News of the Day

By Adam Glantz   |   Posted at 6:23 am on October 15, 2010   |   No Comments

Agencies Tool Up for Data-Driven Media Buying

A recurring theme during New York’s Advertising Week last month was real-time, data-driven media buying, made possible through emerging technologies such as ad exchanges and demand-side platforms (DSPs.)

During a keynote speech delivered to an audience of online marketing professionals at the IAB Mixx event, Google executives said real-time transactions on its DoubleClick Exchange more than tripled in the past year, and predicted that at least 50 percent of all targeted online display advertising will be bought through real-time platforms by 2015.

However while these technologies afford advertisers greater targeting and media efficiencies, executives from companies selling data to inform such ad buys suggest agencies must invest more heavily in staff dedicated to the practice to help drive it forward.

During advertising week’s “Data Congress” event, numerous panelists and speakers from online ad data firms suggested a lack of agency understanding and resources could be hampering the growth of the practice. “Hire more math majors,” said Mark Zagorski, chief revenue officer for data provider Exelate, when asked how agencies can prepare for the shift towards data-driven media buying. “Agencies need to understand the science behind it, not just the art,” he said.

Scott Knoll, general manager of Aperture, agreed and said an opportunity exists for agencies with the right resources in place. “The agency role is going to become even more important. There’s more data to analyze and more opportunities,” he said. Knoll emphasized the need for more data-minded agency staff, stating, “The job is definitely becoming more complicated.”

Read More: ClickZ

10 Data Commandments

Data targeting can make all the difference in a successful online campaign. But it takes more than just data. Many factors influence whether you’re helping (or hurting) your campaign.

After years of running successful data targeting campaigns, we’ve compiled a list of interclick do’s and don’ts:

1. have clear goals
Whether you want to raise brand awareness, drive trial, or increase sales, you must establish clear goals to understand how data is working for you-and what its value is. This will allow you to drive your segmentation strategy while maximizing your campaign budget.

2. align inventory with care
You may have great targeting data, but are those audiences on the sites where your ads are running?¬† If you can’t put your ads in front of the audience, your data won’t help much.

3. remember that data quality can vary widely
A targeting audience may appear to work well in testing, but its performance can be highly variable with scale and over time. Always employ quality measurements for all data sources.

4. don’t think audience. think audiences
There’s rarely one publisher that can provide all the ad inventory a campaign requires. The same goes for data. Most campaigns benefit from a combination of audiences, providing a more rounded picture of consumers and scalability.

5. don’t assume that what works offline works online
Many advertisers assume that the target segments they use for TV, radio and print translate directly to online. This is often not true. You can hurt a campaign if you don’t shift your thinking to what works online.

6. think before adding each targeting parameter
It’s tempting to add multiple targeting parameters to a campaign. But remember, each targeting parameter limits your flexibility for optimization and inventory selection. Each parameter should be considered carefully and tested when possible.

7. remember that performance is about more than data
Campaign performance is determined by the combination of creative, data, and inventory. Each can have the most influence, depending on the circumstances of a campaign. To measure data effectiveness, you must analyze it correctly, not just in a vacuum.

8. don’t think you can “set and forget” a campaign
As creative ages, audience exposure increases and inventory fluctuates. Optimization steps you used last month may not work this month. There is no “set it and forget it” technique. Always consider a combination of methods over the life of a campaign.

9. always consider all optimizations at play
Three or more platforms are usually used in an online campaign, each with its own optimization schema. To properly optimize a campaign, always consider the effects an optimization will have in each system.

10. keep on the lookout for sparsity and noise
When you evaluate targeting choices, sparsity and noise may drastically impact the results of analysis. Remember to account for these at each stage of the process.

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