Commentary

What We've Learned From Nearly A Decade of Audience Buying

Conversations today focus heavily on how marketers can make better use of firs- and third-party data to reach consumers across their devices, in real-time, wherever and whenever they engage.

Using data to reach audiences in real-time has moved beyond just standard display ads and on to richer ad formats (native, social, video, etc.), the mobile Web, mobile applications and retailers’ Web sites. A decade ago we didn’t have nearly the number of advertising platforms available today, the mobile technology to effectively reach and engage consumers or the ability to combine first- and third-party data to reach people at scale. 

We’ve seen dramatic shifts in spending over the past ten years with new numbers on real time buying (RTB), which is now expected to reach more than $26 billion by 2020. We often forget where we started, how far we’ve come and what we’ve improved and learned along the way. 

Data is the Differentiator

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There are hundreds of companies on the LUMAscape, many of which have similar capabilities when it comes to buying audiences in real-time. Having demand side platform (DSP) capabilities and even a data management platform (DMP) is no longer a key differentiator. The real asset for any company actively reaching and influencing audiences in real-time comes from the types of data that they have access to and their ability to make it actionable.

Outside of the walled gardens like Twitter, Google, Facebook, and Amazon, few companies have access to a differentiated set of data and the scale and breadth of information to effectively engage people. It’s not enough to have great third-party data or a deep database of first-party information. We’ve learned that the right mix of data from search intent, to offline purchase behaviors, CRM information and on-site first-party data gives marketers the competitive edge and scale to drive performance.

Attribution Is More Complex Than Ever

In the early days of advertising on the internet, measurement was simple. Unlike TV, you could measure when someone engages with an ad through clicks. As technology has evolved, it didn’t take long for CTR and last click to become an inaccurate measure of performance. With more than a decade of last-touch/last-click and CTR, it’s proving to be harder than expected to break-free from this model.One of the biggest challenges across the marketing industry is achieving and implementing a proper attribution model, one that looks at multiple touch points across the buyer’s journey, including engagement on different devices and offline purchases. We’ve learned that much of the measurement we use today is not really giving us the best picture of our marketing spend and performance.

Real-Time Evolves With Buyer Trends

With the rise of real-time data feeds, marketers are now making information relevant to consumers across channels and throughout their buying journey. We can no longer look at real-time advertising in the form of search and display form an auction marketplace. People are beginning to expect marketing to be relevant where they engage. A study from MyBuys indicates that relevancy does have a positive impact on consumers.

Results show that 53% people surveyed in the MyBuys report said they purchase more when brands suggest products based on browsing or buying behaviors and forty-five percent of the 25-34 year old segment report being frustrated when onsite product recommendations do not change in real-time. MyBuys also saw a lift of 52.3% in the number of consumers who find retargeting helpful and/or expect it between 2013 and 2014. As consumer behaviors evolve, so will real-time marketing.

The next decade of marketing will be tightly linked with creating a relevant customer experience across channels and devices where people engage. As a result, we will learn to think well beyond buying audiences and shift our focus to marketing to people.

1 comment about "What We've Learned From Nearly A Decade of Audience Buying".
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  1. Paul Benjou from The Center for Media Management Strategies, August 6, 2015 at 11:47 a.m.

    Never forget that the freedom of choice should not be cast aside for the sake of data dependent targeting of ads and content to provide "relevance". 

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