Webinar Recap: The Evolution of Audience Targeting and Today’s Audience-First Imperative

Yesterday, we hosted a webinar featuring TruSignal president, David Dowhan, who teamed up with interactive marketing analyst Joanna O’Connell of Forrester Research to present “Audience-Centric Campaign Strategy:  How Marketers Can Bring Their Own Audiences to the Media Buying Table.”

The purpose of the session was to provide participants with a greater understanding of how the world of audience targeting has evolved over the past decade, and how recent changes in digital media buying techniques have impacted campaign planning for both direct and brand marketers. Additionally, an imperative was built around the need to place audiences first in the online marketing realm, and how marketers can now create their own accurate, custom audiences and target their audience across many different media buys at large scale.

Joanna’s part of the discussion offered recent statistics that prove display advertising is both a massive, and rapidly-growing channel, for digital marketers – one expected to increase at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17% to $28 billion of 2017.  She noted however that when it comes to reaching the right audiences, many marketers are still relying on antiquated methods, tools, and processes. The following are some additional highlights from Joanna’s findings:

  • Reach to target audience and audience targeting capabilities are two of the most important things buyers are looking for in display partners.
  • However, many media plans today are still overloaded with programs that rely on old “spray and pray” methods to reach consumers.
  • Good new is, today, sophisticated, 1:1 customized targeting is now a reality!
  • Before you get started with any audience targeting strategy make sure to always start by clearly defining business objectives.
  • And don’t forget to ask insightful questions. Where does the data come from? What is the process for using the data? Where can I run media against the data, and at what scale?

Next, David expounded on these topics further by explaining how marketers can bring their own audiences to media buying table and the TruSignal approach. Here are several takeaways for how you can become an audience-centric marketer: 

  • Even with the best data, no campaign will truly be successful unless that data is fully aligned with the campaign’s objectives. It’s critical that marketers begin here before doing anything else. Which strategies are you using today? 
    • Conversion Strategies: Close Existing Demand (search, behavioral, retargeting)
    • Prospecting Strategies: Stimulate New Demand (contextual & demo targeting)
    • Branding Strategies: Build Future Demand (sponsorships)
  • Marketers today are doing a good job of using in-market data signals to find prospects for conversion campaigns. The challenge lies in finding the right people using profile data higher up the funnel for prospecting and branding campaigns.
  • And when it comes to using profile data to find your highest value prospects, demographics and pre-built clusters are useful, but alone they are an inefficient way of targeting the right prospects accurately and efficiently. 
  • A custom modeling approach that combines first-party data and many different sources of third-party data is the best way to create an audience that is accurate, scalable, portable, and effective. 

David shared a case study of a prospecting campaign for an education marketer that increased their enrollment rate by 32% by focusing on high quality prospects. He concluded the session by sharing results from a financial services client that reduced wasted impressions in a brand campaign by 80%. The client brought their TruSignal custom audience with them and reached more than 14,000,000 high LTV prospects in a media plan that included RTB, a portal, premium publishers, pre-roll video, and mobile.

Anna Haire

About Anna Haire

As director of marketing, Anna manages the execution of TruSignal’s marketing strategy including content and thought leadership, events, social media, lead generation and lead nurturing.
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