Over the last 24 months the display ad space has continued to see rapid acceleration of budgets moving through such as Demand Side Platforms (DSP). The forces behind this growth are well documented:
- Impression level price transparency
- Ability to “cherry pick” desired impressions with granular focus
- Hands-on control of campaign data & optimization levers
- Deep campaign insights due to transparency of price & delivery data
- Increasing volumes of inventory for display, mobile & video
Initially there were many articles predicting that media teams, in particular display teams, would evolve from creative thinkers to more analytical thinkers in an effort to better support real-time data decision driven media buying and optimization. The message was that you must evolve into a data scientist or become obsolete.
However, most platforms have evolved to support online marketer needs without requiring major skill development. Creative thinkers can breathe a sigh of relief and focus on strategy and creative as they leverage talented client service teams and the automated algorithmic optimization built into programmatic buying platforms.
This means marketing professionals can define the budget; goals and attribution model while the platform rapidly adjusts dozens of variables in real time based on performance to determine the right campaign settings to achieved the desired ROI. Now that marketers have effective and reliable controls in place to manage the impressions served, their focus can turn toward new and creative ways to meet a diverse array of business objectives.
A perfect example of campaign innovation leveraging programmatic media buying is retargeting (remarketing for Google loyalists). Once upon a time, retargeting was delegated to direct response campaigns at the very bottom of the purchase funnel.
Typical segments included cart abandonment and product level pages. This is the one area where marketers knew they could create conversion rates high enough to justify the media cost they were being asked to pay.
Today major brands, trading desks and agencies are deploying up to a dozen or more separate retargeting campaigns simultaneously to meet a range of diverse objectives. The right combination of variables can often produce ROI success with site audience segments previously not retargeted. This is made possible by pricing transparency, clear ROI objectives and machine optimization.
Here are some other creative segments producing positive returns for brands:
- Search Retargeting – Unlike site retargeting, this is a new audience-focused display campaign delivered to prospects based on the keywords they enter as they perform searches on the web. Campaigns can be focused on a broad range of searches performed online such as: branded product terms and competitor terms. Search retargeting also offers increased reach on high cost CPC search terms.
- Home Page Awareness Retargeting – Used to feature specific products, services or targeted subject of prospect’s immediate need. This is often used in conjunction with time-frame-specific sales or to highlight a new service or product offering.
- Promotional Retargeting – Presented to previously-retargeted site visitors with specific promotions, redemption codes, or coupons for use online or offline. This is often used in conjunction with specific geographic requirements like proximity to store, inventory or service area.
- In Creative Data Collection Retargeting – This is the practice of retargeting site visitors with a creative that includes a text box in the ad for data collection, with a call to action. Common applications are “enter email address” or “phone number” to opt in to specific offers. This allows for display segments to perform as a data collection launching pad for SMS incentive programs or the growing fleet of email and social marketing tools.
- Store Locator Retargeting – Used to market immediately to consumers that are specifically accessing information about a particular store location. This may include location-specific product promotions or in-store coupon incentives with deadlines. This can also be used to build rolling store-specific segments that can be targeted with date specific in-store events.
- Logged In User Retargeting – Used to create retargeting campaigns around specific site visitors who are “logged in,” known customers or prior visitors to your site.
- Category Merchandising Retargeting – This is the ability to build creative or dynamically serve creative featuring top products sold or products featured in a category visited with no specific product viewed. This is true merchandising moved online.
- Product Level Retargeting – This is the common practice of retargeting a prospect based on a specific product or products viewed while on the website. Thanks to recommendation engine technology it is not uncommon to mix products viewed with product recommendations based on the purchase history or browsing habits of others who have purchased the product.
- Affinity Retargeting – Used to retarget site visitors with products or services commonly associated with the product or service they expressed interest in while online. For example, a customer who looks at an umbrella may be retargeted with an offer to buy a rain coat.
- Loyalty Retargeting – Leveraging a retargeting pixel to market future messages to prospects once they convert on your site. Common loyalty retargeting campaigns feature timed ad delivery for renewals, product up-sells or event specific ads of interest to known customers.
The examples above only scratch the surface of what happens when marketers are able to combine their creative intuition with transparent programmatic media buying. These platforms are designed to find the right media mix and ROI based on performance data.
The end result is better performing display campaigns that achieve the correct scale at the correct price faster than ever before. Less time guessing the right price and optimization means more time can be invested developing the next great strategy that can be delivered via the display medium.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.