BREAKING NEWS & VIEWS
Key Points to Successful Audience Targeting
Friday, March 9, 2012
In fact, I commented in my latest Bizo blog post that a recent Pew Research study arrived at some misleading conclusions because Pew focused on premium ad placements (e.g., home-page sponsorships) as it evaluated the application and/or absence of audience targeting offering by large news publishers. I won’t reiterate that particular discussion here, but it got me to thinking about what are some of the best practices that the most forward-thinking publishers are using to leverage audience-targeting.
Based on our experience working with more than 1,800 B2B publishers – small, medium and large – here are some key things that we’ve seen work well with publishers who are “getting it right.”
You Need Scale to ScaleOne key to successful audience targeting is to know when it makes sense – or doesn’t make sense - as a strategy. Not every publisher should be offering audience targeting as a solution. As mentioned above, every publisher should certainly consider it – if for no other reason than advertisers are asking– but you should make a conscious and calculated decision about whether your organization will really benefit by offering it.
And, the first question you should ask yourself is, “Do we have enough scale (i.e., monthly unique visitors [MUVs] and/or inventory) to build a meaningful audience targeting program?” To get specific, we gear our Private Audience Targeting solution to publishers with at least 2 million MUVs. In certain circumstances, we’ve seen publishers build a meaningful audience targeting business with smaller audiences, but if you have less than 1 million MUVs, then I would seriously question whether launching an audience targeting solution is going to be a fruitful endeavor.
Do the math. If you’ve only got a few hundred-thousand monthly unique visitors, by the time that you overlay audience data (first-party, third-party or some combination of the two) and start slicing and dicing your audience into targetable segments, you’ll be challenged finding any segments that are large enough to matter to either your advertisers and/or your sales team.
Sell What You’ve GotMy father – a serial retail entrepreneur – had a framed cartoon that he kept on his desk that pictured a couple of chefs and several waiters standing around an enormous fish lying on the prep table. The caption read - ‘Push the salmon with dill sauce!’ - which of course is a clever way of saying “focus most of your selling activities on that which you have the most to sell.”
We have seen several publishers make the mistake of going hog-wild with audience targeting and roll out 57 different audience segments on day 1 – only to learn (the hard way) that although it’s kind of cool that you can target left-handed accounting executives in Fargo, it turns out there are only two of them…and one never visits your site.
Instead, the best practice that we’ve seen deployed by publishers who are really ramping their audience-targeting revenues is to start by rolling out a very small handful of segments – typically no more than three to five – that represent the biggest audience sub-segments within their site traffic. That’s the salmon! Starting with a focused set of segments has the added benefit of making it easier to train your sales team and frankly, significantly improves how quickly they become comfortable presenting and up-selling audience segments. And, you’ll generally find that as they become more comfortable, they’ll actually start asking for additional audience segments – which you can likely support, but simply chose not to expose during launch. Think of those as special menu requests; i.e., dill sauce on the side, please.
This is an excerpt by Bizo's corporate development officer Bryan Burdick.
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