With Google publicly launching the long-anticipated new DoubleClick ad exchange this week (at the time of writing), which many believe will overtake Yahoo's Right Media as the de facto standard in the ad exchange market, we've been taking a look at what this could mean for marketers.
To date, DoubleClick's ad exchange has been open on an invitation-only basis to certain partners. But its basic objective is the same as all ad exchanges -- to bring together buyers and sellers of digital advertising to make the process faster, easier and more transparent. That said, it will be different. Its long term differentiator -- and the reason why many are predicting it will become the ad exchange of all ad exchanges -- will be its scale. The sheer breadth, depth and reach of its offering will be second to none.
But let's circle back to the humble digital marketer for a moment. Anyone who knows digital marketers these days will know that their working lives are anything but easy. Maintaining 360 degree visibility of their media mix, searching for the highest performing media, increasing yield from customers -- the list goes on.
Can Google's ad exchange help them address some of these challenges? The answer is a resounding yes. And the solution is quite simple: develop a remarketing strategy using Google's ad exchange. And as Google's model plans to have better targeting and reporting facilities, with publishers being able to categorise their sites, marketers should be on to a winner.
The basic theory behind all remarketing programs is the same -- track and record behavioural data to create customer segments that can be used for highly targeted and relevant communication. In the early days, the remarketing channel tended to be email, as that was the easiest way to 're-find' the individuals in the customer segments and to 're-communicate' with them. It meant that the marketer had to capture email addresses at some point in the customer engagement process, which limited the size of the customer segments.
Enter the ad exchange. The sheer size and global scale of the Google ad exchange means it provides a fertile hunting ground to re-find those individuals who fall into your customer segments, without having to procure an email address. Digital marketers can, via sophisticated web analytics tools, gather behavioural data from visitors to their website and segment them into well-defined 'buckets' for retargeting. Using cookies and a well thought-through 're-messaging' strategy, these individuals can then be found in the ad exchange environment, where ever they might be, and re-messaged with appropriate display advertising.
The advantage of remarketing via an ad exchange is that it streamlines what can be a very longwinded process and often scatter gun approach to audience targeting. It greatly increases the chances that you'll actually find the customers you are looking for. And the bigger the exchange, the faster it aggregates the data and the quicker your message will be in front of the right people.
Putting it into practice
For example, a car manufacturer tracks visitors to its site. It gathers information on which models visitors view and creates segments based on their model of interest. These segments can then be targeted in the ad exchange environment, and served model-based test drive offers to an audience which has already 'declared intent' for the specific model. It starts turning display advertising from push marketing to pull marketing, with all the associated benefits. This is, of course, possible without an ad exchange, but the challenge is buying impressions that are going to reach your consumers across a number of different properties, each with different contracts and terms. The ad exchange is the aggregator that makes this process realistic.
The benefits to be gained from ad exchange remarketing are clear. Firstly, the marketer can expect increased ROI from online advertising. Secondly, marketers will be able to deliver highly relevant and customized content to their users who have an online interest in their category. And thirdly, marketers can expect to see high conversion rates from the remarketing program as they can more accurately target prospects based on their previous behaviour and then schedule relevant and timely ads.
Remarketing via DoubleClicks's new ad exchange will be one of the most streamlined and effective ways of targeting an audience in the display arena, generating positive ROI in terms of reaching the right segments with the right messages. Marketers should give it a try. In my view it's a no-brainer.
Grant Keller is managing director of Acceleration Europe.