Why social data is the key to your media buy

Brands have been using conventional research methods and data for years to help with pre-campaign planning and the actual execution of the campaign. Marketers have also widely used data to understand how they can optimize campaigns, but this usually comes during post-campaign analysis (i.e., what worked really well, what didn't work so well, and what can be improved the next time). The learnings are then put to work for future campaigns.

But as we know, people are constantly updating their social sites (posting new content to blogs, updating Facebook statuses, sharing photos via Instagram, posting links to stories, etc.), keying in friends and followers to where they are, what they are doing, and what brands they have an affinity for. For example, a mobile notification tells you that your friend just checked in at a nearby Starbucks and apparently really loves her pumpkin spice latte that she's clutching in the photo she shared.

But are brands on top of using all this available, up-to-the-minute information to better identify target audiences, develop specific creative, and more efficiently plan media? Huge quantities of public, anonymous data from millions of social media sites are a goldmine for brands looking to identify and reach new audiences through video and display buys, targeting different markets and maneuvering their buys in real-time. Brands can now utilize social market research platforms such as CitizenNet that are integrated with an ad server to identify and then immediately reach the most relevant audience to the campaign.

For example, social insights demographics can be used to determine with higher precision the age, gender, and geo markets that will yield the highest levels of efficiencies for a brand's campaign across both display and video. These granular insights allow trading teams to pinpoint key audiences and fans across specific markets. Social insights might indicate that a brand skews heavily toward 18- to 24-year old males in Los Angeles, but in New York City the majority of the audience is made up of 35- to 54-year old females. Each market can then be targeted based on its specific audience, and media spend can be allocated according to each city's audience profile and volume.

The word choices and interests of your audience members are also important. Brands can use social buzzwords related to the brand for semantic keyword targeting, serving ads alongside content that is highly aligned with that brand. Or a video game brand might notice that several competitor games are being discussed by its fan base and might want to target webpages where these competitor games are being mentioned.

Algorithm-based optimizations can also be used for shared links to target specific URLs. Marketers can integrate links that are shared by their brand or product's audience which might not be directly related to their particular brand or product. This can be leveraged for a more targeted media buy across top sites and pages that the audience frequents, and also across Facebook, which allows for insights into the other pages that the audience holds in high regard.

Audience-powered advertising brings brands and agencies a better way of making advertising decisions based on social. Through this type of advertising, market research, ad strategy, and media allocation are powered by the crowd. Social insights are very important when it comes to buying display and video media, as using social insights enables marketers to react in real-time through analysis of a brand's social audience in order to find out interests, demographics, and brand sentiments of the day.

Real-time social insights are highly relevant and therefore can make a huge impact for advertisers and marketers looking to achieve good data-driven marketing and runtime optimization. Advertisers can take that sophisticated understanding and use the insights to activate better social marketing and media decisions.

Samson Adepoju is the communications and PR manager at MediaMind.

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