Six things you need to know to get more bang for your digital targeting buck

Digital campaigns can Chris Smithbe much more effective if you know something about the off-line lives of your targets says Chris Smith, in a piece that first appeared in Encore.

Marketers are always looking to get more bang for our marketing buck yet when it comes to digital campaigning, targeting focuses primarily on the shallow information pool of online search habits and content consumption. Often we forget about the most important aspect – the person behind the mouse.

To turbocharge online engagement, it’s important to delve into the offline world to understand the online visitor. While it’s easy to apply a blanket rule and say that all information matters, some traits, behaviours and attitudes deliver more value from a targeting point of view. The following six insights highlight key pieces of offline information and the value they can deliver for digital campaign efficacy.

1. Speak the ‘native’ language

It’s no secret: generational differences influence both preferences and priorities as well as how consumers view and digest information. By knowing a visitor’s generation, marketers can optimise dynamic content and page design to fit their mindset.

Our youth generation, the first to be plugged in to electronic media from birth, are literally wired differently. The brains of these digital natives show different patterns of neurological activity when consuming information. Able to absorb multiple streams of information with hyper-speed, the breadth and speed of their search activity and the type of information they find engaging differs vastly to that of other generations.

Digital natives prefer images ahead of text. They use images to decide if text is worthy. They prefer to seek more information later than face a content heavy page first. They are also adept at tuning out overt advertising with their online ad response rates less than one 20th of baby boomers. So graphic-heavy content snippets and native advertising provide the buffet style browsing experience that engages digital natives, while a traditional text-based structure has more cut through for an older demographic.

2. Leverage life stage to discover purchase intent 

Certain life stages have a transformative impact creating a seismic shift in values, needs and priorities. Key transitions include leaving home, entering or reentering the workforce, first home purchase, impending birth of a child or retirement. More than targeting life stage per se, being able to identify when someone is in transition is hugely valuable – their context is in flux, they have demand for new categories and are open to conversation with brands. Life stage transition triggers are best identified in the offline world through individual or household level demographic factors. These ‘hard facts’ allow credible identification of transition points. A major car manufacturer recently used offline insights to identify when consumers were likely to be ‘in market’ for a new car. By exploring how behavioural insights correlate to car purchases, we found that new car purchases rose by an average of 41 per cent in the six to 12 weeks after the sale of a property. Using this insight to target property vendors in the one to two months post-settlement resulted in uplift in new car sales for the manufacturer.

3. Capacity to pay matters as much as purchase intent

Can they afford the dream? It is difficult to accurately separate out aspirational online search from true purchase intent. Whether an online visitor is actually cashed up and in market or just vicariously browsing cannot be accurately ascertained through anonymous online behaviour, but can – and often is – very accurately identified for ‘real world’ offline identities.

4. General location is informative 

Motivating consumers to part with basic and non-personal information can allow key traits to be determined without seeming invasive. Simply asking for a postcode can provide strong indications of general characteristics using geodemographic principles.

A digital marketing company seeking to increase the breadth and depth of their online behavioural targeting capabilities believed they’d be hampered because they held only postcode level data. However, working with the company, we were able to unlock distinct socio economic, life stage and consumption differences between postcodes. This allowed the company to significantly enrich the number of targeting parameters they offered to clients which was sufficient to contribute strongly to campaign optimisation.

5. Neighbourhood level provides richer detail

Geodemographic data becomes much more powerful when you drill down to neighbourhood level. Significant levels of demographic and social similarity can be identified within many urban neighbourhoods – the adage ‘birds of a feather flock together’ remains true. For example, neighbourhoods with a high proportion of owner occupiers are more likely to respond to home insurance offers than those who are largely renters. Australian marketers can safely and legitimately, within the parameters of privacy legislation, access financial attitudes, spending behaviours, socioeconomic profile, activities and interests at a neighbourhood level, and apply these insights to targeting any potential consumer group.

6. Decision cycle timing

It’s all about timing. When the consumer is in their decision cycle, the type of information they’re seeking will also influence how compelling or engaging they find various content, and how suited they are to being the audience for a display campaign. Are they actively seeking information and comparisons, or far down the purchase funnel and ready to buy? Additionally are they an online purchaser, or is online only a research channel? Pulling through information about their offline circumstances, modelled purchase intent predictions and actual offline engagement can improve the accuracy of inferences about purchase stage.

Merging data captured online with information on the enduring characteristics of the person behind the mouse can give digital marketers an edge. As we progress further with more advanced adtech solutions, the ability to tag, match and target online browsers in a holistic and meaningful way is becoming a credible option. Those who think holistically and aren’t afraid to jump in and leverage new technologies will have a first mover advantage – the ability to drive one-to-one dialogue and content personalisation based on who a visitor is, not just where they’ve been.

Chris Smith is the general manager of Inivio.

Issue_37_devicesThis feature first appeared in EncoreDownload it now on iPad, iPhone and Android tablet devices.



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