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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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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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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David Smith and The Medium is the Metric for Online Ads

Fantastic!  When David Smith steps up and writes an article, people should listen.  If you have the opportunity to attend a venue where he is speaking, you should make it your business to sit in on his session.


 


Earlier I posted an entry about when to blog and when to publish.  David should always, always publish.  He is not about self-promotion but rather call-to-action.  Although he never admits it, MediaSmith strives to meet or exceed all the demands that he places on us as agencies, advertisers and vendors servicing the industry.


 


In today’s iMediaConnection, David wrote “The Medium is the Metric for Online Adsand he pulled out all the stops. 


 


He gave us illustrations for why digital research is taking a quantum leap with Quantcast.  Dwarfing what ComScore and NetRatings have to offer, Quantcast provides insight into millions of websites.  Forget @Plan which is a front to DoubleClick’s publisher database.  Quantcast is considered to be the next, new and potentially most accurate source of secondary publishers in the industry.  Ad servers should be integrating with them, and agencies should be taking a long hard look at providing access to it for their media planners.  Currently, they measure 20 million web sites and growing exponentially.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that you abandon Comscore, not yet.  Soon they will not just be about the secondary web sites, but the primaries too.  Their model is primary about getting publishers to post tags on their sites so they get tracked, but if they continue to get traction that won’t be an issue.  Watch these guys.  I am. 


 


David also brings up Blackfoot several times.  David has been working with Martin Wesley and the team at Blackfoot for a couple of years.  I have known Blackfoot and have watched them grow-up from a one-room office to the organization that they are today.  Blackfoot offers cutting-edge analytics software and people like David Smith have been experimenting with it from the days when it was based entirely on processes.  While still involving teams of analysts, Blackfoot’s Analytix is a composite compilation of disparate sources of data.  Accomplished through a team of manual processes, this service model produces analysis capabilities that rival the comprehension capacity of the top-5% intellect in the industry.  Dumb-it-down and you still have huge insight into the holistic marketing initiatives for an advertiser.  A lot of data for making decisions.


 


The call for dashboard views has been David’s MO since I first met him last year.  As I mentioned in my January 10th, 2007 post, Improve Your Stats, Don’t Over Analyze, Make Decisions and Execute I have not been in contact with David in quite some time.  But when we last spoke, it was about his search for a holistic digital dashboard that provided a top-down view over every aspect of an advertiser’s campaign.  David has a vision for how an agency should be managed, and if you are a client I sincerely believe that you will benefit from his desire to control every aspect of the campaign – if not personally then as an agency.  A need to see how each medium correlates together into a series of results helps David determine the interaction between them.  And he is confident that those relationships can be seen and subsequently decisions can be made that will be affected by that insight.


 


In this article, David glosses over the utilization of site-side analytics, Coremetrics, WebSideStory, WebTrends and Omniture.  I think this is where the insight falls short.  Perhaps David is unaware of what we’re doing with first party integrations of first party ad serving and first party site-side analytics.  Other ad servers are conducting cookie synchronizations.  DoubleClick and Omniture for example is the best example that I can think of.  It’s historical and laborious.  A DoubleClick ad serving cookie and the data associated with the acquisition marketing campaign can be synchronized with the site side analytics third party cookie in the rears.  Real-time decision-making is not achieved but insight into navigation patterns, entry points that extend to the advertising campaign and placement to eCommerce patterns are measurable.


 


TruEffect’s patent-pending DirectServe™ offers first party cookie synchronization with the WebSideStory first party cookie.  So in fact it is real-time and is a direct pass through, and not a synchronization at all.  Poor choice of words on my part.  It is an integration of commonly-threaded technologies.  The ad serving knowledge flows through to the site side analytics engine.  Both use the clients first party cookie and so decisions are made in real-time.  Reactionary. 


 


So listen up David, this aspect of your challenge to the industry has already met.  And we’re working with the other companies mentioned to complete the offering across the industry.


 


Funny, a year ago David wrote an article entitled “Where’s My Dashboard? and I contacted him to introduce him to TruAdvertiser.xls™ the holistic ad server built within Microsoft Excel.  It integratable with accounting platforms and pulls in disparate sources of data.  We didn’t move forward together but it was a great series of conversations.  Maybe it is time for us to chat again and introduce the topic of DirectServe™.  I think that we’re doing things that he is unaware of.  Hey David, give me a call.


 


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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Ten Step Recipe for a Fully-Integrated Online Marketing Initiative

In my next post, This I believe, I state my position on agencies, networks, ad servers, writers and pretty much all things online advertising related.  In the end I offer up a reciper for putting together all of the technologies into a holistic, comprehensive marketing initiative.  Here it is.

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:


 


(1)            Starting with the tagging of a web site so that cookies can be set (first party cookies of course) when someone is on the site. 


(2)            Then add in Ad serving – first party ad serving (like the patent-pending DirectServe™) to promote products or services on the web. 


(3)            Mix in the search advertising and be sure to use the ad server’s first party cookie and leverage a redirect so that the search term can be embedded into the cookie so that when the user lands on the advertiser’s web page that search term is associated with that user.


(4)            Deploy customer re-targeting advertising whereby you leverage customer segments from the eCRM database to recognize and distinguish customers through ad campaigns with specific banner advertisements, rich media and video.


(5)            Deploy BT for anyone that visits the web site directly and cookie that user with a first-party cookie so that the re-targeting mechanism can work when they encounter that individual online (on a network or web site).


(6)            Engage with a site-side analytics provider that will use a first party deployment – like WebSideStory – and take full advantage of tracking anonymous user behavior across your web site.  Track all navigation patterns, entrance and exist points, product position preferences, sales cycles, etc.


(7)            Leverage site-side analytics to write the first party cookie and segment the cookie value based on user preferences in association with CRM data.


(8)            Feed the customer preference cookie value to generate the customer segments and associate the customer segments with creative target groups that the ad server will serve in the re-target campaigns (back to #4)


(9)            Have the DirectServe™ write to the cookie during the ad serving process the details of the ad serving history to the cookie so that when a prospect of customer comes to the site, the site-side analytics software can internalize all of the external activity and use it for further analysis on how someone became a customer or how returning customers were reacquired.  First party ad serving will give site-side analytics outside perspective of web marketing.


(10)       Complete the circle by leveraging the holistic view by analyzing the reports on how you acquire customers through BT, Search and Banner advertising, how you re-acquire existing customers through DirectServe™ first party ad serving and how both types interact with your site using site-side analytics.  Determine which messaging strategies, campaign combinations of banners and placements, search engines and terms and which technologies are delivering the greatest source of new customer and returning customer yield and make future media buying decisions based on that analysis.

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3 Steps to Customized Landing Pages, and 3 More to Holistic Online Marketing Integration

3 Steps to Customized Landing Pages, and 3 More to Holistic Online Marketing Integration


 


So this was funny.  Very often I will go into iMediaConnection and read an article without paying attention to the author first.  I do this intentionally so that I don’t have a bias to the topic or position but rather allow myself to take the reactionary approach as objectively as possible.


 


Jamie Roche’s piece in today’s iMediaConnection, 3 Steps to Customized Landing Pages was a great example.  Jamie describes: “…how to customize your website pages so that even when making a keyword buy of thousands, you still maximize conversions.”  He does this by presenting a three-step process:


 


Step 1: Look at keyword groups by intention


Step 2: Break out landing pages types and create templates


Step 3: Test templates for general effectiveness


 


Jamie does a great job of presenting how to leverage landing pages to increase conversion potential following search marketing campaigns.  As I was reading his article, I was thinking to myself, what technologies would help to accomplish these tasks?  What can people use to manage their dynamic content-serving on landing pages, what tokens could be placed on browsers at the time of the search-term click-thru to associate the keyword group with a landing page topic?  What site-side analytics software could track and report the metrics to evidence the performance.  What cookie-related perspective would promote the ability to integrate with other forms of e-marketing media?


 


As I was reading, I was thinking about Offermatica.  Figures that would be the case, Offermatica is perfect for dynamic landing-page creation, content testing and doing just what Jamie was talking about.  So after I read the article, and went to see who the author was I start to laugh out loud because of course I know that Jamie Roche is the President of Offermatica!


 


So let’s talk about how the picture can be put together.


 


Offermatica is a great solution for doing everything Jamie describes – it’s actually an eloquent pitch and not too bias if you want to read the article.  But it really represents a piece of the bigger puzzle that we try to explore today.  Holistic online marketing aims to couple the outside advertising with the site-side advertising.  Offermatica is the site-side solution.  Once someone arrives at your site, Offermatica will help you put the right offer in front of the right person based on how you go them there.  Perfect! 


 


So how do you provide a solution like Offermatica with the information that they require to make the best decisions that they can?


 


The out-of-the-box solution (sort of) is to provide Offermatica with the selection criteria for testing various landing pages so that they can be rapid testing on-the-fly as your campaigns are running.  On a performance basis, you can improve acquisition rates by leveraging landing page selections over time.  But how do you hook-in the information so that you are producing the landing pages?


 


Jamie uses search campaigns as his example.  What is unclear is how to determine the landing page content.  Presumably it’s not on the fly.  He suggests creating buckets of search term groups and then creating landing pages that correlate to those groups, probably multiple pages for each group for A/B testing. 


 


But how about banner advertising.  Also possible.  The topic or creative group association of an ad can be passed through in the click-thru URL the same way and all of this can be accomplished as well.


 


Okay, next step…how do we leverage advancing technologies and push site-side content rendering to the next level. 


 


But what about dynamic pages that are reacting to the search campaign?


 


Why can’t we leverage knowledge about previously viewed ads and the search campaign to better select landing pages?  If the search term is captured in the click-thru URL and passed through to the advertiser, and knowledge about banner campaigns can be captured by cookies leveraged during the ad serving process, they should each be able to be incorporated into the rendering of a landing page.  Product selection and content placement can be that much more targeted, and accurate.  Not only can you line up the product placement based on the search term that a person used to get to the advertiser’s site, but you can also leverage knowledge about ads and offers that individual has seen with respect to products and offers.  Ads they may have reacted to in the past as well as ads that they have not reacted to.


 


Offermatica can be leveraged to read the cookie in the browser as they arrive to the advertiser’s web page and react to the information stored in their browser.  More valuable than the click-thru URL of the landing page, the cookie can instruct Offermatica on how to create the landing page too.  Simultaneously the cookie can also share information with the advertiser’s eCRM system and site-side analytics system.  We’ve been through this before.


 


First party cookies are obviously the way to go here.  So if you talk to Jamie and his team and suggest that he accept a first party cookie – say the advertiser’s cookie, or the Offermatica cookie, then he can leverage information in that cookie to make even better decisions for you.  Of course you can get in touch with me through Trueffect if you want me to better explain how TruEffect and Offermatica do this.  Anyway, the first party cookie can pass through information about the banner campaign, search campaign – oooh – even an email marketing campaign.  That’s right, holistic integration of the advertiser’s online marketing effort.


 


Landing pages can be rendered on the fly based on how someone became a lead as well as how they did not become a lead – what ads and search terms generated a response (whether they came through a banner or a search click) as well as what ads did not generate a response.


 


Now, when that person becomes a customer, registrant or other “known” member of your database, DirectServe™ can kick in.  Now that person can be segmented for future re-targeting through all of the same channels using that initial first party cookie. 


 


If the individual conducts a subsequent search, they will be identified upon the click-thru and the knowledge about that user will be passed through to Offermatic, who can render an appropriate landing page that is customer-specific.  Offermatica can further test landing pages that are designed for returning customers.  The eCRM system will capture recurring sales information about returning customers.  And the site-side analytics software – say WebSideStory – will capture the entire cycle as it goes around and around: from search term to sale and from banner ad to sale, over and over, in it’s reports.


 


Reactionary with Insight. 

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Post-Search Data and Banner Advertising


Phil Leggiere interviewed Right Media’s director of Product Management, Alex Hooshmand and published the interview in the January 31st 2007 edition of MediaPost’s Behavioral Insider. 


 


At the end of the interview, Phil asked about the new frontier of Behavioral Targeting, what is coming next.  Hooshmand’s response, “we now have several clients who are using post-search behavior to target banner or display ads.”  Let’s get into that.


 


So what are the options?


 


Obviously RightMedia has some offering within their exchange network although I have not been able to find anything more than that.  Plus as a hermetically sealed network you are limited to being a buyer or seller within that auction environment.  Works great for direct response, low-dollar advertisers and publishers with remnant inventory but not for the rest of the market.


 


One options is Post-search advertising.  AlmondNet delivers post-search paid-listings to users based on previous search behavior across its distributed ad network.  If a user searches on an item through conventional search, their search behavior is cookied and tracked.  When they are encountered in the future they are targeted with relevant paid listings.  This is a lot like behavioral targeting only with paid listings and with search instead of pixel-associated events.


 


MSN’s new AdCenter offers an advertiser the opportunity to target their search advertising by demographics, geography, day-part and several other parameters.  So they are using browser-based cookies to single-out users for targeting.  Crossing the chasm to then offer an advertiser the opportunity to subsequently advertise a banner ad to someone based on search response behavior would not be a hard leap to make.  But that is my supposition and is not something that has been publicly been brought to market.  But it will I am guessing.


 


Then of course there is my favorite, the creative approach that the early adopters are deploying.  Search advertising with First Party cookie ad serving. 


 


Advertisers that manage healthy search campaigns will usually employ the services of an ad server to track their campaigns – leveraging unique click-thru URLs and landing pages to track each keyword.  This approach enables the advertiser to measure the effectiveness of every keyword.  While the search engines may provide impression data on the keywords through their reports, and clicks, the ad servers can provide successful clicks and then post-click events (what happens after someone clicks on the keyword and enters the advertiser’s site) when the advertiser’s site is properly tagged with tracking pixels.


 


One of the benefits of using an ad server is to have the comparative reporting between a search engine’s reported clicks and actual clicks.  Up until recently, Google reportedly had a click-fraud rate of approx 12%.  Now it is 2% with the invention of something they refer to as “invalid clicks” making up the other 10%.  Invalid clicks are screened out clicks that you no longer have to pay for.  So they are making good on the evident occurrence of people clicking on multiple links before pages load, “stopped” browsers, spiders and bots, failed page loads and other behaviors that result in “fraud” click counts but unsuccessful events.  Whereas, the ad server counts the click as resulting in someone landing on the advertiser’s web page.


 


But back to the integration of search and banner advertising.  When using an ad server to manage search campaigns, a user receives a cookie when they click-thru to the advertiser’s web site.  I know I have gone though this before so my readers should have this down.  But the basics are as follows:


 


The cookie is placed on the browser so that they can be tracked through to the advertiser’s web page and the activity can be credited back to the keyword and search engine.  As this user continues to surf the web they can be recognized and targeted based on that cookie with banner ads. 


 


If it is a third-party cookie, it is event-based targeting.  TACODA, Advertising.com are network examples and Boomerang are ad server examples that can apply this technology and can target a user based on their search behavior.


 


If it is a first party ad serving implementation – DirectServe – then the cookie that is applied is the advertiser’s cookie.  The behavioral targeting features still apply insomuch that if all they do is visit the site, they can be targeted with future ads just like with the example described above for third party providers. 


 


But with first party implementations, the user can also be targeted based on advertiser knowledge generated from the site visit.  For example, if the user clicked on the search term and registered for information, purchased a product or applied for a loan then they are in the CRM system and are a known individual that can be included in a customer segment.  Customer segments can be targeted with DirectServe, first party ad serving. 


 


A user who clicks on a search term and visits the advertiser’s site; and who then completes some level of activity that results in their identification will get a first party cookie.  This individual can then be re-targeted with ads anywhere across the internet at anytime as a customer or registrant.  They can be up-sold, cross-sold or otherwise targeted as an anonymous member of a customer segment (brand preference, purchase frequency, buying habits, etc.).


 


Post-search behavior can be used to create the customer segments when the users arrive for the first time.  For example, the segment examples can further be dissected to include keyword groups so that when targeted, the advertisements appeal to keyword groups that initially generated the user’s response.  Once the user returns to the web page – just like when they first arrived at the site – a content management system can leverage the actual keyword to customize content delivery and properly display product information to maximize revenue or other desired response.


 


I’d love to hear from you on this.  This can be done a number of ways.  But the easiest that I have come across so far is to integrate the three – search, behavioral targeting and DirectServe/first party ad serving. 


 


As I have described in the past DirectServe has three phases of implementation: (1) re-targeting, (2) cookie-writing and data delivery for analytics and (3) integration – CRM, Content Management and Site-Side Analytics.  But for the purpose of this post and this example, I am really only focusing on re-targeting.  That is as far as you need to go and you will already be way ahead of the curve.


 


What else can you do?


 


If you integrate your search with your ad serving, leveraging post-search capabilities to drive your behavioral targeting (prospecting) and customer re-targeting (DirectServe), you will generate data that you can analyze about customers that will enable you to better understand not just what search terms generate leads but what search terms generate customers, customer segment groups, customer values, repeat custom actions and long-term metrics.  Grouping keywords together will help you determine long-term effectiveness of search campaigns.  Furthermore, by integrating post-search with banner advertising, you will be able to recognize how search and banner messages combine to effective solidify messages and have the same impact that can be measured with the same metrics described above.  You can go hog wild!  But most importantly you can measure and determine how to better allocate media spend.  If search works for you, you will know why and how.  You will come to recognize how to compliment it with banner advertising. 


 


Last thing.  When you use first party ad serving, the cookie that you tag a browser with helps you to measure advertising audience.  This means that when you advertise on Yahoo and you buy 1 M impressions, you will know exactly what % of that audience is comprised of existing customers and what % of that audience is comprised of people who have not been to your site before (or who have recently cleared out their cookie file). 


 


What about search?  The same holds true.  Any of your customers who carry your first party cookie will also be measurable.  If someone searches on a term and clicks through to your web site, and they are an existing customer already, they will be measured as an existing customer (their customer segment type will be measured) and you will know what % of the search audience you capture is already comprised of existing customers.  Interesting tidbit.  How much money do you spend with search recapturing recurring revenue?


 


Reactionary with Insight.

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When Will We Deliver On The Promise, Deliverying the Right Ad At the Right Time


In MediaPost’s Online Spin, Dave Morgan wrote When Will We Deliver On The Promise?.  He discussed a question that he received while sitting on a panel at the  DLD (Digital, Life, Design) conference in Munich. 



Walt Mossberg, personal technology columnist for The Wall Street Journal wanted to know: “When will the online advertising industry actually deliver on its outstanding promise of the last decade to present the right ad to the right person at the right time? When will we finally deliver a consumer experience where the vast majority of ads that we deliver are meaningful, and not junk and clutter on Web pages?”


Dave’s observation was that “the online ad industry is always touting its extraordinary technical capabilities to target relevant ads … [but] we are still giving consumers a terrible experience when it comes to the vast majority of ads that we place on their Web pages.”



Dave’s article argued the evolution of the industry and compared it to the evolution of print and broadcast.  But what he failed to do was point out the capabilities in the industry that do deliver on the promise of delivering the right ad to the right person at the right time.  As the CEO of TACODA, I was surprised not to hear him plug it, but then again his insight expands beyond self-promotion and so it was healthy to see him stay on topic.  Regardless, here is the response that I posted on his blog:

Solid arguments Dave, and a very positive outlook. I think to see the conformity trend makes a lot of sense. But I also think that repurposing existing technologies presents the opportunity to put the right ad in front of the right person now. I don’t know how you answered Walk Mossberg’s question, but he is not alone in that inquiry. It is a popular question and one that I know TACODA aims to answer with BT. Putting the right ad in front of the right person at the right time is the golden nugget. Knowing how to recognize the right person is the major task. BT does it with the prospecting of anonymous individuals as we know. Customer re-targeting can establish the same capability through first party ad serving as I have argued in the past. Together these two technologies can enable an advertiser to put the right message in front of prospects and customers while advertising on the web in real-time. The composition of the advertising audience can be measured so that customers no longer get re-prospected with promotional messages and customers get driven towward recurring revenue-minded actions. Putting the right message in front of the right person at the right time makes the advertising relevant.

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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