In the past, advertisers bought sites similarly to how we pay for premium cable channels: You decided what sites your target audience demographic was using, and you bought that site for advertising purposes – just like you would buy Showtime or HBO to watch a select number of television programs. And similar to buying a cable channel simply to watch a single show, there is a lot of waste with this method. You spend advertising dollars to buy a site that may also attract people who aren’t in your target demographic. Your message is being sent to an extremely wide audience as opposed to only targeting those who may buy – wasting precious advertising dollars.
It’s All About Data
Unlike buying sites, buying audiences allows marketers to find their audiences – no matter where they are: websites, blogs, forums, etc. Marketers have the ability to create targeted ad campaigns. This is significantly better than wasting the budget on one or a set of websites. Via first- and third-party data, marketers now have more access to audience information than ever before. They know where targets are searching, shopping, browsing, reading, etc. Using this information, marketers know where to find their individual users. Creating targeted ad campaigns on all the sites where they already are interacting is more effective than simply buying ad space on a single website. Websites can provide marketers with information on overall demographics, impressions and similar stats. So marketers know that they’re targeting “some of” the correct demographics. When buying audiences, on the other hand, marketers can get detailed targeting information like the following:
- Search history: What types of products/services has the user searched for in the past? What types of online stores have they looked for? Past search can indicate what they’re looking to buy or may need in the future.
- Past browsing behavior: What pages has the person visited? What online stores have they visited? Browsing behavior provides information on what the person is interested in, including niche interests. Further, if the person has visited a competitor site, marketers know that they’re interested in similar products.
- First-party data: First-party data is information captured about people that have actually done an action on a company website (i.e. signed up for a newsletter or registered to get coupons) or are actual past customers. Marketers can/should analyze this data to understand the demographics of the people visiting/buying from their sites. These same people can be targeted in the future with similar items/offers as to what they responded to in previous sessions. Then, audiences with similar attributes can be group targeted, which is known as lookalike targeting. Grouping audiences like this increases the chances of conversion. You can group audiences by: Online behaviors, Time of day when they bought/signed up for something, For what they search
- Third-party data: Third-party data (which comes from outside sources, typically via cookies) can be used to learn how audiences interact with other websites.
The Result: More Conversions
When marketers choose buying audiences over buying sites, they are assured their targeted ad campaigns bring in those who are more likely to buy the company’s product or service. Plus, they also obtain all of the history of the person’s past buying, searching and browsing behavior. Another benefit is that marketers can target the right person at the right time in the right part of the conversion funnel. For example, if someone is searching for specific products (i.e. comparing them to decide which the best is), they’re clearly ready to buy, and it’s a good time to hit them with an ad with an offer. Buying audiences reduces advertising dollar waste by targeting spend on the people who are most likely to convert.