Intersections: Data and Digital Advertising: Creating Successful Targeted Digital Ad Campaigns Comes Down to Audience Data

By Peck, Gretchen A. | Editor & Publisher, February 2014 | Go to article overview

Intersections: Data and Digital Advertising: Creating Successful Targeted Digital Ad Campaigns Comes Down to Audience Data


Peck, Gretchen A., Editor & Publisher


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As they now become digital publishers, newspaper organizations have a glut of audience insight into what both readers want and advertisers want to know.

"Newspapers ... are among the most trusted brands for providing valuable and useful content. Further, they have long-standing relationships with huge numbers of consumers," said Peyton Marcus, practice executive at Digital Media Solutions, Infinitive. "But they must learn to think along the lines of truly digital and 100 percent audience centricity if they are to thrive as ad-driven businesses. That means seeing more clearly the links between the technology they use to run the business, how it impacts the customer [and] audience experience, and how they use data to manage their businesses."

In buying or selling targeted digital advertising, it's prudent to know the target--in this case, the newspaper publishers' audiences, and among them, advertisers' prospects. Marketers may wish to target members of the community based on demographics alone, but may be more easily compelled by greater insight into preferences, interests, geography, chronology, behaviors, hot buttons, shopping histories and other information afforded by digital media.

Audience intel

At KPC Media Group, Inc., mining data is becoming increasingly important to delivering good content and targeted advertising across a variety of media and platforms. Data comes in from a variety of sources--digital ad and native ad performance statistics, geographic and demographic data, behavioral insight from the Web and e-publications, and third-party measurements from social-media properties.

"We can look at how long people are looking at certain things, and what type of things capture their attention for a longer period of time. I think that everybody would agree that it's not really about how many people are accessing a site, as much as it's how long they're staying on the site," KPC Media's chief operating officer Terry Ward said.

This is good data, insightful information and valuable intelligence.

"Newspapers have been erecting registration gateways and paywalls," noted Marcus. "They have been collecting precious marketing data on their users' demographic, geographic and potentially psychographic data. "Since in exchange for the information provided users are often incentivized with more relevant content, the data is typically clean and relatively current. In addition, more modern publishers are able to combine this rich, explicitly collected data with implied or behavior-based data--like articles read, sections frequented--and externally purchased data to highlight the niche audiences amongst their users, which their advertisers are so desperately trying to reach."

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Clark Gilbert, president and chief executive officer of Salt Lake City-based The Deseret News said that behavioral targeting has proven particularly effective.

"Google has such a powerful model because it can take revealed behaviors through search, and target someone through that," Gilbert explained. "Someone may be looking for a mortgage. So why would a lender want to spend money to target anyone other than people who are looking for mortgages?"

In addition to acquiring third-party data--about which Gilbert said, "Everyone can do that; everyone should do that"--Deseret also relies on behavioral intelligence for audiences accessing a range of its publications and properties, including a long roster of social-media communities.

"We've also built a classified model," Gilbert noted. "When someone searches for a ear or a home or a restaurant--you could go on and on--they've now revealed behavior to us, and we use that to retarget throughout our site.

"The bigger your classified section is, the more chances to retarget that audience into your news site," Gilbert continued. "News isn't very targeted. …

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