Computer Retailer Gets 92% ROI On Behavior-Targeted Data

Marketers have begun to realize that paying more for targeted ads supported by behavioral data can gain higher return on investments., formally CPM Advisors, along with data company eXelate, will share results Monday from an ad campaign that yielded 92% ROI on a data-targeted campaign. The data and non-data campaigns used the same ad inventory and site.'s advertising platform, CPMatic, provides an interface to inventory on ad exchanges, publishers and ad networks based by data from eXelate and others such as BlueKai, AlmondNet and TargusInfo. Partners also include Yahoo's Rightmedia, Google's DoubleClick and AdWords, AdX 2.0, Facebook, AOL, Rubicon Project, Pubmatic, OpenX, AdBrite, AdMeld and others.

For several months,'s unnamed computer retailer had access to the CPMatic platform supported by eXelate's data across multiple media exchanges. The campaign ran from Jan. 1, 2010 through March 15. The increase in the 92% ROI includes the cost of the data and media. The shopping data and frequency optimization led to long-term advertising results for the client.



Rob Leathern, chief executive officer at, attributes the "significant" increase to data from eXelate, as well the as the ability to test lots of different audience segments quickly. "In the online ad space, this enables you to test what works and what doesn't," he says. "We were able to test a variety of data types, placements, and frequency caps. The system determined what worked best for the computer retailer."

Advertisers now have access to tap into data defining identity, interest and purchase intent on more than 150 million monthly U.S. users across multiple media exchanges and receive centralized billing and analytics on related to eXelate data.

"We have done data tests where the data hasn't worked," Leathern says. "You have to buy enough media and data that you know what works. If you know the data's good you use it to determine good media. It's about isolating the variables."

Working with eXelate gives clients the ability to test a revenue share model, since the segments already have been created. There's no need to create segments by buying cookie placements and building the campaign. Having the ability to work on a model based on revenue share as a percentage of media versus paying upfront CPM also can help. It allows clients to scale the cost of the data along with the cost of the media. Leathern says this can make some campaigns successful that might not have otherwise had the chance.

The computer retailer's ads sold laptops, notebooks and desktops. The ads, which ran from January through March, were not related to after- holiday sales. The eXelate data related to computers, but Leathern says's clients have seen success in other categories, too. has seen success in targeting ads to new parents and moms, along with the more standard audience segments, such as travel and automotive.

Leathern says the industry has challenges to overcome. "There's a lot of work to be done in the media space to understand and test valuable data," he says. "Fragmentation is another challenge. There's a lot of data, but you need companies need a systematic way to reach marketing goals."

4 comments about "Computer Retailer Gets 92% ROI On Behavior-Targeted Data".
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  1. Robert Leathern from, Inc., March 29, 2010 at 9:39 a.m.

    Just a quick comment here is we changed the name of the company from CPM Advisors to last week - the platform for buying media and data is at - and we set up a video that explains to buyers how to use it for buying eXelate data segments at

  2. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein, March 29, 2010 at 6:07 p.m.

    I can see why you'd want to distance yourself from the CPM association.

  3. Rebecca Daneault from Independent, March 29, 2010 at 8:38 p.m.

    Great case study, but I'm not surprised at all. Retargeting is nothing new and can produce amazing results getting "the ones that got away" and drawing them back in. Just look at the fact that Google is now employing this technique with their AdWords campaign - it just validates how affective it is. Thought I might also add some interesting retargeting tips as well, as they may be useful to other readers: Thanks!

  4. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein, March 30, 2010 at 10:58 a.m.

    Let me try to explain why I believe behavioral targeting is a fool's errand; how and why it can never facilitate scalable reach; and why 92% of nothing is nothing.

    First of all, data of any kind obtained in the rear-view mirror by design tells us where we've been, not where we're going. Just because the road has been straight for the last mile doesn't mean there isn't a curve up ahead, and only a total idiot with assume otherwise. The lesson here? Keep your eyes on the road ahead and expect the unexpected.

    Secondly, targeting of any kind focuses on customers, not prospects, and good advertising speaks to -or at least should speak to - prospects first. And micro targeting only further shrinks the prospect universe and further diminishes the opportunity to leverage the economy of scale.

    Take, for instance, an ad for a new Honda Civic. Targeting shared behavior in Civic buyers only tells you something you already know. It simply doesn't speak to what could be - or, more importantly, what you can influence. Doesn't it make more sense to let your message play out across a broad audience spectrum that includes the target audience and all of the prospects?

    At the end of the day, the only scalable audience opportunity are your prospects, not your customers. But the digerati is too busy carrying coal to Newcastle.

    I often refer to what may be the most sage marketing advice ever offered in an advertising campaign, which speaks to the folly of trying to legislate consumer taste (which is exactly what behavioral targeting attempts in vain to achieve): Starkist doesn't want tunas with good taste, Starkist wants tunas that taste good.

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