Placeable Webinar With AAA: How Targeted Local Marketing Drives Success

10Placeable CEO and AAA Carolinas Head of Digital Marketing Discuss How National Brands Can Boost Marketing Success

Placeable and AAA Carolinas are joining together for a webinar about the impact of local marketing on the success of national brands. It will provide a firsthand look at how AAA Carolinas implemented a local digital marketing strategy that drove an 816% year-over-year increase in organic web visits—and a 2,344% increase in mobile traffic.

The webinar will feature Placeable CEO, Ari Kaufman, and Head of Digital Marketing at AAA Carolinas, Heather McBrien, who will look at how Placeable’s proven local digital strategies benefited the AAA club. The successfully executed program not only increased web traffic, but also improved the quality of those visits—translating into greater revenue for AAA’s insurance, travel and automotive business lines.

What: “Act Like a Local: How AAA Carolinas and Placeable Teamed Up For Local Success” Webinar

Who: Placeable and AAA Carolinas

When: Tuesday, August 26 at 1:00 p.m. EDT

Where: Register here

“Local marketing has a tremendous impact, but many brands are still struggling to create and implement an effective strategy,” said Ari Kaufman, CEO, Placeable. “We are excited to demonstrate how national brands can become locally competitive with the right partners, tools and strategy.”

For more information or to register, click here.

Act Like a Local – Enterprise Advertiser Wins

Your investments in branding and national advertising will only be impactful if customers can consistently find you online and at your doorstep.  Too often brand campaigns result in missed opportunities, frustrated customers and lost trust in the brand because of bad location data and missing information.  To compete successfully in local markets—and to avoid wasting marketing resources—national advertisers must adapt their digital marketing strategies to better align with consumer search behaviors, emerging geo-location technologies and competitive imperatives.

While consumers do seek opinions on brands from friends, family or reviews, when they want a specific product, page or brand web site they use natural search.  In fact, according to Forester Research, more than half of all consumers use natural search when they are looking for a product, service or brand.

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Accepting the BIAKelsey GOLOCAL Award

go-local-logo-agendaThis past week, at The BIAKelsey Leading in Local conference in Atlanta, Kelsey distributed its new GOLOCAL awards in three categories – Sales/ Revenue, Innovation and Strategic use of digital marketing.  Nearly forty entrants were considered for these three categories and three finalists in each category were brought to Atlanta for the announcement of the winners.

Placeable was a finalist in the Strategic use of digital marketing for the successful partnership with AAA CarolinasHeather Mcbrien of AAA Carolinas and I represented the team and I presented an overview of what we had accomplished together to the audience, which included empowering AAA Carolinas to emerge as a fierce competitor in their local markets across all three of their primary business units (car care, travel and insurance).  These results included:

  • Indexing some 1200 authoritative local landing pages for 230 locations
  • Generating 800% increase in organic traffic
  • Producing 35K new visitors per month
  • 25% conversion rate on all unique visits to phone calls, registrations and appointments

Included in Heather’s description of some of the softer benefits that have been generated by our campaigns together was that of the decrease in the number of tire kickers that have been generated.  Specifically, Heather described that the quality of leads generated are now far more qualified and in active transaction mode as opposed to window-shopping. Continue reading

Local Retailers Win When They Optimize for Local Search

modifiedA related article entitled “Local Search Marketing, Accuracy Trumps Distribution” may be viewed on CMO.com

Retail success has long been largely dependent on physical location. Selecting commercial space requires consideration of many factors including demographics, socio-economics, competitive proximity, traffic patterns and more.  Multi-location retailers apply a great deal of strategy when opening a store.  Mall retailers will swap locations when premium space becomes available so that they are more visible to consumers passing by.

Today, however, location means more than capturing the passer-by.  Location also means being found by the digital searcher.  70% of consumers research local products and services on a desktop and then use their mobile device to get where they want to go.  A consumer that has decided to visit your store is in buy-mode.  Will they find you?  Did you take steps to ensure that a consumer would know that you changed locations in the mall?  Will your store be located where the “X” marked the spot?  Is the premium location really premium if a consumer shows up at the doorstep of another business instead of yours?  How much revenue will you miss out on?

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Unlock the power of location data (part IV – sample case study)

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In August of this year, LocationInsight rebranded as Placeable to strategically align the mission of the company with driving enterprise advertisers to become placeable. Following suit, we have released several case studies that demonstrate the results that enterprise advertisers have experienced after becoming placeable.

The third case study example is a global financial transaction company with an inadequate conversion rate of online to offline customers at the location. With more than a half-million locations, this was a significant problem. Continue reading

Unlock the power of location data (part I)

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Location information has the potential to be a powerful strategic asset for digital marketers. Especially for enterprise advertisers with many locations that are trying to compete on the local level.

Web maps, web site store locators and mobile results are strong drivers of consumers to a business location. Accurate location information is obviously essential to the effectiveness of these drivers. Social networks, directories and search engines (i.e., SEO) are also very valuable delivery agents of consumers. Establishing data continuity and maintaining consistency of location information across these channels can make all the difference between a strong consumer brand experience and a sour one. Continue reading

Time to Make Dirty Data Placeable

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The December 2012 Cost of Bad Location Data Report from Yext shared that 43% of business listings are wrong and 14% are just plain missing. As a result, US businesses lose over $10B in sales every year. Each and every day, people look for places on Google Maps and are directed to the wrong location. This poor user experience translates into lost revenue for stores

Local search marketing for location-based advertisers drives people from online to the physical store, but the process of optimizing for local search is not simple. There are many key influencers that impact the performance of location-based brands in local search, especially when you consider web, mobile and social to all be part of the equation. Not only do consumers sit at a desk and conduct local searches, they do it on mobile devices. They do it within social networks like Facebook or on Foursquare. Local search is conducted directly on maps and through locators. IYP’s are a channel for local search as well. The value of these channels to a consumer may be directly attributed to the accuracy of the information provided to them. Continue reading

Improve Your Stats, Don’t Over Analyze, Make Decisions and Execute


WOW!  Range Online Media’s President, Misty Locke’s article in iMedia Connection today is fantastic.  Think Like a Coach to Improve Your Stats – Bravo!  It’s a must read.  Rarely do you find someone who can lay it all out there in a way that an advertiser might actually understand.  I would say the only thing wrong is that Dawn Anafuso didn’t put it at the top of the home page on iMedia Connection or run it for two days so that it gets higher readership!


 


Misty talks about the integration of campaign mediums but she talks about the use of data and the cross channel analysis of a campaign to figure out how the impact of one channel may be affecting the response rate of another.  


 


Last year David Smith (www.mediasmith.com) challenged the industry to create a digital dashboard of all of his advertising channels so that he could easily see the performance of all of his campaigns.  I remember this article, not just because iMediaConnection ran it again in there string of reruns during the holidays, but because I called David and talked with him about his challenge and needs.


 


TruEffect built an ad server, TruAdvertiser.xls™ that functions entirely within Microsoft Excel.  A user manages planning, proposals, creative, scheduling, trafficking, optimization and reporting all from within Microsoft Excel.  <IMG src="/images/44768-40810/CreativeDialog.jpg”>  <IMG src="/images/44768-40810/CampaignReportView2___02.jpg”>
It is a thin-client application that connects over the web to the ad server infrastructure at TruEffect and allows an agency or advertiser complete access to all of the expected advanced features of an ad server right from their desktop.  As a Microsoft Office-integrated solution, all of the reporting data streams in XML right into pivot tables and graphs and charts that a user formats one time.  They build their reports and then simply refresh whenever they want the updated data, never having to reformat a report again.


 


What’s the point of this plug?


 


David and I talked about how we could use TruAdvertiser.xls as a platform for his multi-channel dashboard.  It is desktop-based and is highly flexible when it comes to reporting capabilities.  Our product roadmap at the time already included integration with search engines like Google, MSN and Yahoo so not only would he have the ad server reports but the Google and Overture reports too for cross-analysis.  Additionally we were working with accounting integration so that he would be able to have that benefit too.  Email marketing data could easily be ported in as could other XML-driven feeds.  But in the end it represented a lot of custom work and David was going down the path of building something on his own. 


 


Back to Misty’s fabulous article (I really liked it).  Misty inspires one to dive in with both feet and, well if not careful, eyes closed.  Cross-channel reporting comes in many different forms.  There is realistically no platform for seeing every channel in a consolidated format and no perfect way to measure the impact of print on email or walk-ins or direct mail on view-thrus (now there is two hops, a skip and a jump).  You can try but at some point you have to allow things to fall into separate buckets and make assumptions.


 


But what is possible is great consolidation of online data.  I have been talking about acquisition marketing data – banners, search and email – with site analytics and will talk about it more.  Behavioral targeting’s next generation of customer re-targeting with DirectServe or first party ad serving can fully integrate data that could never be captured before, like measuring the composition of an advertising audience.  Now you can know what % of your audience represents existing customers!


 


Make sure that your technology allows you to get three dimensional views into the performance of your campaigns.  Misty is encouraging you to get aggressive and be proactive.  Data builds knowledge and that knowledge will make your decision-making powerful.  Since my conversations with David, we have proven integration capabilities with a number of unique platforms and data sources.  Other companies are doing it too.  Find a way to pull together at least your interactive channels so that you can see how they come together. 


 


If you acquire someone through search and they land on a web page and register, make sure that your advertiser cookies that individual so that when you encounter them again you can re-target them as an existing customer through first party ad serving and message to them with relevance to their previous search behavior and customer preferences to maximize future response rates.  You can do this stuff! 


 


Behavioral targeting will get you better prospects.  Pull that data into a consolidated interface – use XML feeds and build a data repository if you have to or call me and I will point you in the right direction.


 


Your email marketing will spew out ton’s of response rate data that can be easily ported into a consolidated interface.


 


I already covered search.


 


And ad serving data is clear.


 


Get a consolidated view as to how you acquire people, and then make sure that you are tagging them – or that your clients are tagging them – so that you can continue to target them as customers on an ongoing basis.  The worst thing you can do is to waste money re-prospecting and not getting credit for someone who you drove in twice.  If an existing customer clicks on a banner and comes to a site, you will not be getting credit for that customer’s return.  You could if you were re-targeting.  And if they click on a search term and land on the customer’s web page, you could be site-based targeting using first-party ad serving to re-target and product-promote based on preference and known behavior.


 


Get the data, consolidate it and then make decisions.  But most of all, deploy technologies that will enable you to effectively use the data to become strategic in your decision making and execution.  The end-game purpose is campaign improvement.  My focus is to show that the technology is there to do it.

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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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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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The Ideal Online Advertising Campaign, Direct Response with Behavioral Customer Re-Targeting. How to Get a Greater Share of Your Advertiser’s Budget


Okay, so it’s a mouthful.  But all of my previous posts which have distinguished customer re-targeting from behavioral targeting, redefined BT as event-based targeting and attempted to diffuse the FTC complaint have led to this.  I am going to describe the workflow that puts first party ad serving, customer re-targeting and direct response online advertising into practice.  Re-targeting generates recurring revenue, decreases the CPA of online advertising campaigns and demonstrates significant reasons for increasing the online advertising spend by allocating direct marketing budgets to re-targeting initiatives.


 


The first step happens outside the realm of the online advertising campaign.  It takes place before the planning or strategy sessions or even before the budget is set.  The first step is first-party cookie writing.  As I described in my last post, How Does Re-Targeting Work? an advertiser has to segment its existing audience and set cookies to distinguish users for the re-targeting process.  


 


This sounds complicated but most often it is already done.  A retailer like an LL Bean will have already done this.  It knows who its customers are and has modeled them out by various types.  Amazon.com has you pegged by preferences.  Yahoo has you cookied if you maintain your stock portfolio on their web site so that they can recognize you when you return.  Forget about Microsoft!  Your bank does it too.  Pretty much anyone that you interact with online, with whom you have identified yourself, sets a cookie to further classify you.  Classification helps a site recognize you when you return so you don’t have to login, they pre-populate the user field, they dynamically serve content to you that is more suitable to your preferences, they optimize your experience so that your time is not wasted.  Are being tracked?  Yes but it is not invasive.


 


But there are other reasons to set first party cookies as well.  If you are going through a multi-step registration or application process, a first-party cookie can be set at each stage to indicate how far you have gone in the process.  That way if you leave, and later return, you can be ear-marked and taken back to where you left off.


 


So the first-party cookie writing process has to be in effect and, depending on the universe to be targeted, the cookie must be propagated out on to the Internet so that it may be effectively recognized through the re-targeting campaign.  This is usually about a 30-day lead time on the ad campaign. 


 


The traditional media planning process has to be conducted.  Sites have to be selected, negotiated and buys need to be made.  That’s all good.


 


Then there is the strategic media planning portion.  Unlike with traditional online advertising – and/or Direct Response online advertising – it is no longer just about prospecting, branding, messaging and generating leads and opportunities.  Re-targeting introduces an order of magnitude of complexity to the planning process because you have to think about messaging to existing customers in addition to the traditional planning you do involving prospecting.


 


Think for a minute about a three-month campaign that involves 10 core sites.  You renew on each site each month because those sites consistently perform well.  Popular sites get repeat visits.  Therefore if a site consistently generates strong leads for you, your previously acquired leads are also returning to those sites.  But while you are continuing to advertise there you are paying to re-prospect your previously acquired leads at the same time.  A portion of your message is falling on deaf ears.  Existing customers, previously acquired leads that bailed on you and people that have seen all of your ads and have never responded continue to see your ads over time.  You pay to continue to re-prospect them.  What is the composition of that audience?  The longer you advertise there, the higher it gets.  Maybe its starts off at 5% but it grows and could become 25% or higher over a few short months.


 


So with re-targeting you now have the opportunity to say something to your previously acquired leads, your customers and any audience that you can identify. 


 


For the sake of an example, and as we usually do with most of our DirectServe clients at TruEffect when they first start working with re-targeting, let’s just say that you create three segment types of a known audience for re-targeting.


 



  1. Frequent shopper (weekly)
  2. Moderate shopper (monthly)
  3. One-time shopper

 


So in addition to the campaign planning that will take place for acquiring new leads, which may have a number of messaging strategies and associated creative, we now must also do the same for each of these three audiences.  Multiple messages and creative must be planned and tested for optimization throughout the campaign to maximize response.


 


When the campaign is finally setup there will be four simultaneous campaigns going on across the same set of inventory.  The three segment types listed above, plus the prospecting type for unknown users who are not already carrying the advertiser’s first party cookie.  If you decide to use behavioral targeting to pinpoint events to drive more specific prospects you may have additional campaigns as well.


 


What will you see when you execute on a campaign with re-targeting?


 


(1) Audience composition


 


First of all, and for the first time, you will be able to measure the percent of your advertising audience composition.  You will now know who of the people that you are showing banners to are existing customers and who are prospects.  Not only that, but you will know what kinds of customers they are.  Ads will be displayed according to the cookies that exist.  So cookie type #1 (Frequency Shopper) will see creative group #1 (Targeting Frequent Shoppers) and so on.  And your impression reports will tell you not only how many times each banner was played but based on banner plays, what percent of your advertising audience is comprised of each type of person.  Overall, what percent of your advertising audience is comprised of existing customers vs. non-customers across every web site and network that you advertise on will become clear. 


 


This is very compelling information as the longer you advertise, audience composition may become a factor that impacts your media buying decisions.


 


(2) Re-target vs. Non-Re-Target Click-thru Rate


 


You will be able to distinguish the click-thru rate results of each customer segment type as well as prospect types.  What you will find is that like with your traditional online advertising campaign, you will be able to optimize click-thrus over time.  You will also be able to do the same with your re-targeting.  At TruEffect, we have consistently found re-targeting tends to have an incrementally higher click-thru rate than prospecting response rates.  If you think about this, it is pretty logical.  You are messaging offers to existing customers to drive repeat business.  It is a lot easier to get an existing customer to come back and do something than it is to get a new customer.  So the click-thru rate comparison will be a strong indication of re-targeting success.


 


(3) Post-Click Results of Re-targeting vs. Non-Re-Target


 


Here is where things really matter.  If the direct response campaign has a post-click success metric that is about generating a sale or action, then revenue is the success metric and the CPA is calculated based on that amount.  Generating recurring revenue or generating new revenue hits the cash flow statement the same way.  But when you can take your online advertising campaign and convert a portion of it into a customer penetration campaign you will please a lot of people in the marketing department at the advertiser. 


 


Dollars spent re-prospecting a deaf audience will now go towards driving recurring opportunities, cross-promoting and up-selling products and bringing customers back to the transaction cycle.  The CPA for the online advertising campaign will drop significantly because the revenue attainment of the campaign will go up incrementally. 


 


Is it a lot of work?  It takes brain power to figure out what you are going to say to three different customer segment types.  It takes strategic thinking to come up with multiple messaging strategies to motivate customers to re-transact.  But marketers do this everyday.  Direct Marketing is a huge initiative.  And the internet is already a massive DM medium.  Re-targeting introduces DM to online advertising and offers the opportunity to expand campaign budgets exponentially.  Think about that as an agency.  If you can prove to an advertiser that you can drive recurring revenue, you can demonstrate that you should have a greater share of the direct marketing budget!


 


 

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Make Your Media Buy More Effective – But How?

Brad Bender published an article to in iMedia Connection entitled: “Make your Media Buy more Effective” that unfortunately gets a C+.  Brad starts off real strong as he is talking to advertisers about expecting more out of publishers for the dollars you spend, but he fails to give us the practical tools or insight to empower us to do that.

Brad talks about the fact that publishers have optimization capabilities – capabilities that should make our campaigns more effective.  Brad is the VP of Optimization Solutions at DoubleClick and yet he does not bother to share what those solutions are.  Presumably his role is associated with DART for Publishers (DFP) which is the ad serving platform that publishers use to manage the ad serving on their web sites. SO if anyone knows what a web site is capable of doing for advertisers, Brad should know it.

Brad talks to us about sharing the objectives of a campaign with publishers with the hope that the publishers will know how to better maximize the spend we make with them.  But unless our spend is significant how can we really expect that the publisher will put forth the effort.  Publishers work for themselves.  Their motivation is the bigger picture.  Sure they will optimize your campaign performance insomuch to assert that they can get your spend on the next campaign, but is that optimal?

I think that someone like Brad is in the unique position to share his insight with us about what a publisher is actually capable of doing.  Empower you as a buyer so that you can know what to ask for rather than telling you to share your needs with a publisher and see what they offer. 

The only take away that you can get from this article is that it is a sellers market and therefore if you can overcome that, you get power, and power will get you results.  So if smaller buyers band together to represent significant spend, they will get power in the buy – like a significant spender has.  Aggregators of spend.  Folks like
CPA Empire and Memolink work for direct response advertisers and buy in bulk to generate leads and acquisitions.  There are a lot of these bulk buyers out there.  Having stronger spend power is one way to force a publisher to pay attention to your campaign.  When Yahoo buys advertising; when AOL buys advertising; when American Express Buys advertising, publishers are responsive provided that the agencies that represent them know what they are asking for.

Buyer knowledge is key to a transaction.  A publisher is looking to secure your business, keep your business and then preserve high value inventory for the next client and repeat the process.  Optimization burns high value inventory and reduces revenue potential.  So don’t expect it to be volunteered.  You will have to know what you are asking for.

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