With the final episode of Mad Men hurtling towards us, David T. Scott, Chief Marketing Officer of Gigya offers four ways today’s marketers and Mad Men can become Mad Scientists using customer identity data to fuel ad revenue.
Regarded as the golden days of advertising, the 1950s and 60s were full of notorious ‘ad men’ ablaze with the realisation that they could satisfy the masses and make millions by selling dreams and desires – not products.
To achieve this, leading brands began collecting publicly available demographic data like age, gender and estimated household income in an attempt to bucket consumers into basic personas like “mums” and “teens”. While Don Draper and company’s quest for more personal campaigns was valid, their approach is discredited by the simple fact that we are all different. For instance, not every woman dreams of receiving a vacuum cleaner for Christmas.
As Internet usage grew, brands were offered a much more immediate and individualistic view of consumers, via the tracking of cookies and use of third-party data purchased from data brokers. Once a useful, yet underhanded strategy, the surge of mobile devices, cookie-blocking web browsers, and social networks means that third-party data no longer paints accurate portraits of consumers.
With modern consumers connecting with friends, sharing opinions, and making purchases across websites, social networks, and mobile apps, people’s real identities have become seamlessly intertwined with their virtual lives. Trillions of consumer data points are created about relationships, interests, locations, and favourite products. This level of available data hardly calls for the need to sneakily track arbitrary behaviours across the web.
For brands and advertisers, the key to creating relevance in today’s Big Data landscape is harnessing the power of customer identity data. Here are four ways businesses can fuel ad revenue with identity data and develop strategies that are relevant, lucrative, and respectful of user privacy:
1. Go Beyond Retargeting
As a consumer, few things are more annoying (or creepy) than being followed across the Internet with ads for products and services you simply don’t want or need. The only way to continuously serve consumers more relevant and timely ads is by having a clear understanding of who they are.
First-party data collection techniques, such as voluntary registration and authentication via existing social profiles, provide an accurate, real-time view of consumer identity and go beyond impersonal retargeting. Social login gives brands access to the data points housed within users’ social profiles, including interests, relationships, favourite brands, locations, and more.
With a clear, permission-based view of consumer identity, brands have the ability to “retarget” individuals with ads that speak to their unique life events, locations, and much more. Making the transition from third-party to first-party data is also a way to combat growing data privacy concerns and increase consumer trust.
2. Create Cross-Channel Impact
Whether it’s via smartphone, tablet, or desktop, 90 per cent of people move between devices to accomplish a goal (Mobify). Without the ability to recognise individual consumers across each of these channels, how can advertisers reach them with the types of influential messages that drive desired behaviours?
To make cross-channel strategies as seamless as possible, brands should aggregate all omni-channel user data into a single, centralised database. IT professionals should ensure that this database is capable of normalising both structured and unstructured data, and has direct integrations and bi-directional data feeds with existing marketing platforms so that all campaigns stay synchronised and relevant.
3. Uncover New and Highly Valuable Segments
Advertisers have spent decades pouring over metrics like impressions and click through rates. Although great for evaluating ad performance, these metrics provide little insight about the consumers clicking on the ads and how their behaviours impact the bottom line.
First-party audience data obtained via users choosing to self-identify enables brands to start asking questions like: what are the unifying demographics of my most loyal customers? Are there any common interests between visitors that continuously abandon cart? Using identity data to uncover unintuitive, yet valuable audience segments presents a huge opportunity to increase advertising effectiveness and conversion rates.
4. Optimise Keywords and Creative Assets with User-Generated Content
User-generated content (UGC) refers to text and images that are created, uploaded, or syndicated by customers. Leaving comments, writing reviews, rating products, and sharing items across social networks are all forms of UGC. Not only does this create free word-of-mouth advertising for a brand, but it also provides first-party insight into the content and creative assets that generate interest and engagement among target audiences.
In the days of Don Draper, advertising professionals would lock themselves in rooms for days struggling to create copy and imagery to spark an audience reaction. Of course, this strategy still exists, but with Facebook users alone sharing more than 2.4 million pieces of content every minute (Domo), today’s connected consumers have made it infinitely easier to optimise creative strategies.
Did a particular tweet get hundreds of retweets? Sponsor it. Are readers commenting like crazy on a certain blog post? Turn the title into ad copy. Notice a new Instagram photo trending among a fan base? There’s the visual for the next print campaign.
To ensure that a website’s UGC is valuable and high-quality, brands can prompt users to authenticate their identities before posting or syndicating. This also enables businesses to tie content creation directly to revenue and other KPIs via consumer identity. Websites that feature ratings and reviews typically experience a 10-20 per cent increase in click through rates on search engine results pages (Inchoo).
With the days of Don Draper and his ad men far behind us, modern advertisers and marketers need to use customer identity data to truly understand their customers and create personalised experiences. By appropriately encouraging users to self-identify across websites and mobile apps, using either traditional registration or social authentication, brands can gain valuable, first-party insights about consumers and create 1:1 relationships with their customers.
Given the advanced advertising and marketing technologies available to businesses today, yesterday’s “Mad Men” have truly become today’s mad (data) scientists.
By David T. Scott
Chief Marketing Officer