.  Engagement with technology is here.  But it is about refinement. 


Search is essential but everyone is coming to recognize that there is something wrong with the model.  It is extremely time-intensive and expensive to manage.  Furthermore the ROI metrics seem to slip the longer you run campaigns.  As I have said in the past, a tipping point is coming. 


Networks have been doing their thing the same way with some minor tweaks for a while now and people are demanding more disclosure.  Tolerance for media showing up on inappropriate sites is very low, accountability is high and additional capabilities like behavioral targeting has become an expectation.


That brings me to behavioral targeting – a very common topic on this blog.  I have ripped this topic up and down.  My intent has been to redefine this concept as event-based targeting and to justify that there is little about behaviors actually associated with it at all.  Just because someone took a navigation path, or saw a page means little about their behavior, the predictability of their behavior or their preferences.  All we know is something that happened.  Historical targeting is a better description but I have used event-based targeting over the last couple of months.


I have never tried to minimize the value of BT, only put it into it rightful place as a solid prospecting and direct response advertising mechanism.  BT does not represent the best means to capturing known individuals, in fact, it does not have the capacity to associate with knowledge about people at all.  Only with events.  But I believe that BT should be part of a comprehensive campaign.


People have approached me both on and off this blog about my position towards BT and some of the networks, but I think its because they have been defensive and protective of their positions as representatives of these companies.  Others have engaged me – usually advertisers, agency representatives or others who see that the evolution of practice is inevitable and being on the adaptive edge of the curve is better than the laggards edge.


I have also spent a lot of time plugging a concept called first party ad serving.  Forgive me for the plugs.  Obviously as a member of TruEffect I have a lot of passion for what we do here.  But I also spend a lot of time looking for other technologies that can rival or at least coexist, companion or compliment what we are doing here.


The patent-pending DirectServe™ Technology that TruEffect has brought to the market represents the next generation of ad serving.  It leverages the knowledge that an advertiser holds about its customers, registrants or users to re-target through ad campaigns.  This is not a replacement for other technologies out there – I have said that before as well – but a great new way of doing it.  An addition to a comprehensive advertising strategy.


First party ad serving is about customer re-targeting.  BT is about event-based targeting, best applied when trying to capture unknown individuals.  One is for bringing in new business; one is about farming and growing existing business.  There is no point is re-prospecting existing customers while advertising online.  DirectServe™ takes care of that.  BT leverages previous events so that you can increase the likelihood of putting the right message in front of the right person at the right time based on historical events.  DirectServe™ puts the right message in front of the right person based on known customer segmentation models, knowledge already held about customers.  This a potential marriage.


Now BT is largely touted by networks, so there is a limitation as to how you can use it.  I talk about TACODA a lot – which I think Dave Morgan has not be thrilled about – but its because they have been the leader in the space.  I have also talked about Advertising.com and Blue Streak and Tribal and others as well.  But ad servers offer BT too.  DoubleClick’s Boomerang does it.  TruEffect does it.  And that extends beyond networks.


I also talk about integration.  Agencies are not on this trail so much as advertisers.  Well, some agencies are but they are the minority.  I have strong opinions about this because I feel that they pieces of the puzzle are all here now for us to put together a great picture of our online marketing so that we can make better informed decisions about our web site compositions, product placements, online advertising and budget allocations.  But nobody has fully engaged yet.  There are leaders that are putting the pieces together, but I am advocating the full-monty and that is what you read about on this blog.


Tying it all together will enable an advertiser to make the best possible decisions regarding allocation of online media spend.  It will promote the best utilization of technology, improve product placement on web sites, increase the value of existing customers, the initial value of new customers and enhance the likelihood of increasing the utilization of interactive media as a channel for marketing.


See my ten-step recipe for full-integration of all the technology pieces of an online advertising campaign.


First let me redefine that a third party cookie is a vendor’s cookie and a first party cookie is an advertiser’s cookie.  Here is the recipe.

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Are CPMs Rising? Will We Hit $19.5B in ’07? How to Spend and Get the Biggest Bang for the Buck. It’s in the Technology You Use.

Are CPMs on the rise?  Is it getting more expensive to advertise online?  Are more advertisers coming online, competing for exposure and driving up the rates?  Will the online spend projections for 2007 be reached or even exceeded as a result of more online advertisers or as a result of publishers driving up rates in response to the demand?  How do you take advantage of available technologies to become more effective with the media you buy to keep your ROI in check, your CPA down and your hair on your head!?!


Did you read the NY Times eCommerce Report today?  Ad Costs on the Web Are Rising, but Perhaps a Bit Irrationally.  Are they?  Haven’t they been for a while now?  But wait a minute.  Are we talking about rate card here or are we talking about actual deals.  Maybe both.  The deals are getting more complex.  The media plans, more comprehensive – web sites, networks, search, email.  How an advertiser leverages the technologies that each medium within the online space makes available can dictate how effective those dollars are spent.  But watch out!  Differentiating technologies that improve performance can cost and the incremental cost can blow your return.  So let’s look for what works.


The NYT does a good job of presenting a few different sides to the picture, because the reality is that rising rates is happening where the pressure is strong and the reverse is happening where it is not.  Where traffic is growing at a pace that is out-stepping demand (like with video) the price is falling.  But the premium pages where everyone wants to be, which continue to have increased traffic, is experiencing rising rates.  Search definitely has rising costs (see my previous post, Banners vs. Search) like on Google.  As more and more advertisers include online in their budgets, the rate pressure increases.  So yeah, rates are getting squeezed from that angle too.  Read the article if you want more examples.


So first let’s look at what you are aiming to accomplish.  Are you branding or going for direct response?  Promoting a message or generating leads, customers and sales?  If you’re direct response, keep it simple.  Email advertising drives actions but with low response rates so test, test and re-test.  Either do it in-house or enlist someone like Exact Target to do it for you.  Keep the budget in check and don’t have expectations that are too high.  Best thing you can do is reserve most of your email advertising as direct marketing to existing customers and then test-market prospecting to reputable lists.


If you read my blog, you know how I feel about Search.  It performs really well in the near term but can quickly grow to be less and less effective over time.  The most successful campaign will quickly become the most expensive if you don’t know what you’re doing or if you leave it on auto-pilot.  So you have to stay on top if it and know that you can’t stay with the terms that work for you now, long-term.  The rates will climb as they perform so set your thresholds and when you hit them, dump the terms and move on. 


Using a SEO provider will be helpful if you are buying in volume.  Ad servers that provide SEO integrated with their tools are a nicety since the reports are integrated with the banner campaigns, but remember you are getting a service that is outside of the wheelhouse of what ad servers do.  It’s always best going to people who are working at their core competency.    SEO is a technical science that is still rapidly evolving (believe it or not).  Google has changed the Adwords pricing model so now it costs more to keep checking the bids, so technically-advancing SEO companies will be gaining ground faster than ad servers for whom SEO is peripheral to their business. 


Banner advertising is a foundation of a campaign.  Now we can look at both Direct Response and Branding campaigns.  If you’re running direct response, it’s CPA all the way or remnant network inventory at remnant-priced CPMs.  Remnant inventory should not be getting more expensive.  More people going online every day and spending more time online every day means more inventory so buy aggressively. 


If you use an ad server with DR, you will gain the ability to A/B test creative and messages and optimize your campaign.  In turn, you will generate more leads from the networks and sites.  Obviously you’re not going to go with an ad server if you’re buying on CPA alone.  The ad serving costs will be astronomical.  But if you have CPM buys you should run them through the ad server and then run the same creative through your CPA buys. 


Try to always have at least some CPM portion buy even if you are a Direct Response advertiser so that you can be testing and improving your creative.  The reason for doing this is that networks who are delivering to you on a CPA are optimizing their inventory.  As your performance drops, your ad play drops.  You won’t even know when or why it is happening or which of your banners are producing the decrease in performance of plays vs. click-thrus but your lead flow will diminish.  So have a place to be testing creative so you can float optimized creative through your CPA buys.


With branding campaigns you are obviously more apt to be buying on a CPM basis.  Even if you are looking to generate some level of response, but not a typical Direct Response campaign (e.g., lead generating) you may be buying more premium inventory.  In this circumstance, you really need to be looking at the available technologies because you are entering the realm of rising CPMS.  You are going to be the most concerns with diminishing ROI.


So let’s look at ad networks.  Let’s look at behavioral targeting.  Let’s look at customer re-targeting.  Let’s look at campaign optimization and other forms of targeting.  Let’s look at storyboarding.  And let’s look at other ways you can leverage the ad server cookie file.


Before we jump into all of that, when you buy on premium sites, if you are not paying close attention to your campaigns, reporting frequently, rotating creative and optimizing campaign performance with a competitively priced ad server you are simply wasting your clients’ (or your own) money.  Ad servers are designed to optimize campaign performance so if you are buying in an environment wherein CPMS are rising, negotiate solid, competitive ad serving fees that decrease as your volume increases (no fixed CPMs people) and use the hell out of the ad server to maximize your campaign performance.


Ad servers provide a host of targeting and optimization capabilities like day-part, geo, storyboarding, limits and cookie-targeting.  Know what your ad server can do and leverage these technologies because they don’t (or shouldn’t) cost any extra.  Turn to your ad serving partner (not vendor) and express your issue with rising costs and get them to help you maximize how you use their product.  Don’t let them charge you for the training you need to become a more proficient user of their tools.  Optimize your campaigns so that you are maximizing your return.  Storyboarding can limit the frequency of an ad –play to an individual.  Great.  What about other ways to leverage the cookie file?  Can you define data in your ad server’s cookie for additional targeting?  We do it all the time. 


Ad networks should allow you the opportunity to see site performance data.  They may not give you performance on all sites, but you should be able to dive into the top-X performing sites.  When you buy on a CPM, get access to the data and maximize your exposure by managing your campaign. 


You have two choices with networks.  You can let them serve your creative or you can use an ad server.  If you use an ad server, you maintain control over creative optimization and you leave site optimization to the network.  If you let the network serve creative you are entrusting both to the network.  Do you have an ad server in place?  If you do, than you should be using it to optimize your creative on the network because the networks are (whether they admit it or not) ultimately optimizing the creative-site play combinations in a way that optimizes their inventory usage.  You can improve performance overall by managing your creative rotations yourself.  Then you can apply pressure on the network to optimize site placements.  Look at the reports you get from them on site performances and start culling sites that don’t work or negotiate a variable CPM for tiers of sites based on performance if you start to recognize a pattern.


Behavioral Targeting.  We talk a lot about BT.  Network BT is different than ad server BT.  TACODA or Advertising.com charge an incremental fee for BT but it is not super significant and it does improve your performance on their networks.  It is a technology that is worth taking advantage of for prospecting new people on the internet.  Test it and measure a campaign with it and without and you will be able to determine if it is right for you. 


You shouldn’t be seeing too much price pressure on the networks, at least not in 2007.  I say this because there is such a surge in the number of new networks that competition will be putting pressure on their prices.


Ad server behavioral targeting like DoubleClick’s Boomerang is an entirely different story.  The difference is that DC BT is looking for the DC cookie anywhere on the internet it can find it based on the same cookie/pixel combination that a TACODA or Advertising.com deploys.  They pixel the advertiser’s site, wait for events on the advertiser’s site such as certain actions like page views of products or purchase/thank you pages and then cookie the user.  If/when they encounter that user on the internet, they recognize the cookie, associate it back to the event(s) and allow for targeting of an ad based on the anonymous event.  Great conceptual technology but expensive.  DC is already a premium-rate ad server so when you tack on Boomerang you are looking at high fees.  Couple that with rising CPMs on publishers and you are quickly looking at the potential of a negative ROI.  You need to look at this very closely.  Many big-block advertisers with exclusive contracts with DC, or agencies with exclusive DC contracts, don’t use Boomerang because it has proven to not be cost effective.  Ask for their client list and you will get their biggest names.  Then ask which ones are using Boomerang and you will see what I mean.  Do your own analysis before you even bother testing it.  Atlas and Mediaplex too it’s the same story.


Customer Re-targeting is similar to BT, only it involves the reading of an advertiser’s first party cookie rather than the ad server’s cookie.  TruEffect, for example looks for an advertiser’s customers who are tagged with the advertiser’s cookies, which indicate a customer segment (such as shopping frequency or buying habits or preferences, etc.) and then allow for the ability of that advertiser to target that user accordingly with an ad through a campaign anywhere on the internet at any time.  This technology has no incremental cost in terms of the ad serving so it is a benefit of working with TruEffect over other ad servers.  Direct Response advertisers can use it to drive recurring revenue opportunities from existing customers.  They can up-sell, cross-promote or highlight products or services to individuals based on known shopping preferences rather than re-prospecting an existing customer through an advertising campaign.  Customer re-targeting is a great campaign addition to be used in combination with something like TACODA or Advertising.com prospecting BT.  This is an example of a technology that will drastically improve performance without increasing your costs, effectively increasing ROI.  DirectServe, as it is called, can also be integrated with Search campaigns as discussed in Search and Networks: Better Together – I Think So


So there you go.  CPMs may be rising.  We can see that the pressure to drive up CPMs represents an increase in the number of buyers (demand) and publishers seeking higher rates for their products will push the 2007 ad spend up and probably over the projected $19B mark.  We need to be well aware of how we allocate our budgets and that we are taking advantage of the technological benefits out there that will help us maximize campaign efficiencies so that we can keep our overall costs in check to maximize the ROI.  Costs are rising, ad serving rates are steady or even dropping if you are buying more inventory as an agency overall.  Don’t get sucked-in to value-added services that chip away at your ROI without some complimentary tests that will prove their value.  Vendors do want to demonstrate their value to you and the pressure you will be under to maintain ROI will mean you will have to get more aggressive in your negotiation with vendors.  Good luck. 

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Ad Networks and Ad Servers

The iMedia Agency Summit has prompted a lot of great topic conversation and some great articles that are worthy of comments, reactions and insight. 


A number of clients that we work with come to us with the conundrum of working with both web sites and networks when they advertise online. 


Dave Morgan has professed the rise of ad networks and he is not alone.  Tom Hespos recently wrote how the Brand Value of Ad Networks [is] on the Rise.  There is no doubt that the ad networks are stretching their wings and are trying to move away from being simple aggregators of remnant inventory.


Ad Networks are offering advertisers behavioral targeting.  They are enabling advertisers (at least some ad networks) to customize campaigns by selecting sites or at least site groupings for campaigns when buying by CPM.  Some ad networks are developing hands-on programs to promote branding strategies for advertisers that help the network move away from the pure CPC, CPA model and offer up the opportunity for greater revenue diversification for the network with a better value proposition to the advertiser.  In the end, the networks are trying and with time we’ll see who rises to the top.  See my post on consolidation of networks: Where Behavioral Targeting and CRM Meet, and Where They Can Marry. 


With time we will also see whether the savvier agencies buy into the idea of networks being able to really offer branding and awareness-capable campaign value or if in the end it is about direct response.  Time will tell but I think that the Summit produced some great arguments and there are some good discussions that came out of it.  I’ll tackle some more of them shortly.


Tom Hespos argued in his article that site duplication, when working with multiple networks, is one issue that you need to watch out for in managing online campaigns through networks.  Great point.  He also said the following which was the impetus for this posting:


Another way to minimize duplication is to look at cookie data from past buys. New tools are emerging to look at past campaign data for the purposes of figuring out which networks duplicated the most and for scenario planning with unduplicated reach in mind. Look to your ad server of choice for help with this one.


When we work with advertisers who are using our ad servers, we enable them to take control of their campaigns holistically online, across all the sites and networks they advertise on.  When you work with an ad network you have the choice of letting them serve your ads for you.  No problem there – it’s like letting a site serve your ads only they offer two additional features: (1) They can strategically optimize your creative for you across all the sites in the network upon which they play your ads and (2) they have solid reporting (a lot of them do).  But you can get both of these capabilities with an ad server.  In fact, the reporting with an ad server – by creative – will be far more robust because of post-click analysis and the grand view of the entire campaign (all sites and all networks you advertise for the campaign).  And the ability to centrally manage, rotate and optimize creative across every site AND every network simultaneously will cut way down on the headaches of having each network doing it for you individually.


Looking into the cookie data that an ad server collects for you with regard to your campaigns across ad networks … now that opens up a whole world of possibilities.  Thanks Tom.  If you work with a third-party ad server, what can you find?  What can you see?  First of all, what is available to you?


A third-party ad server covets the data they amass as it is core to the asset they build for profiling and targeting.  The one thing you will not be getting your hands on, is that data.  Ask Atlas for a copy of their log files!  LOL.  However, for a fee, you can get interpretations of that data. 


An ad server can look at the cookie log files and determine publisher, site, site section, banner plus log data like IP, browser type, time of day, etc.  But all of this is historical and can only help you keep tabs on your networks after the fact.  It is a lot of data-digging and will get expensive fast.


Here is another way.  I know that I am always espousing the First Party thing, but check this out … serve through a first-party ad server and use first party cookies.  You can have the ad server write the directly to the cookie: the site, site section and banners played in sequential order in real time.  Then when the lead lands on the advertiser’s designated web page, the advertiser can read the cookie – their first-party cookie – and can see exactly where the lead came from and how the lead was derived.  In fact, not only will the advertiser see how the lead was derived, but sequentially every banner-play that previously led up to the lead-generation. 


When you instrument the tags for the ad server with each network they can trigger markers into the first-party cookie-writing sequence so you will know whether site A came from network 1 or network 2.


This first part stuff, which TruEffect calls DirectServe has a lot going for it.  Check it out when you have time.

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Where Behavioral Targeting and CRM Meet, and Where They Can Marry

MediaPost’s Behavioral Insider an article entitled “Beyond Surfing Data: Where Behavioral Targeting And CRM Meet” in which he interviews Undertone Networks CEO Mike Cassidy.


Phil’s telling opening comment triggered this Reactionary with Insight post:

“[Behavioral Targeting]
remains for most publishers little more than a tool for squeezing a little extra revenue out of “sub-par” inventory, and for most advertisers a tactic for generating higher response rates. Worthy goals– but hardly paradigm shifting.”


First of all, I think it is important to point out that this interview sets up what I believe to be the front-end of what BT has to offer.  As a prospecting tool BT sets up an advertiser with the opportunity to draw forward individuals who have been primed by preferred events that increase their potential to respond to future advertising.  Now I have been strong in the past with my arguments that the ability to predict people’s responses to advertisements based on event-based targeting is mediocre at best, but I do admit it is stronger than not deploying BT at all.  Cost-determining should make this a decision worthy of evaluation.


But this interview introduces more that is worth your consideration.  When BT and CRM begin to come together, we are looking at much more than simply increasing an advertiser’s ability to drive prospects at a higher rate.  We are talking about what we do with higher-valued prospects after we have acquired them.  And that get’s pretty interesting.


The article defines the event-based targeting on Undertone as follows:


By placing a pixel on the home page, advertisers can track how customers or would-be customers engage with the brand, segmenting customers with as much granularity as they wish in terms of what and how much, or how often, they buy; what types of content they browse; the intensity or casualness of their interest; and how short or how long their sales purchase cycle tends to be. They can then follow these customers anywhere on our network and serve them ads based on their customer profiles.”


This is does not sound altogether much different than BT on TACODA, Advertising.com or other networks.  Dave Morgan’s recent blog post, The Ad Network Resurgence talks about how there are going to be more and more networks over time.  I asked him what happens when BT becomes the commonly offered by each network and represents less of a differentiator.  Undertone’s BT sounds like a solid representation of what is becoming more commonly expected by what was originally brought to market by networks like TACODA.  I guess to cover basis, over time, advertisers that see BT as being core to their strategy will begin to buy on more and more networks that offer BT and perhaps buy on less and less sites and networks that don’t make this available.


So the only limitation of this is of course that you have to advertise on the specific network to reach that browser.  There are some advertisers out that that may advertise on more than one BT network and then pixel their sites with more than one BT network’s pixels so that they can track and target people from each network but there is no cross-over tracking and targeting. 


Think about that.  I can be seeing the same person on the same networks, have had targeted three separate times and never known it.


Say I use TACODA, Advertising.com and Undertone and pixel the same five pages on my site and then I advertise on all three networks, if I encounter the same individual on my site I have just tracked her by all three BT networks at the same time.  Good thing insomuch that if that individual goes to any of those networks I will hit her with a targeted ad.  But what happens with the sequence of ads?  What happens when she goes to each network 3 times and then on the fourth time she clicks on an ad on one of the networks.  I don’t know that its actually the 10th time I’ve seen her, only the fourth according to the data provided by the network that acquired her.


The interview with Mike Cassidy talks about post-acquisition integration capabilities with CRM.  I have not heard much about BT integration possibilities with event-based targeting.  Anonymous click-stream data doesn’t really offer that much integration opportunity.  And there is even less opportunity when the data format is associated with the network’s third-party cookie.


Cassidy says that an advertiser can “…evolve and refine both their advertising messaging (for greater relevancy and timeliness) and their customer profiling over time, based on a potentially far richer data set. A whole new universe of possibilities opens up for more efficient up-selling, cross-selling and closing the sales loop in the sales cycle.” 


Nothing more than that is said, but I think that it’s worth exploring here.


A lead that is acquired through a BT network initially comes through like any other lead from any other network ad.  He will have come through a unique click-thru that an advertiser will presumably setup that will tell what network they came from.  Then the network will provide reporting that will report on the pixel tracking so that should report the pixels, ads and sites that are associated with the lead.  Now I have advertiser tell me that certain popular BT networks can not report to them the navigational pathway of the pixel-tracking.  So if an advertiser pixels a lot of pages, and a browser can bounce around the site a bit, there is no way to know the pathway of that navigation.  But of course, BT is not a site analysis tool.


So the advertiser gets the data they normally get.  If they use an ad server they will get a little more data, ad rotations, etc. and then of course they get the data that I have described that the network provides.  But there is no integration of this data.


When the lead lands on their web site, the lead can get tagged by a CRM system with a first party cookie for the first time.  Now the browser can be tagged, the tag can be associated with the source and the lead can now be tracked by the site analysis system (Webside Story, Omniture, Web Trends, etc.) and any one of the numerous CRM tools) as a lead converts to a customer, etc..  All of the acquisition marketing data associated with BT stays with the BT network and all of the CRM data stays with the CRM system.


Complete isolation of acquisition marketing data and customer data.


CAN THIS BE DONE DIFFERENTLY?  SEE MY NEXT POST (tomorrow/Monday): Marrying Behavioral Marketing and CRM with First Party Ad Serving

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