Personalized Advertising Is More Than Just Data

personalized advertising

Figuring out how to leverage unstructured company data— CRM, social, email, digital, web and analytics— is the current rage. Companies are touting their prowess in helping you leverage that data to identify and target your future prospects. But what is it they are actually doing?

The basic premise behind this strategy is that if you can find and target people who“look like” someone who has already purchased your products or services, there is a good chance that person might also be interested in your product. And for the most part that would be correct; your odds would improve on several levels. This “look alike” audience certainly fits your demographics and should also match-up with current psychographics (i.e., attitudes, values, interest and fears), but the real question is— is this person in the market right now going to buy your goods?

When it comes to delivering personalized online display ads it all comes down to data – right?

Well kind of, but not completely. Sure, data is the engine, but in today’s digital marketplace there are many elements that go into delivering successful, personalized advertising campaigns. (Wondering how to get started with personalized ad campaigns? Learn more here)

5 Essential Elements to a Successful Personalized Advertising Campaign

Data Strategy

A well aggregated and correlated data strategy is essential. This includes all your unstructured 1st party data, your digital partner’s proprietary audience data (2nd party) and finally, data from national DBs and DMPs (3rd party). Third party data, from sources such as Visa, Experian and BlueKai is crucial because it goes beyond standard demographics and defines audiences based on intenders, behaviors and socio-demographics.
Vendors that only provide this portion of the solution provide value and data, but delivering a complete personalized ad campaign requires much more.

Tracking Strategy

You need to ensure you have a solid tracking strategy in place so you can monitor who’s visiting the client website, which pages they visited, their time on site, how deep they drill down into the content, which ads (and from what level of the funnel) are contributing to view-throughs and conversions. A solid relationship with your client is essential in this step since you’ll either need to access the client’s code or have them implement this tracking.

Campaign Blueprint

You must have a campaign blueprint (defined by technology, algorithms and processes) that track audiences in real-time and makes adjustments based on dozens, if not hundreds, of campaign variables. This blueprint needs to be guided by a handful of top-level strategies including: Targeting, Campaign Objectives (awareness, prospecting and engagement), Buying, Optimization, Insights and Creative.

Creative Message

Behavioral studies have shown that personalized advertisements attract much more consumer attention and have a significant effect on brand recall. Therefore, presenting the right creative message to the right person at the right time might be the most important element within the personalization process. The goal is to have unique and dynamic creative in continuous rotation. This creative can be A|B tested to present content that truly resonates with a specific audience profile, at each layer of the funnel. Few digital vendors have the tech to build a dynamic ad based on a prospects specific audience profile – between the time they start to open a publisher’s webpage and the when the ad is presented.

Ad Placements

The final step in your personalized ad campaign is media buying and ad placements (typically via trading desks, and run through DSPs and DMPs), analytics, real-time campaign optimization (based on results) and reporting.

Don’t forget this is all happening in real-time.

Campaign learnings must be fed back into the process to continually refine the target audience and search for that prospect who’s ready to make a purchase. This is where your tech and talented programmatic data analysts come in – and through much time and testing – campaign performance adjustments are made.

Forrester and eMarketer “Impact of Personalization” report clearly shows consumers who are presented personalized ads had a 45% increase in Product Awareness, 42% increase in Ad Recall and a 39% increase in Brand Trust.

Personalized ad campaigns can really work, but require that all the above points be taken into consideration in order to truly be effective.


Written by: Richard Burczyk, VP Sales, KATANA
For more information on this subject you can contact Richard Burczyk directly at richard.burczyk [at] or