The importance of data to display advertising

Data and views from the Consumer Insights & Targeting team at Experian Marketing Services

Colin Grieves, Director of Propositions and Strategy, Marketing Services and Consumer Insight, Experian

With consumers now more digitally engaged than ever before, there is a greater need for marketers to carefully consider their approaches to display media in order to reach customers with effective personalised messages. This is true across all channels, none more so than digital display advertising.

To build the most effective strategy for a digital display campaign, marketers need to pay close attention to driving force behind display adverting - data. The rise in the trading of display media programmatically to an estimated 45 per cent in 2014 is indicative of the increasing importance of data and how it underpins a successful marketing strategy. An attentive analysis of the data acquired, together with the aggregation of more accurate data sets and cross-channel linkage, will allow marketers to bring highly relevant and striking messages to customers.

Understanding your customer

Technology is now a key part of the daily lives of customers everywhere, with new digital habits emerging based on distinct consumer preferences. Consumers now move seamlessly across channels and technologies, and it is up to brands to keep up with their actions, follow patterns and ensure that they are serving them the most relevant of messages.

Experian characterises this new reliance on technology as the “always on consumer” with research showing that consumers interact with digital services far more than ever before, across all devices and at any time of day.

Whilst consumers are using technology in different ways, Experian have recorded the emergence of four distinct groups:

Social Butterflies: always on social channels and in constant contact with friends

Working Professionals: busy, time poor professionals interested in news

Gamers: fanatical gamers across platforms

Everything Tech: technology and gadget fans, first in the queue for the latest releases

The research found that brands need to evolve their marketing strategies to engage customers based on their preferences to have maximum impact. With regard to display advertising, some of these groups were not only using multiple devices to browse online but were also dramatically impacted by advertising. 60 per cent of those in the Everything Tech group, for example, were found to have purchased a product advertised to them on their mobile.

An upshot of this reliance on technology has been a reset of customer expectations with regard to marketing messages, which must be highly personalised and relevant if they are to resonate with modern customers.

A vast proportion, some 84 per cent, of customers would walk away from a brand that they felt didn’t listen to them, while a similar 74 per cent would respond positively to brands that understand them.

Matching demand

The key to providing the level of engagement to customers and boosting the chances of a positive response and relationship is data. Linking data across channels is the most effective means to build a highly accurate view of audiences and customers. But recent advances in data collection and linkage means that brands have many methods that they can use to reach interested customers, which can present a confusing choice.

To achieve the best solution and the most accurate view of the customer, brands should strive to feed all available data sources into building a better view of the customer. This should include first party data, partner-sourced second party data and where possible third party data.

The use of offline data should also be considered to further boost accuracy, providing more contextual information and allowing for a more granular understanding of the customer.

To consider this in more detail, digital display media is no longer just about behavioural and retargeting advertising driven by cookies. It is possible to create audiences of customers a client specifically wishes to communicate with and deliver those messages across all display media and devices. This means brands are able to drill down into their audiences to ensure that only relevant messages are served to customers.

Further collection of consumer touch-points such as email addresses also allows for linking to social media channels and even TV audiences. For brands, this focus on linkage means that the data that they use to reach customers is consistent, and forms part of a common marketing currency.

Outcomes to satisfy all

Changes in customer expectations mean that never has it been more important to use joined-up data to build and target a digital marketing campaign. With the right datasets, brands can be confident that the right messaging will be targeted to the right customers.

This bespoke approach can dramatically increase ROI for brands and can be used to control messaging to ensure that not every individual who visits a particular website is targeted with the same advert, therefore decreasing wastage. A better experience for the end customer serves to increase engagement which can enhance purchase frequency and loyalty too.

In a digital age where the consumer is more demanding, time pressured and swaps between channels, data is key to building a meaningful relationship.

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