Online Display Targeting: Successfully Casting a Smaller Net


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By: Michael Koontz, LION Digital Media, LLC

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  • Talk briefly about the evolution of the industry - - acknowledge that it is:Confusing Dynamic – evolvingExciting, yet overwhelmingNext – Budgets growing
  • How many of you are planning to spend a larger percentage of your marketing budgets on digital marketing efforts this year, compared to last year ? Today, we’re NOT going to talk about all the emerging mediums and methods for delivering your message digitally. What we are going to talk about is TARGETING your DISPLAY ads EFFICIENTLY. Why concentrate on display ads? We’ll, quite simply, because we’re still spending reasonably large piece of our budgets on digital display ads. And we do so because they can keep the funnel filled with prospects, increase your brand and product awareness, equity and yes, even drive sales & referrals. And with today’s targeting methods, this can be done more effectively than ever before.
  • How much do we spend on Display? I don’t have reliable 2012 numbers yet, but the IAB reports 5.5 Billion dollars were spend on banners in 2011, and it’s growing. The 2012 mid year report showed growth of about 4% in the first half of ’12 compared to the same period in 2011. Mobile is the fastest growing segment, but it still only accounts for a fraction of our ad budgets compared to Display, which trails only search marketing in terms of spending. If we’re spending a third (or more) of our growing online ad budgets on Display ads, we would be silly not to give some serious attention to this segment.
  • I do want to mention briefly that you can’t measure everything with pixels, and Google Analytics, which is arguably the most pervasive method, is certainly not going to tell you most of what you need to know on a display ad campaign. While Google Analytics can tell you some really valuable things about how clicker’s got to your site and what they did once they get there - it does little for you in terms of accurately measuring the true path to conversion, viewthru reporting, engagement on ads, reach, frequency, and more. Even the UTM snippets you place into your clickthru URLs fail to capture much of the information you need if you’re running a campaign outside of Google’s Adwords/Display Network. I strongly recommend employing a robust pixel strategy on your websites AND in the ad delivery platform, so that you can assess the relative value of each placement and make optimizations according to your defined KPI’s for the campaign.
  • Examples:Geo – KFC Franchise GroupsContextual – New Birthing Center at a hospital (Geo+Contextual)Channel – Sports sites for Nike (ESPN, BleacherReport,, fieldgulls, blogs, etc+) Behavioral – College education seekersDemographic – Pharma client – children’s allergy drug -> target parents with children in homeRetargeting – ecommerce site - shopping cart abandoners. Exclusion pixel and frequency capping to prevent over-deliveryAudience index – Your Own Site visitors. Great for all campaignsLifestyle segments – Quantas Airlines - “Globetrotters” (foreign travel, hhi, no kids, investments, risk averse)
  • Example --GrandWailea resort in Maui – seeking affluent travelers intending to come to Hawaii --- Target against behaviors, searches, content read, lifestyle, demographics, even airport codes.
  • I suspect that many of you want to know about Audience targeting AKA User Targeting. I want to spend a moment just to make sure we all understand what that is, and how that data is collected. First, Audience targeting is any method that allows you to target ONLY the PEOPLE you have defined as your target audience. If you’re targeting males and an ad is set to be served to a female user as identified by the platform, your ad would not show to that user. It is not dependent on website, or context of the page or anything else – it is simply delivered if the platform identifies the user as a male. In many other forms of marketing, you must cast a pretty wide net to reach the people that you target. If the target is too narrow, there’s a great deal of ‘waste’ Audience targeting helps reduce that waste, and allows you to spend less budget to reach your target – “cast a smaller net”.So, how does that work? Certainly, the computer isn’t looking at you – no those camera’s on your laptop aren’t spying on you. Rather, it is less invasive, and typically less accurate than it might be with some other methods, but it does give us a much better chance of reaching our target audience than you can get just picking sites that index high for males.Next BulletThe first method is simply through the use of registration data. You’ve logged into your Comcast email and they have some information about you from your registration and billing info. While you’re on Comcast’s website, the ads can be targeted to you specifically based upon the data they have on you. That’s called first- party data because they own the site AND the data. This can be very accurate because it’s a session cookie based on your explicit login. Unless you shared your username and password with someone else, it’s probably you.Next BulletThe more common method is cookie-based. Next Bullet These cookies are saved in your browser cache folder and they save information about your browsing activity. Sites have their cookies that save your preferences, making your browsing experience better on their site. Third-party cookies are typically downloaded at the same time. I ran a test. I deleted all my cookies from a computer, went to and checked my cookies. On a single page view of, I was cookied by 17 different sources. These cookies now will store information about my visit on this site, and any other site they have their code installed upon. Often, in fact usually, the cookies are dropped by data companies and ad servers that wish to track your web activity. They store information about what sites you visit, duration, clicks on their ads, searches, and more. Over time, these companies compile a great deal of data about your behaviors and can start to understand a lot about you. Personally identifiable information is not stored in these third party cookies, so they don’t know your name or credit card number, but if you’re the only user of that browser, they get a pretty good picture of your current interests/intents and perhaps even your lifestyle and buying propensities. Matching you with millions of other people ‘like you’, they get a pretty good idea of what ‘audience segments’ you should be part of. However, if you share your computer, use multiple browsers, multiple computers or delete your cookies routinely – you might be very different on each browser until they collect enough data.
  • Overdone, any sort of retargeting is really annoying and can lead to negative brand association. For instance, while I was searching the web for some information related to this presentation, I got cookied by ‘campaign grid’. Over the past few days, I’ve seen no less than 200 ads for them -That’s simply too much frequency
  • Pixel Code is placed in the ad tag, so that when the user is delivered the ad, (s)he can be retargeted.Utilized when a site has a very specific audience, but very low traffic. By employing the retargeting pixel within the ad delivery, that user can be targeted across the internet with frequency. Excellent for B2B applications.
  • What’s nice about this – is it’s YOUR DATA – your are not paying for it, and it will target people who’s cookies appear to be similar to your site visitors.
  • Targets user cookie– not site or content.Third party cookies track online activityOver time, they capture information about your interests, intents, demographic makeup, searches, ads clicked on, content read, conversions, and more - but do not collect Personally Identifiable Information (PII) They compare this data to millions of other cookies to determine which segments you fit.Ads are delivered based upon the segments assigned to you – regardless of site, content.This segmentation works best when there is enough recent online behavioral data to determine ‘intent’ or ‘interest’. For instance, if you are looking for a new car, and you have checked out, searched for Nissan Leaf, and read an article on Motortrend about electric cars in the last 24 hours, and clicked on an ad for Chevy Volt, the data will be pretty solidly supporting the idea that you are 1. An Auto Shopper, and 2. Interested in electric/green vehicles. Wherever you go on the internet for a while, you will probably begin seeing ads for similar and competing products and auto dealerships.
  • Couple of ways that you can target demographics. First, you can target to sites that index highest for the particular demo you are seeking.Third-Party cookies provide another way to find users matching a certain demographic profile. With enough browsing behaviors/history, you may be categorized into one or more demographic segments.Some sites collect registration data and can target ads to those users who have identified themselves.
  • Geo-Targeting. I assume that most of us know what this is – Simply put, it’s targeting by location of the USER’S computer. The primary question I get on this is about Accuracy. First Bullet> IP targeting isn’t perfect, but it’s a lot better than it used to be. Fewer companies are requiring their users to utilize corporate servers or remote access for internet and technologies have improved to the point that it is generally considered to be effective, and since it is not opt-in, it can be employed in almost any campaign if the publisher or platform provides that option. Registration: Opt in- as long as the user registration data is passed to the ad server, this can be as good as the data. If users are honest about location, this can be highly effective. Same with Billing Address. For mobile devices, There is ‘geo-fencing’ which can use GPS or Cellular Triangulation methods to determine exactly where you are right now. Finally, the simple method of buying advertising on websites that serve a specific area. - talk about our experience with hyperlocal sites, geotargeted metro sites.
  • If the data costs + media costs you more than the benefit of a different targeting approach, consider the less targeted approach.Consider using more than one or two approaches. Afew solid approaches allow you to optimize to best performing.
  • Online Display Targeting: Successfully Casting a Smaller Net

    1. 1. Online Display TargetingSuccessfully Casting a Smaller Net By: Michael Koontz, LION Digital Media, LLC
    2. 2. Presenter: Michael Koontz  Partner, LION Digital Media - Founded in 2006.  We specialize in executing digital display advertising campaigns focused on local audiences in all US markets.  Since 2006, we have worked on thousands of digital ad campaigns for hundreds of ad agencies/advertisers  Ten years with MSNBC.COM at Microsoft before co-founding LION with another Industry veteran at MSNBC - Conrad Jungmann.
    3. 3. Digital Marketing Budgets Continue to growDigital Marketing averages about 2.5% of company revenues in2012, and will grow in 2013 to about 2.7% of revenue. Quarterly Internet Advertising Growth Trends ($ billions) Gartner US Digital Marketing Spending Survey 2013
    4. 4. Only search exceeds display spending  $5.5 billion + spent on Banners in 2011 (4% growth in first half of 2012)  Display accounted for 33% of all digital ad spendingSource: IAB internet advertising revenue report. 2012 First Six Months’ Results Oct 2012
    5. 5. Banner Ads: ImpactsONLINE: Search lift Website visits (post click + post impression) Online conversions/Sales Referrals/SharesOFFLINE: Lift in awareness Lift in brand equity Lift in purchase intent and conversions/sales
    6. 6. Targeting ApproachesSite/Content/Context (no cookies) Geo-Targeting Contextual (indexed pages) Channel (Site Categories) Data Providers Examples… Direct Site/SectionAudience (cookie-based) Behavioral Demographic Retargeting (Site, Search, or Creative) Advertiser Audience Index Lifestyle Segments
    7. 7. DSP’s Exchanges Networks Examples – this list is not exhaustive …more
    8. 8. Real Time Bidding (RTB) Platform Data Bid Inventory Source DSP $3 CPM Targeting Affluent, Vacation Intenders HawaiiYOUR AD SHOWS HERE
    9. 9. Audience TargetingRather than targeting sites or content –your ads are restricted to the targetuser. Registration/Profile information based on login and first party cookie Typically by the use of third party cookies  Browser based (IE, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, etc)  Cookies can be cleared routinely by virus scanners/users  Every visit to a ad-supported website can generate multiple cookies  Shared profiles mean shared cookies
    10. 10. Site Retargeting Pixel code placed on site User is cookied when visiting User is served your ad as he visits other sites across the web
    11. 11. Search Retargeting
    12. 12. Creative RetargetingTrying to reach meeting planners? This site has limited traffic, but they are largely meeting planners. Placing the retargeting code within the ad tag allows a cookie to be placed whether or not the user clicked to your site. So now, you can deliver your ad to that specific user as they visit others sites on the web.
    13. 13. Audience Indexing1. Tag your site with a tracking pixel from the adnetwork or DSP or Data Aggregator.2. Collect data for a few weeks3. Target Look-a-Like cookieswith an ad campaign
    14. 14. Behavioral TargetingAudiencetargeted andcookie-based
    15. 15. Demographic Targeting Sites / Site Indexes User Cookies Registration data
    16. 16. Audience Profiles/Lifestyle/Segmentation A combination of data sources, segments of life – stage, lifestyle and consumer segments are pre-built and applied to ad delivery.
    17. 17. Contextual or Semantic Targeting No cookies Keyword list matched against the content of a page
    18. 18. Geo-TargetingGeo-Targeting IP Address Registration Information Billing Address Geo-fencing (mobile) Local Media/ Local Content Websites
    19. 19. Publisher/Site targetingGuaranteed Site PlacementImpressionsSection
    20. 20. The approach maywork perfectly….butis it worth the cost?Sometimes a differentmethod can provide thesame results at a lowercost.
    21. 21. Display Ads – Setting ExpectationsDefine your objectives, KPI’s – and relative value ofeach Direct Response Campaign Example Branding Campaign KPI #1 –Cost per Conversion KPI #1 – Targeted Reach KPI #2 - Website engagement KPI #2 – Cost per Conversion KPI #2 – Interactions (Cost per) KPI #3 – Search Lift
    22. 22. Recommendations Know what you are hoping to accomplish with your campaign and develop measureable performance metrics where possible. Employ a solid tracking and pixel optimization strategy to provide actionable intelligence. Don’t be afraid to employ targeting tactics independently. Employing multiple layers of targeting on a single line of your media plan makes it difficult to isolate performance at a granular level, limiting your optimizations. People matter- don’t neglect to monitor and make optimizations. Strategic execution and careful monitoring can ensure that even the best algorithms perform to their potential.
    23. 23. Q&A