Are You Using the Most Advanced Data to Target Consumers?

The way we use data to target audiences is constantly evolving. The first phase in targeting was fairly simple in that we relied on only a few simple demographics, like age and gender, to segment consumers. Then audience groups were formed. More advanced and specific, audience groups were, and still are, based on consumers’ shared interests. The newest chapter in data targeting, utilizing real-time insights, merges information about demographics and audience groups with real-time activity. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Real-time data isn’t just information about your consumers’ spending habits in the last month. True, real-time insights let you know what your target customers are searching for the moment they shop online.


In the mid-20th century, marketers focused on only a few consumer demographics when developing marketing campaigns. While factors like age and gender were more important sixty years ago when people sourced their news and entertainment from the same place, the traditional methods for obtaining consumer data are not as relevant anymore. McKinsey’s John Forsythe demonstrates the problems associated with using only a few, superficial demographics by citing the differences between Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth’s son and her heir apparent, and Ozzy Osbourne, lead singer of heavy metal band Black Sabbath. While both men are British and the same age, a marketer obviously wouldn’t market to them the same way.


Marketing and brand expert Adam Paulisick also believes that simple demographics don’t provide enough information to properly target consumers.


“Segmenting consumers by age and gender or other demographics is inefficient at best, even for more traditional marketing campaigns because there are no hard and fast rules anymore for what a man or a women will intuitively buy (with few exceptions).”


While we might not know the “hard and fast rules” that drive what a consumer buys, we can know the next best thing: what product they are shopping for the moment they shop. Real-time data takes into account everything we used to know about consumers based on demographics and audience groups and merges it with live activity.


Keith Sayewitz, Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Sales at BDEX, a market-driven exchange platform that provides users with real-time data, explains the value of real-time analytics for marketers.


“For years a company depended on simple demographics to identify a certain consumer, like ‘soccer moms.’ Then audience groups were formed, so we discovered those soccer moms were interested in fitness. But now, with real-time data, we learn which of those soccer moms are in the market for a treadmill or are switching to vegan cuisine. This information is incredibly powerful because it allows for truly advanced targeting. We know that this customer is likely to buy a treadmill because she is in the market for one at this exact moment.”


Marketers can then create specific ads for the desired consumer, increase the probability for conversion, and, therefore, create more sales. The insights provided by real-time data are essential to brands, retailers, and agencies who want to stay up-to-date on consumer activities and truly understand their customers’ needs.


BDEX, the first ever Data Exchange Platform (DXP), is currently the only source for true, real-time data. For more information about BDEX’s unique services, click here.

Image Credit: NEC Corporation of America

Is Your Big Data Dated? The Importance of Truly Real-Time Email Marketing

For contemporary email marketers, big data management is a critical tool for segmenting email lists and delivering relevant content offers. However, a recent survey of 1,300 email professionals indicated a serious ineffectiveness in how marketers apply big data assets to decision-making. VentureBeat’s analyst Jon Cifuentes described the issue as an “education problem,” citing issues with both major vendors and the data management skills of email marketers.

According to the subject matter experts at TowerData, the most commonly-reported data management issues among email marketers include:

  • Centralizing multiple sources of big data
  • Managing storage, application, and access processes
  • Applying real-time data for best results

 

For organizations who already have storage, application, and access managed via a data management platform (DMP), the cause of poor email marketing metrics is most often connected to data quality. Tower’s research indicates that brands too often rely exclusively on first-party insights, or outsource their data assets entirely to a third-party vendor. While the addition of the vendor’s third-party data can enhance understanding of contacts, these organizations are often sacrificing data recency for the sake of perceived simplicity.

 

Email isn’t Getting Simpler

 

Marketing experts have acknowledged that yielding positive returns on email marketing campaigns is growing more difficult, and the average open rate is just 16.5% across industries. Data is a “common denominator” for email marketers, but the companies who see positive returns are those who are bold enough to look beyond first-party insights and seek out solutions beyond the dated offerings of many major vendors.

 

Delivering email marketing messages that earn opens, click-throughs and sales requires an up-to-date understanding of prospective buyer’s needs that is typically only possible through a real-time Data Exchange Platform (DXP).

 

How Real-Time Big Data Impacts Email Marketing Metrics

 

For modern marketers, applying real-time data to email marketing efforts is among the top five ROI-driven priorities discovered in The Relevancy Group’s research. Additional studies indicates that the majority of marketers believe real-time data will have a bigger impact on email metrics than any other channel. By participating in a real-time Data Exchange Platform such as BDEX with a variety of vendors in an open marketplace agreement, brands can significantly improve their segmentation and targeting efforts without needlessly complex data management processes.

 

According to Adobe’s Mickael Bentz, real-time data is just as critical as technology when it comes to effective email marketing. For execution of high-return email marketing, you must look beyond internal understanding of customers to create “context-aware” communications. Important sources of real-time data, in addition to your own CRM insights, should include:

  • Surrounding context insights, such as weather or stock status
    User web analytics from desktop and mobile devices
  • Behavioral and event-triggered data, including career searches, loan applications, and transactional insights.

 

For organizations who utilize a marketplace such as BDEX to purchase insights directly from vendors, improving your email marketing campaigns requires a simple, two-part process:

 

  • Obtain: By integrating BDEX’s marketplace directly with your database of emails, you can select from a variety of real-time data insights driven by your contact’s web behavior, transactions, behavioral-triggers, and other factors. You’re able to purchase as much — or as little — as you wish, ultimately depending on your budget for the email campaign.

 

  • Match: Matching data insights with your contacts can be managed within your data management platform, allowing you to refine your segments and develop targeted offers in real-time.

 

Instead of relying on a third-party vendor to develop segments based on months-old search habits or other factors, marketers gain the ability to create real-time segments for truly targeted offers.

 

If your data insights are limited or aging, there’s a good chance that typical data management technologies aren’t enough to yield best-of-class email marketing practices. By shifting towards a real-time segmentation and offer delivery model, you can ensure you’re sending the right messaging to the right contacts, at precisely the right time.

 

For more information on how BDEX can integrate directly with your existing DMP or DSP technology, click here!

 

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When Your Audience Doesn’t Reflect Reality: Big Data Audience Building

Marketers understand that you simply can’t build audience groups on pure demographic factors. After all, Prince Charles of England and rocker Ozzy Osbourne are both British males of the same approximate age. However, it’s safe to say that a marketing message tailored for Ozzy wouldn’t necessarily convert the heir apparent, Prince Charles. Consumer preferences, motivations, and needs play a critical role in purchase decisions.

It’s clear that audience groups must be more sophisticated than demographics. Even deep demographic factors like income or family status don’t tell the full story. As Harvard Business Review’s (HBR) highlights, the sorts of audience groups that convert are rarely “created.” Instead, they’re “uncovered” through data analysis that incorporates behavioral clues from cookies, web analytics, user-generated content, and other big data sources.

Why Your Audience Groups aren’t Converting

Despite the fact that marketers understand what’s required to build audience groups, too few brands have segments that reflect reality. Information Week recently wrote about some of the “perils” of big data analysis biases, which can include:
● Selection Bias
● Inclusion of Outliers
● Overfitting and Underfitting
● Confirmation Bias
The term “data scientist” is ultimately accurate. To accurately understand patterns in reality, marketing teams must leverage enormous amounts of data to control against faulty results. If your big data audience segments are based on false positives from too-small or incomplete data sets, you could be suffering as a result. In one anonymous case study detailed by Information Week, a brand’s profit margin decreased significantly as a result of audience groups’ creation that didn’t control for bias.

Do You Trust Your Audience Analysis Methods?
Many marketers have developed some level of big data fluency. They understand some common analysis methods used to develop audience groups, such as clustering or linear analysis. Undergraduate studies of statistics has leant familiarity with concepts like sample size and statistical significance. An abundance of easy-to-use analytics tools allows marketers without extensive technology backgrounds to perform complex analyses in a point-and-click environment. However, a lack of big data resources has forced many marketing teams to rely on pre-formed audience groups from 3rd party vendors that are questionable in accuracy.

One large-scale study by HBR indicated that some 85% of product launches fail because of poor segmentation methods. Ineffective segmentation can have a significant impact on your brand’s profitability and outcomes. If you’re reliant on pre-packaged audience groups that you’ve purchased from a 3rd-party vendor, it’s likely time to refresh your segments. Join us as we review a new approach to building audience groups that convert.

1. Form Segment Hypotheses
Big data analysis for the purpose of segmentation is inherently scientific. The first step is to develop hypotheses about your segments. Based on what you know about your segment, you can develop a framework for analysis.
To avoid the risk of confirmation bias, your hypothesis should be based on known variables and goals. It could resemble the following statement:
Individuals who are seeking a mortgage for a second home are often 30-50 years
old with an income of $100,000 or more per annum.”
A correctly-formed hypothesis serves to narrow your analysis, while still providing room to discover behavioral and motivational insights.

2. Obtain and Combine Data
By participating in BDEX’s  Data Exchange Platform, marketers can gain immediate access to billions of data points in real-time. Marketers have the ability to set their own budget, and access insights on web behavior, preferences, and transaction history on consumers that match their existing contacts. Depending on your campaign goals and objectives, you can also opt to obtain contact information for additional prospects that match your goals and objectives. By connecting BDEX’s marketplace with your data management platform (DMP) tool, you can gain immediate access to fresh data insights.

3. Analyze
Effective marketing segmentation today has little resemblance to the mass marketing messages of yesterday. By obtaining third-party insights, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of how your contacts behave. This can lead to an understanding that your buyers prefer self-guided product research, are likely to have two children, or other rich factors that reveal segmentation without bias.
By allowing big data to form your segments without bias, you can avoid the risk of inaccurate results. BDEX’s open marketplace forum allows analysis with minimal risk of bias, due to the sheer volume of available insights.

4. Launch Advertising
Once you have developed rich, up-to-date and accurate market segments, you can launch advertising to connect with your audience groups. Instead of relying on months-old segments created by a third-party vendor, your marketing team has the power to continually test, iterate, and improve your audience groups.

For more insights on the power of real-time targeting for marketing initiatives with BDEX, click here!

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Does Your Data Need a “Spring Cleaning”?

In a previous blog post, we discussed the benefits of having a centralized marketplace, a location where brands, retailers, and agencies can source any type of third-party data they need. And while a DXP like BDEX makes the process easier, buyers may still feel overwhelmed by their choices:  Am I purchasing the right data? Not enough? Too much?

If your company has a plethora of data you don’t know what to do with, it may be time to organize your data and sort the treasures from the trash. And if you have holes in your data strategy, there’s no better time to easily resolve those issues.

Take Advantage of Custom Segment Building

The key to sourcing quality, third-party data is to know what you’re looking for. Who is your customer? What are their interests? What are their shopping habits? When you identify the common characteristics and habits of your clients, you buy only the data you really need. The BDEX Custom Audience Creator makes it easy to combine segments from over 5,500 different data categories, allowing brands to create the perfect custom audience.

Real-Time Data is Ideal

You can also give your data a good “spring cleaning” by making sure your data is timely. While most DMPs offer data that is at least one month old (or even older), BDEX has a wealth of real-time data sourced from thousands of websites and apps, allowing companies to execute the timeliest campaigns possible. The best part: when you buy data from the BDEX marketplace, you own, not rent, the data. You can even refresh the data once or as many times as you like.

Big Data Doesn’t Have to be Expensive Data

It’s important to be conscious of not only the data you buy but how much it costs. Traditional DMP services can cost thousands of dollars a month. BDEX offers a variety of solutions, including subscription services, that allow businesses the opportunity to use the BDEX marketplace without breaking the bank.

BDEX provides brands, retailers, and agencies with extensive, quality data from a variety of sources in a true marketplace environment. With over 20 billion data points tied to mobile IDs and every channel added to the marketplace each month, buyers can understand consumers like never before and create compelling campaigns that return real results. Email us for more information.

Image via Flickr/Philip Wilson

Why You Shouldn’t Limit Retargeting to Lost Customers

According to retailnext.net, at least four trillion dollars’ worth of merchandise was abandoned in online shopping carts in 2014 and over half of that amount is likely recoverable. So how do you turn those losses into gains? By retargeting—but not just any type of retargeting.

Modern consumers know they have the world at their fingertips—literally. They browse online stores, compare prices, read reviews, and more on their desktops, laptops, tablets, and smart phones. In short, consumers hold the power; they can either choose to boost a brand’s sales or purchase a different, and possibly cheaper, option. That’s why retargeting should be an essential step in every marketer’s strategy.

What is Retargeting?

Founder at AdProfs, a digital advertising consultancy in Canada, Ratko Vidakovic describes retargeting as a way “to show ads directly to visitors after they’ve left a site or landing page, providing multiple shots at the conversion.” Once a consumer visits a particular website, a piece of code is added to the landing page. A cookie is then placed in the shopper’s browser and she is added to a specific audience list and targeted with ads customized to meet her needs and interests.

Retargeting is not a new concept, however. Brands, retailers, and agencies have been taking advantage of this marketing tool for years. But why limit retargeting to only your lost customers? By taking advantage of the breadth of information in a data marketplace, like BDEX’s, you can retarget customers who not only visited your website but those who are shopping for your products or services elsewhere.

Why Retarget?


“It’s not uncommon to see amazing CTRs [click-through rates] with retargeting, anywhere from 0.30-0.95% – which is 3-10x higher than the industry average,” according to Vidakovic. In short, retargeting is a proven way to increase conversions and is more effective than regular targeting alone.


By courting consumers who have previously purchased or currently show interest in a product or service, marketers have a much better chance of increasing conversion rates. Retargeting potential consumers who have shopped for the same or similar items on other sites or apps increases the chances of boosting sales even more.


How Can I Retarget Better?


Most DMPs offer retargeting solutions in some form or another, but with an ever-changing marketplace to consider and new technological innovations being introduced constantly, taking advantage of the most advanced retargeting solutions can be difficult. A DXP like BDEX tracks millions of users across every channel, making it easy to target campaigns geared toward particular consumers. For example, if your business sells garden equipment, you can retarget ads to people who have either been to your website or recently bought garden equipment on another website or are in the market for new garden equipment. When you add a real-time element from outside your system to the scenario, you can find the most recent, relevant data possible. You can retarget with even greater specificity, leading to more sales.


Retarget better with BDEX. With over 20 billion new data signals on U.S. consumers every month, the BDEX marketplace is the most comprehensive data source of its kind. Whether you want to target—or retarget—consumers, the BDEX Data Exchange Platform offers in-depth insights perfect for any marketing campaign. To learn more about BDEX’s unique services, click here.

Image credit: Flickr/Bernard Goldbach

Using Too Many Data Sources? We Need a Centralized Marketplace

Data sourcing has never been a piece of cake. Brands, retailers, and agencies are always looking for the newest, most relevant data, but since the information first-party data provides is single-sourced, companies need to rely on third-party data for most of their campaigns.


Between managing each provider individually, overseeing numerous contracts, trying to match mobile IDs with email addresses, and weeding through the data, marketers hardly have the time to merge these disparate data sources let alone use the learned analytics effectively. With the advent of true data marketplaces, obtaining quality, real-time data pre-merged to a single unified ID is now as simple as shopping online.


Marketers have been reaping the benefits of third-party data for years, but the process of obtaining that information is easier said than done. While using third-party data allows brands and retailers to better understand their consumers, seemingly boundless intelligence can also be overwhelming. From hiring data scientists to dissect every statistic to creating an infrastructure to save every fact and figure, multisourcing is not only complicated but incredibly expensive.


A common challenge faced by marketers employing third-party data is knowing how to source, organize, and manage that abundance of information.


“The more variables you have, the more complex data gathering and consistent reporting becomes. Endless combinations of inputs and outputs can soon become unwieldy and hard to manage,” according to Greenstone, a leading provider of non-financial reporting software in the UK.


But sorting the information isn’t the only difficulty marketers face. They have to screen vendors, establish guidelines for data retrieval, address contract security and privacy issues, and manage the business relationship. In other words, utilizing a variety of analytics companies makes the data management process more complicated, more expensive, and more time-consuming. Often, after going through the trouble of obtaining the information, marketers find the acquired data to be too similar, stale, and, ultimately, not worth the trouble.


Another issue brands, retailers, and agencies face is linking IDs across multiple sites and platforms. Connecting users is especially important since mobile is “the leading digital platform, with total activity on smartphones and tablets accounting for 62 percent of digital media time spent, and apps alone now representing the majority of digital media time at 54 percent,” according to the 2015 US Mobile App Report.


Keith Sayewitz, Chief Marketing Officer at BDEX, believes that having a breadth of data that connects patterns and trends among consumers is essential to creating a successful campaign.


“When you get all of your data from a marketplace like BDEX’s, you’re not only receiving information from companies like Neustar but thousands of mobile devices and clicks in real time,” says Sayewitz. “The ability to link customers’ mobile, cookie, postal and email IDs makes the marketing process even more efficient.”


Marketers can then target customers from a variety of angles, increasing the chance of better results and ultimately a higher ROI. Though the development of linking big data is still a work in progress, the most innovative companies have begun taking advantage of the scale of information available and are acquiring pre-merged data from the marketplace.


BDEX provides brands, retailers, and agencies with extensive, quality data from a variety of sources in a true marketplace environment. With over 20 billion data points tied to mobile IDs and every channel added to the marketplace each month, buyers can understand consumers like never before and create compelling campaigns that return real results.

Image Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net/hywards