Due to comparatively low cost and high reach potential, the online sphere is an attractive place to engage potential customers. However, achieving transparency in digital advertising can be difficult. Knowing that you’ve identified the right audience and reached them online with your advertising is the difference between having a digital strategy and doing digital right.
Digital marketing has grown up from the days of “Is my audience online?” Today, it is about “Who is the right audience, how do I find them online, and did I reach them with my advertising?”
Before we dive in, let’s look at some facts:
- • There are 135 million households covering 323 million people in the U.S.
- • There are 27 million businesses, but only 7.5 million businesses with employees.
With this many unique users, it is essential for marketers to find a solution that is effective at identifying qualified impressions at a viable scale.
Who is my audience?
Let’s use the example of a financial institution looking to target perspective customers for refinancing their home. First, they need to identify what characteristics define their current audience. Some variables to consider might be:
- • Do they own a home?
- • How long ago did they purchase?
- • What is their home equity?
- • Do they have children?
- • How old are they?
- • Is their discretionary income in a certain range?
- • Do they own multiple properties?
The list of relevant variables can be endless, but a few of them will help create a three-dimensional profile of an ideal consumer. Once the institution has established who their audience is, the next hurdle is to identify who in the marketplace looks just like them. This is the key to identifying qualified prospects at scale.
How do I find my audience online?
There are options for taking an offline audience and finding them online — a process often referred to as ‘data onboarding‘.
Cookie-based onboarding functions by linking an offline contact to a hashed email or user account — identified on at least one specific browser on one specific device. The cookie was originally designed to make logging in easier and can be traced back nearly two decades. Although the scale of unique users has changed dramatically, much of existing advertising technology has been built around it.
Cookie onboarding does have its drawbacks. Cookies expire after a short period of time and need to be constantly updated and replaced. There can be many cookies assigned to an individual user, leading to rampant duplication within a campaign. In addition, cookies don’t work on mobile devices that are dependent on specific deviceIDs and applications to provide advertising access.
The only other methodology that addresses the scale and duplication issues is IP-based onboarding. IP addresses are universal and unique to Internet-connected devices and face no mobile restrictions. With IP onboarding an audience is digitally identified and the campaign can be deployed.
Did I reach the right audience with my advertising?
At this point in time, online campaigns are standard practice for most companies. What is still missing, however, is the ability to offer proof that an audience being targeted is actually the audience receiving advertising impressions.
As online advertising goes from test to standard practice, the same metrics that are relevant to email and direct mail should apply. Companies need to know that their dollars are being spent as efficiently and effectively as possible.
The best approach is to find an audience provider that can also provide matchback capabilities for tracking online audiences.
How do I pick a third party data provider?
Do some shopping and ask as many questions as you can — but be sure to focus on audience “Reach” and audience “Transparency”.
Reach is no more complicated than making sure the onboarding match rates to an offline audience are in the range of 70% to 90%. Anything less will hurt campaign ROI. Transparency into every step of the process — including counts, upfront audience profiling, and post-campaign audience analysis— should be available. Proof points, such as expertise in the industry you do work in and patents that support a company’s technology, can be a good indication of whether or not the service is valid.
The right audience data provider will significantly improve your online reach and performance lift. Best of all, there will even be real data to prove it.
Semcasting has been an industry leader in audience building, onboarding, and qualification since 2009. We built our own robust database of consumers and businesses, supported by a patented predictive modeling technology. Our IP onboarding and qualification technology — Smart Zones — is backed by an initial patent granted in 2014 and a continuation patent granted in 2016 for device analytics and attribution in support of the Internet of Things. Semcasting’s Smart Zones technology is unique in that it allows for far more granular onboarding and targeting when compared to other IP-Geo services — being several thousand times more accurate than a zip-code on average.