Home » Timing, Targeting and Tact: Make the Most of Your Advertising Budget

Timing, Targeting and Tact: Make the Most of Your Advertising Budget

Lindsay Tjepkema
Lindsay Tjepkema , Global Head of Content , Emarsys

We’ve all heard the quote: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Guess what, I know which half is being wasted!
Right now, advertisers are throwing a bunch of stuff at the wall and hoping that something sticks. The next big thing in advertising, however, is going to be highly specified targeting that digs deeper, identifying individuals instead of devices. This people-based marketing will require digital marketers to rework everything they know.

From a budget perspective, advertising is often one of the the largest pieces of the marketing cake. The effectiveness of these dollars, however, can be a challenge for the marketer to measure, often resulting in an odd experience for the consumer.

For example, I recently purchased a skateboard from a well-known brand. Weeks later, I still received ads for that same skateboard, all day long, even though the chances of me purchasing a second one were practically nil. Not only was this annoying, it was frustrating to see that the skateboard I bought at full price is currently on sale!

This strategy of targeting people who visited a site or a product page and abandoned a cart or left the site is common. More sophisticated programs can use a Data Management Platform (DMP), which offers insight into previous actions of the anonymous cookie. But this is just trying to make small changes to improve a process which is fundamentally flawed. On top of that, users are not tethered to one device.

Forrester report cross channel campaign managment emarsys

What happens when a user moves between a phone, tablet, to a personal PC and desktop? How is shopping at home different than shopping at work? What happens if the user deletes their cookies? What if multiple users with different tastes and interests are using the same tablet or other device?

These are just some of the major problems with a cookie-based approach. Targeting devices, not people, reduces accuracy when aiming ads. Customers expect to be treated like a person, not as a proliferation of disparate, unconnected devices (potentially being used by multiple people). They want a consistent, personalized message in order to be excited by, and engaged with, your brand. Customers are looking to find brands that understand who and where they are, targeting them with a relevant ad.

Luckily, the times are changing. Facebook was the first to start matching real identities (using email and mobile tied to a unique profile) and letting marketers target those individuals. However, Facebook is not quite a mass-market changer, primarily because it is limited to only the Facebook ad network.

In Q4 2015, Google followed Facebook by announcing Customer Match, a clear message of what the ad industry is moving towards. Other companies, such as Pinterest, Yahoo, Twitter, and other premium publishers, are already there. Next year, expect a rapid growth in the coverage of real-identity ad serving, letting brands tailor journeys and execute campaigns across channels, beyond devices.

These developments are going to be game changing. Simply put, an ad revolution is upon us. In the past, developing ads with the widest appeal, often to unknowable audiences, was the accepted methodology. In the near future, tailoring messages to individual users will be the key to success.

Get ahead of the curve by thinking of your advertising execution as a martech strategy. Your marketing automation platform already holds the ‘golden, almighty’ email address and the most up-to-date data, organized in a single-customer view and tied 1-to-1 to an automated user journey.

By applying these high quality targeting tactics marketers can build integrated ad journeys, and I am positive that advertising spends will be much, much more effective.