The Marketing Kwan

"Love, respect, community and money" tied into one word. That is what Rod Tidwell was describing to Tom Cruise's character in the movie "Jerry Maguire" when he declared that he was after the "Kwan."  A favorite word of mine, it sums up what marketers have always been in search of in reaching the right "audience" with their message.  Marketers want to reach those users who have love and respect for their products, will build community around their brand -- and, of course, have money to complete the purchase.

The search for the Kwan is closer than it has ever been based on some of advancements in the online advertising space this past year.  One of the first shifts was watching audience measurement firms implement direct measurement techniques to augment their panel research methodology. This started the narrowing of the "field" with more precise data collection to have a more accurate measure of audience across the media properties that an advertiser is targeting. The "third party" view across the Internet ecosystem is an interesting position to be in, as AM firms can see users' affinity for sites, clustering of demos and conversion activities. This same "view" has spawned some measurement firms to shift to an ad targeting business model based on the measurement foundation that they have already established.



Shift two was the rise of the data aggregators who gather metadata about users from various collection points to assist in the hyper-targeting of display advertising to the targeted audience. Examples of data collection include dropping exchange pixels upon site abandonment, site conversion or based on a user meeting a specific audience criteria based on data mined from their social profile. Aggregation of data to build audience profiles for behavioral targeting is a highly debated topic right now that I will not digress to here, but it's one that, as a marketer, you should follow.

The importance of ad networks and exchanges this past year is not a shift, but merely an elevated prominence in the display advertising food chain, as data aggregators have assisted in the injection of data to further refine the targeting of the ad impression. The premise of the exchange traditionally has been a supply-side way of publishers filling their remnant inventory on their Web sites in order to maximize revenue.  The shift to demand side delivery based on finding the "user" across the publisher networks is a power shift (I use the word lightly) back to the advertiser, as they can minimize advertising spend waste by reaching their targeted audience in a more efficient manner.  The publisher no longer just delivers the impression space, but has to serve up the right audience member when the call to the ad exchange is made.

So what does this mean for the marketer in search of the Kwan? The metrics that you've always used to measure the efficacy of your campaigns and site conversions don't change at all.  However, the ability to lift your click-through rates and minimize your cost per acquisition through more precise audience targeting is a tool in your marketing toolbox that should not go unused. The ability to find your target audience at the ad impression level is not just a myth anymore, but a reality that advertisers should be testing and measuring as they strive to manage their marketing spend and ROI.

3 comments about "The Marketing Kwan".
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  1. David Jennings from eVenues, January 8, 2010 at 1:44 p.m.

    You left me hanging with this article. Who's caught on? What impacts have they had? What tool providers are helping? You provide no evidence to your opinion...that would constitute a low grade here; Jerry Maguire is your only evidence link.

  2. David Carter from Socialtality, January 8, 2010 at 1:46 p.m.

    Great article. I've written something very similar to this but slightly different on a few points - I've traced the rise from tactical monitoring to strategic listening to intelligence gathering. And I agree on that spectrum, as many enter the intelligence gathering phase, the kwan is ever so close or even already in-hand.

    Thought you're readers might like to take a look at a slightly different perspective:

  3. Jodi Mcdermott from comScore, January 8, 2010 at 1:55 p.m.

    Hi David,

    Point taken. Advertisers are shifting the way that they buy online advertising from simply identifying their target audience via audience planning tools (like Quantcast and comScore's MediaMetrix 360) to integrating data for real-time serving of the ad impression. Buying on the ad network used to merely be the mechanism for acquiring low CPM remnant inventory volume. Today, that same remnant inventory is going at a higher CPM due to the ability to target the user via data.

    Examples of data providers include Blue Kai, IXI Corp, Targus Info and Exelate. Ad exchanges include RMX and AdEx.

    I can't name advertisers specifically here, but I can say that I am familiar with large telecom carriers, hotel changes and direct marketers who are leveraging data to target down to the user level when buying ad impressions on the ad exchanges.

    The bottom line impact is the ability to minimize wasted impressions within your ad campaign which equates to increased CPA, higher CTR and in some cases minimized spend on the overall campaign.

    Tying the identification of audience and the integration of data to target the impression to that specific user was the point I was trying to drive across.

    I appreciate your candid feedback.


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