Most display campaigns continue to reach audiences based on context, which is inexact and expensive. Agencies and brands spend thousands of dollars and significant time developing "personas" and creative briefs outlining target audiences for each brand campaign. When it comes down to actually reaching those defined groups online with display advertising, agencies and media planners are still employing a lot of guesswork if they are only using specific publishers or networks.
comScore estimates that roughly 80 percent of impressions are wasted on the wrong audience. One way to combat this problem is to buy and target display by audience segment rather than putting your eggs in one or two baskets and hoping that the ad network or publisher you choose knows its audience.
Purchase audience by segment, not by publisher or network
When a campaign is purchased based on characteristics of an audience rather than on which websites a "persona" might frequent, the campaign is more likely to reach the right people. Rather than making a non-specific media buy on a network, campaign managers can now craft their own audience segments using data captured from multiple sources -- not just third-party data sellers or exchanges.
Audience segment technology defines consumer groups in real time as they surf the web through display advertising, as well as on specific sites and in email marketing. With audience-level targeting, a browsing shopper receives relevant ads in the same or related category of goods purchased by similar audience profiles. Display units can be synched with catalogs, available inventory, and site trends, making each piece of creative more relevant and accurate for shoppers.
On websites, shoppers can be retargeted with offers they have expressed interest in, as well as with suggestions from recommendation engines that present new offers from others within the shopper's audience segment. For cart abandoners and purchasers, targeted audience segment creative can bring them back into the website with cross- or up-sell products that appeal to others in the same audience segment. Best of all, each interaction with your creative further informs your chosen audience segment data set, sharpening your targeting.
Audience segment buys can increase revenue
Using audience segmentation and customizable ad templates, advertisers can dramatically increase revenue over static website creative. Last Thanksgiving, we ran a 30-day campaign with a popular national shoe and apparel brand using audience segmentation with display customization and retargeting technology.
We discovered that not only did audience segmentation bring interested shoppers, but also these shoppers preferred the customized display units almost 2-to-1 over the static website creative. In this campaign, units specifically targeted by audience segment received more than 1 million more impressions than any creative on the website.
We also learned that while window shoppers engaged with relatively high click-through rates, cart abandoners were the real revenue generators in our test campaign. Retargeting past site visitors with custom product offers resulted in a significant increase in return on ad spend ($14.59 in revenue for every dollar spent on media versus $1.14 in revenue for every dollar spent on media). In every category -- window shoppers, cart abandoners, and purchasers -- we found consumers preferred retargeted units to static ads featuring special offers and even time sensitive promotions.
You may have seen the results from a recent SEMPO study that found only 30.5 percent of marketers use retargeting even though the majority of marketers polled for the survey believe these ad units have great impact. This holiday campaign illustrates that retargeting strategies are a "must have" for online retailers. Within the 30-day flight, we saw click-through rates increase by 130 percent, and advertising revenue per 1,000 impressions (RPM) increase 1180 percent. Returns on advertising spend increased from 114 percent with static advertorial to 1,459 percent with customized retargeted creative.
So what does this mean for your seasonal display campaigns?
Campaigns launched per audience segment have comparable returns on ad spend to search when customizable display is used. Better yet, these kinds of campaigns are equally as measureable as search. Retargeting is the right answer to boost your post-event campaigns. Audience segmentation brings the right shopper to your website, and customized creative increases clicks and conversions.
Together these tools bring shoppers who are already interested back to your site -- and every touchpoint enhances specific audience data sets for future campaigns. Whether the shopper is a lost or a distracted multi-tasking landing page visitor, a category browser, or a cart abandoner, re-engage and convert them with personalized recommendations and alternative offers. New audience segmentation and new display retargeting technologies illustrate there is more you can do now to get those brand interactions, clicks, and conversions well beyond a given season.