3 Steps to Targeting Nirvana, Bennett Zucker Gives Us Open Market Benefits that will Improve BT

Go-Bennett, a great article in iMediaConnection on Thursday.  Three Steps to Targeting Nirvana defines behavioral targeting today and outlines an open marketplace, an open technology platform and what he characterizes as ‘an open mind.’


Up front, Bennett makes the argument that the onus of responsibility for accurate and aggressive BT should not fall on publishers.  Efforts results in wasted inventory, poor performance and lack of attention that should truly benefit the advertiser.  Advertiser-directed BT is where it’s at.  We have the technology and the science is far more impactful.  In fact, Bennett does a great job of presenting an example of a car-buying scenario which illustrates how advertiser-driven BT better serves publishers.


In the section on open market place, Bennett tries to present a clean argument.  Advertisers ideally should have the opportunity to cherry pick the inventory they buy, so as to promote the opportunity to select the inventory that will meet their BT needs.  I know that Bennett has struggled with the “I don’t want to be a self-promoting author” and so kudos for giving us several examples in your story.  Right Media is clearly the leading auction exchange model in the space.  But AdBrite is a solid player and a good alternative for people to be looking at, especially if they want to have an alternative to Right Media or want to investigate options before jumping into bed with a specific vendor (if you can even call RM a vendor, more like a facilitator). 


Anyway, Bennett is trying to paint the utopian picture for us here – advertisers cherry picking inventory.  I know that in theory that is what the auction model enables you to do – bid on the inventory that you want and forego that which you don’t want.  But most of the inventory on the Right Media Exchange is network  inventory so you really can’t be so laser targeted.  The RM Direct Exchange, however, may be something to look at in terms of publisher-specific inventory.


Bennett is honest to himself and us insomuch that he acknowledges that networks are inherently limited by the design of only being able to offer BT within their own network.  So even if you could cherry pick the inventory you wanted, you could only deploy BT on that network.  Using an ad server with BT would overcome that, if the ad server BT can be deployed across the networks.  Bennett surprisingly does not go into this in his article.


Here is where I think the article could use a fourth and maybe even a fifth section.


Requirement 4 – Ad serving that Re-targets With BT Agnostically


Several ad server offer BT that can extend across multiple networks.  Event-based BT like Boomerang by DoubleClick for example can enable and advertiser to track behavioral of people who have been on their site and then target them across the web – including across networks.  If an advertiser were to deploy event-based BT in conjunction with selective inventory buys on an auction exchange, they could be deploying BT with far more refinement.


Deploying first party ad serving by TruEffect is a second alternative.  With first party ad serving, the inventory acquired through the auction can be targeted using re-targeting methods of the first party cookie and any existing customer can be recognized and re-targeted in real-time.  Treated like any other inventory, all inventory bought through the network could easily be re-targeted using a DirectServe™ implementation.


Requirement 5Ad Serving that Integrates


A final consideration today, and a growing requirement is a concept that I have heard advertisers call a ‘universal’ or ‘megapixel.’  In the days where sites are getting tagged by ad servers, publishers, networks, site-side analytics and pretty much any other tracking mechanisms, there is a need for a single pixel that can shoulder other tracking beacons.


Dynamic Logic’s Universal Tag is one example of this kind of technology.  Shouldering multiple tags, this universal pixel enables an advertiser to tag the site one time.  DoubleClick has an alliance with DL so that they can offer this solution to their clients.  TruEffect has a similar technology called TruTags™ whereby they have one tag that is placed on the site and through it, multiple tags can be managed so that an advertiser only has to tag the site one time and any other tags can be added or removed through a single common interface.  The piggy-backing enables the advertiser or agency to eliminate the need to go back and keep tagging the site eveytime a new netrok buy comes into play.


The great benefit of these megapixels is that with Bennett’s story, one could buy inventory at auction – which will almost always be network inventory – use an ad sever that deploys BT like event-based or First Party DirectServe™ and then use a universal tag or megapixel to reduce tagging requirements as each new network is bought.  Snazzy.  Good article Bennett.


Reactionary with Insight.

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TruTags, Universal Site Measurement Tags


Here is an afterthought.  In Tom Hespos’ article on Become an Ad-Serving Power User he described a painful dialogue between the MediaPlanner and the Webmaster regarding tagging a site.  During this hypothetical example he mentions:


 


“The major ad servers have a wonderfully simple solution to all this. Place their tags on critical pages of your client’s website and upload the network tags through your own ad server. The ad server then manages which tags should fire at the appropriate moment. This can save your agency a ton of time and effort during the trafficking process, shaving hours off your management time.”


 


I am not exactly sure what Tom is talking about in terms of the ad server’s tags.  Dynamic Logic has a “Universal Tag” that they have created which allows you to tag a site one time and then redirect pings to other tags but this is for the purpose of pulling in the Millard Brown surveys.  DoubleClick has partnered with DL and enables the redirect pings so that you can post the Universal Tag (supposedly although I can’t find anyone who has actually deployed it) and then the tag will fire off other tags when it is activated.


 


TruEffect has its patent-pending TruTags.  This is uniquely different in that they are tags that you put on an advertiser’s web page and you can use them to load other pixels through them so that when they fire, they will simultaneously fire other pixels.  And Advertiser or agency can load up as many other tracking tags as they may wish without ever having to retag the advertiser’s site.  It’s perfect for that Webmaster who bitches and moans every time you want to add or remove tags. 


 


Reactionary with Insight.

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Apply Direct Mail Knowledge to Online, and Then Do it


Dave Wilson, president of Wilson Relationship Marketing Services wrote in iMediaconnection today bout extending offline direct mail practices to the online world.  His incite about the established world of customer segmentation and modeling in the offline world stimulates the mind about the possibilities online but then he only scratches the surface with regard to what’s out there.


 


Dave says that unlike offline, “…in the online world marketing activities are geared towards “pulling” prospects from an audience of identified potential customers. To understand and identify the right targets, marketers need to know the key attributes of prospects and customers online just like in the offline world. As a result, customer segmentation becomes imperative online, whether the media channel is search engine marketing (SEM), banner ads on portals or email campaigns.”


 


So media selection is a key component of segmentation.  That is common practice today.  Vertical sites, networks and search are all widely accepted.  Dave talks about subject-matter verticals like news or entertainment-rich content sites being capable of delivering a specific demographic while specific networks may be capable of delivering another demographic type.  Search engines can deliver keyword targets and some even go so far as provide vertical search on a site-by-site basis.  LookSmart is a vertical search engine provider for example.  This is all good when you are looking to drive traffic which, of course, is a huge component of online advertising.  But with online marketing – like offline direct marketing – there is more.


 


The web is the newest greatest one-to-one communication mechanism of our time right?  The greatest thing since the TV, only now you can communicate and not just broadcast.  So segmenting an audience is about generating a response.  Segmenting prospects is about generating customers.  Segmenting customers is about driving repeat business.  Direct marketing covers both.  Not just one.  When we examine the direct to consumer communication capabilities of online marketing we have to go beyond the geo-targeting, day-part targeting and demographic preferences of a site, search engine or email list.  We have to also look at behavioral targeting.  We have to look at psychographic segmentation.  We have to look at cross-channel customer knowledge and segmentation data.


 


Okay-okay.  Where is the lunatic going?  First of all behavioral targeting.  My good friends at TACODA and Advertising.com offer healthy targeting capabilities based on event-based behaviors.  Pixel your advertisers’ sites and you can target users across their networks based on people who have been on your site in the past.  Or, can you do it better?  Yup – but that way works well if you are targeting their network.  You can use an ad server to pixel your web pages and target users web-wide, including users across a network who have conducted specific events on your advertisers’ sites.  So if they have seen a product page in the past and then you encounter them on the web, you can target them with specific ads.  Better prospecting.  The network model works great is you are primarily advertising on the network.  The ad server model works better if you are casting a wider net across the internet.  Check out DoubleClick’s Boomerang or TruEffect’s DirectServe for basic behavioral target prospecting.


 


Now, direct marketing is also about going after existing customers too.  Catalogers don’t just go after prospects, they hit the hell out of existing shoppers.  And so should you.  Creating customer segments of your online customers is vital.  Remember I said cross-channel segmentation?  If your business has an offline component and an online component like – say Target or LL Bean – then you should be marrying your offline and online data.  The deeper your customer database the more you can segment your customers for online direct marketing.


 


Online direct marketing should be conducted in two places simultaneously, site-side and web-wide.  Site-side is customer targeting while they are on your web site.  Using first-party cookies in conjunction with user logins is paramount.  Know your customers and leverage that information to guide them through to buy-buy-buy.  Okay, maybe not that aggressive, but your content management system should be geared towards displaying optimized products based on the segment membership buckets you have placed them.  Categorized behavior and predictive modeling should enable you to increase the likelihood to buy and to increase the amount per purchase per visit.  Once someone logs-on you can access their account and user personally identifiable information.  Prior to logging on you can use first party cookies and anonymous profile data.  Both are very powerful.


 


And here it is, my little plug.  Web-wide direct marketing to existing customers may be accomplished through customer re-targeting through your online advertising campaigns.  If you are advertising online, and you frequently advertise on the same sites because you perform well on those publisher sites you have to know that your customers frequent those sites too.  That means that you are paying to re-prospect your existing customers.  What % of your advertising audience is comprised of existing audience.  How many impressions are you wasting on people who already shop with you?  Would your dollars be better utilized direct marketing to existing customers on those sites while you simultaneously prospect-message to non-customers?  Then read anyone of my many posts that talk about DirectServe and first party ad serving.  Because that technology will tie it altogether for you.


 


One last tid-bit.  TruEffect offers something called TruTags™.  Neat little patent-protected item they threw out for 2007.  It is a site tag that you put on advertiser web pages that will simultaneously fire other tags.  So you only need to tag your advertiser’s web pages one time and you can add as many other tags as you need to the TruTag™ repository.  Its really nice for those advertisers who are difficult when it comes time to adding tags to their web pages for additional tracking mechanisms.  You simply TruTag™ their site and then as an agency you control the addition of extra tracking tags.  So you can use behavioral targeting of other providers and things like that without having to re-tag.  Nice.


 


Reactionary with Insight.

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