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Why it pays to be skeptical about your digital spending

Why it pays to be skeptical about your digital spending iMedia Editors

At the iMedia Brand Summit in Coronado, California, Schneider presented with Mark Karlan, director of digital marketing for Prestige Brands (Little Remedies, Clear Eyes and 75+ other brands). Karlan stated that among the challenges Prestige Brand faces, they don't have a lot of first-party data -- they operate very upper funnel. If all of their ad spend goes straight to an agency, they have to trust and believe that it's being used correctly -- there's a real lack of transparency. Last year in particular, he added, there was a lot of tension around viewability and fraud.

The questions that a brand needs to ask when determining whether their digital spend is being effectively used are:

  1. Are ads being seen?
  2. Are ads being seen by a person?
  3. Are the ads being seen by the right people?

"The first two are solved fairly easily with technology that has evolved in the last few years." said Karlan, "The third and fourth are what Resonate does, by helping you to determine what percentage of time you're getting to the right people in your segments across channels, partners, and medium (pre-roll, display, email, etc.) For instance, if a female-only product is being shown to an audience that's more than 40 percent male, that's not good."

This seems to happen more than marketers would like and often they just don't know. Resonate solves this through segment intelligence -- which is highly customized to the customer's unique segment, not canned, and does the following:

  1. Measure who you're reaching
  2. Analyze demographics, values, motivations, drivers, behaviors, and more
  3. Activate on the attributes you want to target
  4. Assess engagement performance

The rest of the discussion was broken into four major areas: Data, measure, analyze, and activate.


Schneider began the content portion of the presentation by discussing some of the challenges that data inaccuracy and different data sets across systems produce for marketers. "How many marketers in the room question the third-party data accuracy that is available to you from vendors?" asked Schneider to open his session. 90 percent of the audience raised their hands. "It is clear," according to Jason, "that the marketing industry is widely feeling the pain of bad data and it is impeding marketers' ability to create, measure, analyze, and activate the right segments and personas."

The problem is inherent to the way the programmatic industry has worked for years. According to Schneider, "Marketers and agencies today use different systems and data sets for each of the necessary disciplines (create, measure, analyze, and activate) related to segment strategies. This inherently creates a breakdown in the accuracy and performance of segments every step of the way. The lack of actionable intelligence ultimately leads to a lot of waste – time, money, lack of engagement by the right customers, and reduced conversion."

By the end of the sessions, the audience started to refer to Resonate's data as "second-party data," because at the core it is survey based, tied to individuals vs. households, and can be combined with brand first-party data.

Resonate improves the accuracy of marketing data by asking 200,000+ consumers annually (balanced against the U.S. population) in six waves throughout the year to fill out a 45-minute survey. They then combine the results with behavioral data on the same individuals from a proprietary Resonate cookie. The survey produces a complete picture of individuals across 7,000 attributes related to the following: Demographics, behaviors, media consumption (plus an understanding of their psychographics), motivations, values, purchase drivers, political views, and more. Resonate then models the survey results to over 200 million other U.S. individuals whose online behaviors they also track with the Resonate cookie, monitoring some 15 billion activities per day.

In total, this creates the largest pool of syndicated consumer research in the U.S. that brands can tap into to create, measure, analyze, and activate segments and personas in one system.

Schneider referred to the solution as human segment intelligence, which can help your brand:

  • Avoid wasting digital dollars
  • Create higher lifetime value by finding the right customers
  • Find more of the rights customers
  • Discover opportunities with new types of customers
  • Improve cross-channel performance


These are the questions that you need answered: Are you reaching the desired segment? Are you reaching them at an effective rate? Is it my owned or paid media reach that is or is not hitting my desired segments? Is it my media partner, my messaging and creative, or my website that is succeeding or failing me?

Marketers today should be able to measure easily their custom segments throughout their journey by ensuring the following:

  1. Is my media reaching the right people?
  2. Is my media getting the right people to engage?
  3. Is my or my partner's landing page/website getting the right people to convert?

This simple measurement capability hasn't existed in a platform that is working in real time, and static reports are of little to no use for the marketer. With this up and running, marketers can optimize against effective audience reach as well as other critical KPIs.


Marketers are faced with the ongoing demand of new launches (products, messaging) which requires faster, better and easier understanding of consumers in order for them to keep up. More questions to ask yourself: Are the right people engaging with the ad? How do I better analyze who is coming to my landing page, website, and conversions? Am I truly getting the right insights to understand my segments at the right level? Do I need to change my strategy and how can I gauge if is it working? How do I do all of this easily?

To answer this, Schneider broke down data insights from another real-life client between their converters and non-converters. On the surface, they had two female audiences that couldn't really be told apart using demographics. But the human elements of the data collected over a month-long period from the website told a different story.

A few examples:

When it came to buying products that consumers deem rewarding, the 18 percent of the converters vs. the 29 percent of the non-converters wanted rewarding products. Actions were to change retargeting messaging to "Reward Yourself" to help turn them to converters.

They also looked at loyalty programs. Non-converters were 35 percent more likely to desire a loyalty program than the converters. This provided the insight that employing a loyalty program may win over some of the non-converters. Another interesting piece of data: non-converters showed significantly higher mobile use.

At Prestige, Karlan said that while they initially took another direction to optimize media spend, they're now coming back to focus on insights.


Now it's time for action. And that's made easier by having everything in place for integration: DSP, DMP, automated and manual optimization, scale and precision, etc. Pushing cookies that match the attributes of customers or prospects and continuing to fine tune and analyze even after.

All in all, the marketers attending Schneider's and Karlan's session walked away with an eye-opening view of how they should be better measuring, analyzing, and activating their segment strategies, as well as how they can move from being skeptical about their digital media spend to a big pay off with the more accurate data, insights, and tools.

iMedia Communications, Inc. is a trade publisher and event producer serving interactive media and marketing industries. The company was founded in September of 2001 and is a subsidiary of Comexposium USA.  ...

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