By Lindsey DiGiorgio
The marketing automation revolution is growing beyond digital this year.Digital media introduced the game-changing programmatic model for ad-buying, in which marketers win inventory by automatically bidding on it for specific audiences across channels. But traditional advertising is quickly catching up to this new approach that has been so widely adopted and championed across digital.
For example, the increasing digitization of TV ad campaigns has given brands the opportunity to target multiple audience segments that watch specific shows. As data increasingly converges with new automation technology, more inventory in all media formats is being sold through programmatic platforms. This offers an enormous opportunity for marketers to seamlessly build campaigns that are people-centric and span multiple channels, rather than channel-based and device-focused campaigns.
The truth is, we’re putting a device-focused view of the world behind us this year. In 2017, tying multiple devices to a single user will be the norm. As the industry continues to evolve, it will be possible for marketers to integrate and automate omni-channel campaigns from start to finish based on silo-busting audience insights and segments that are derived from location data. This evolution will also move everyone to unite around a single metric that can quickly and accurately measure the effectiveness of omni-channel advertising. There are three important ways that marketers can take advantage of these changes in this year:
1. Ensure data sets translate across the entire campaign lifecycleTruly taking advantage of an automated people-centric approach to advertising requires marketers to use comparable and matched data sets throughout the campaign lifecycle. Typically, brands will use one tool or vendor to understand campaign planning, another to handle targeting, a third to execute the media buys and maybe even more for measurement and analytics.
Marketers should continue to take advantage of the best solutions available in the marketplace, which often means taking an agnostic approach when it comes to targeting and measurement partners. But marketers should be equally careful that their audience data translates seamlessly and consistently.
In many cases, vendors have different definitions for what appears to be the same audience. For example, consider the “moms who shop at Walmart” audience. What qualifies someone as a Walmart shopper — visiting the store once a year or once a week? Are mothers with college-age children included in the same audience segment as those raising infants? The inconsistent audience definitions that can arise between the vendors planning the campaign, executing the media buy or measuring results can lead to misalignment and inaccurate measurement.
On the other hand, the more the industry moves toward people-centric profiles across different media landscapes, the less disparity we’ll see between different vendors’ data sets. As data sets become more integrated and are matched and layered, audiences become more corroborated and transferable, and the understanding of an individual profile increases.
2. Settle on an omni-channel metric for campaign effectivenessThe call for a universal ROI metric will grow louder as the adoption of people-centric campaigns across multiple channels continues to increase. While omni-channel marketing has become a priority for most brands, the advertising industry still needs to unite around one KPI that delivers an apples-to-apples comparison of campaign effectiveness between different channels. For digital ads, we currently have cost per acquisition, cost per view and clickthrough rate (i.e. CPA, CPV and CTR, along with many other industry acronyms), gross rating point (GRP) for TV ads, and a range of separate metrics for other channels. But it’s impossible to compare the value of 1,000 clicks on a digital ad with TV viewership rates.
As brands weigh their investment in different advertising channels, marketers will need a clear way to demonstrate the comparative effectiveness of channels — used individually and grouped together. Depending on the target audience and the brand, this will be more than just a requirement for approving marketing budgets, it’s also the only way that marketers can optimize the most effective channel mix for their unique message. Certain channels will be far more influential than others.
But marketers can’t get this insight until they settle on an omni-channel KPI that provides a true apples-to-apples comparison. It’s even more valuable if this unified, omni-channel KPI extends further down the path-to-purchase funnel than existing metrics.
3. Use location data for every stage of the campaignBecause a user’s device can be tied to other offline and online data sets, location data derived from mobile devices can be used throughout the campaign to optimize for effectiveness while also providing a consistent comparison metric for omni-channel marketing. Using location data, brands can tie campaigns across different channels — TV, digital display, mobile, etc. — to a single, people-centric measure of effectiveness: physical-world visitation. Measuring how many people saw an ad and how they were influenced to visit a store allows marketers to look much further down the path-to-purchase funnel than impressions, views or clicks.
Brands can leverage location-based insights to optimize marketing during the life of the campaign because it provides more real-time, granular insight than the traditional bottom-line metric of sales data. Unlike purchase data, increase in foot-traffic based on location data can immediately be tied to specific audience segments and media channels, allowing marketers to get a dynamic view of which strategies are most effective.
The context of location data can also help inform the content of creative campaigns, delivering messages that are uniquely tailored to consumers depending on where they are in the physical world (e.g. at a store, at home, at work) as well as their path along the customer journey and what media they have already been exposed to. All this can be exercised programmatically and traditionally, for targeting and measurement.
Location data will continue to make end-to-end campaign automation centered on individuals a powerful and effective tool for marketers in 2017. This year, marketers can unlock enormous efficiencies and greater insight by breaking down barriers between traditionally siloed parts of the campaign lifecycle and distribution channels. The key is ensuring they have the right data to support a people-centric campaign for any vendor or channel that reaches their target audience.
Catch up on my current posts along with industry articles