Targeting can make or break your campaign; target the wrong person, or even target the right person but at the wrong time, and you won’t get the results you need. Worse, you’ll waste your media spend and fail to build out your top-of-funnel.
Fortunately, media buyers have excellent data options, including real-time data. For a detailed explanation of real-time data, see our blog post, Let’s Get Real—How Real-Time Data is Changing the Digital Advertising Game for the Better.
In a nutshell, real-time data is data that’s not pre-packaged (which can be stale). It also provides important privacy controls, such as the ability to provide consent or opt out of data sharing. In the end, real-time data can dramatically improve your targeting, optimization and measurement. Here are 5 ways that real-time data can help you calibrate your targeting strategy.
#1: Map Interest to Behavior
Key behavior indicators — page views, search, clicks and shares — are very strong signals of interest and intent.
A financial services company targeting consumers as they actively engage in researching financial products will drive better results for two reasons. First, they can target customers with a validated need for their product. Second, they can target users when their interest in the topic is high, and will be more open to product offers.
#2: Optimize Your Targeting Strategy
All campaigns begin with a hypothesis as to who the best audiences will be, along with the best channels to reach and engage them (e.g. eastcoast moms will be the biggest purchasers of this new product or the IT director will be an important influencer, but not the final decision maker).
But with each ad shown and each placement purchased, insights roll in. Are moms engaging as anticipated, or is there another cohort showing a stronger interest? Which channels deliver the best results? And more strategically, what are the specific behaviors that indicate a higher propensity to engage with an ad? These insights, derived from real-time behavior, will allow you to optimize your targeting strategy on a continuous basis.
#3: Test. Automate. Convert.
The right message is essential to all campaigns. Products have multiple features and benefits; how do you know which message resonates with each audience you plan to target in your company? This is where testing and automation come in.
You can test your messages based on numerous attributes, beginning with other interests a user may have as indicated by their real-time behavior. Let’s say you’re a CPG brand and you’re introducing a new line of organic coffees. If the ad gets a lot of interest from people who visit running or yoga sites, then you’ll know to target those consumers with messages that celebrate the joys of a healthy cup of coffee post workout.
Other consumers may have a keen interest in sustainable agriculture, and you can target them with a message about the coffee’s earth-friendly growing methods.
Once you see clear patterns emerge, you can automate a message sequence based on the type of consumer. Note, the ideal message and message sequence will evolve on a continuous basis. By using real-time data you can pick up on those evolutions quickly and automatically.
#4: Supercharge Your Analyzation and Optimization
In the old days of advertising, media teams had to wait until the end of the campaign in order to assess a campaign’s overall performance. Did the results meet the marketer’s expectations? Did the campaign uncover new pockets of demand? What did you discover about the consumers’ attitudes regarding the product category, specific product or a brand?
Programmatic advertising, fueled by real-time data, has collapsed the research-advertising-analysis cycle. In fact, programmatic advertising is a form of marketing research in that it allows you to see which markets, regions, channels or audience segments are responding most frequently, and concentrate your ad spend there.
And as mentioned above, it allows you to optimize in real time, and automatically drive campaign performance. Ad spend will be focused on users and channels that are actively engaging with content that’s relevant to the campaign’s offer.
#5: Pump Up Your Personalization Abilities
One-to-one personalization has always been the marketer’s dream. We might never get there completely, but we’re getting very close.
Let’s say you’re designing a campaign Health & Wellness client that has revamped its line of supplements. You can leverage real-time behavior data to create highly personalized targeting and messaging. For instance, you can target consumers who visit sites for expectant moms with ads for neonatal vitamins, and target consumers who read about organic food with ads for the brand’s organic probiotic supplements.
All of the above tactics — assessing interest, building segments, testing and automating interests, and analyzing performance — combine to enable personalization at scale.
Zeroing In On Precision and Efficiency
The evolution of how we harness data is changing at the speed of light, improving the precision of our targeting and the efficiency of our campaign dollars.
As automation, optimization and personalization reach new levels of sophistication, success will ultimately depend upon your ability to leverage the right data. Real-time data at scale is key in helping you hone in on the consumers most likely to engage with your campaign because they have a measurable interest in it.