Offline branding buys have long centered on gaining access to the greatest number of eyeballs. But with digital’s more precise targeting ability has come a greater emphasis on delivering the right message to the right audience.
In December 2011, 61% of US advertisers and agencies surveyed by ValueClick Media said audience targeting was the most important type of targeting for online marketing campaigns, followed closely by demographic targeting (59%) and contextual targeting (57%).
Similarly, publisher-solutions provider Maxifier found US ad agencies it queried in Q4 2011 were most concerned with audience targeting capabilities when measuring a publisher’s effectiveness in disseminating their brand-awareness campaigns.
Offline, content such as TV programming or print articles have long been used by advertisers as a proxy for finding the right demographic or audience. Online, however, buying display ads typically requires a trade-off between audience and context. Brand marketers, it seems, want the best of both.
May 2011 data from Collective and Advertiser Perceptions showed the equal importance of audience targeting and content targeting to US marketers when building online brand campaigns.
As more brand dollars migrate to digital, premium publishers and premium content owners are beginning to offer advertisers the benefits of targeting alongside brand security, something Legolas Media co-founder Yoav Arnstein said is absolutely essential.
“There’s a wealth of audience data that can be very relevant for brands and can drive a lot of efficiency and value, but the platforms need to allow brands to feel comfortable by knowing who they are buying from and of what quality the content will be,” said Arnstein in a February 2012 interview with eMarketer.
For now, many brands are analyzing data in-house through the use of data management platforms, or DMPs.
“Brands are creating their own DMPs to manage brand data in real time, rather than handing it off to someone else to manage or analyze once a quarter,” said Doug Bryan, vice president of analytics at digital advertising agency iCrossing in a February 2012 interview with eMarketer. “They’re managing these audience profiles either through an agency or themselves, so they can make real-time decisions about campaign targeting. Brands are getting clearer and clearer on the targets they really want.”