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Thursday, 3 January 2013

New Age digital targeting

Digital advertising in the age of mobile devices needs to become smarter, less intrusive and more interactive in order to engage the interest of customers. Technology today makes it possible for marketers to collect extremely  fine-grained and rich user data which enables precise profiling and targeting. On the other hand, customer concerns about data privacy and tracking are growing, fuelled by the public debates and controversies around terms of service agreements announced by social networks like Facebook and Instagram. The challenge for digital marketers is to walk the thin line between adding value and utility to consumer's lives without invading their privacy unduly.

Let's look at some of the interesting technologies that facilitate digital targeting and how they are being applied to market new products and services. All the examples highlight a newly emerging reality - marketers are trying harder to engage intelligently and relevantly with customers as individuals rather than bombarding them with communication.

1. Innovative geo-targetting

The utility of maps and GPS on smart devices has fuelled the appetite of consumers for real-time updates and offers. Businesses too are evolving creative ways of tapping this data for their advantage. Location-based analytics firm Placed offers a unique spin on collecting geo-location data of customers with their consent and knowledge. When customers download and use the Placed App, the company gives them points which can be redeemed to donate to selected charities like the American Red Cross and Make-a-wish foundation. In return, Placed collects and aggregates location data for its analytics business.

Popular geolocation app FourSquare has recently announced that businesses using the service will be able to see recent check-ins as compared to a time-bound summary which they were shown earlier. This will enable the businesses to identify and offer special services to customers.

Another interesting example of location-based advertising is 'geo-fencing' - a guest post on VentureBeat by James Harrison shares an interesting example. Clothing giant Gap placed ads at bus stops and public transit locations and 'geo-fenced' them so that customers entering the geo-fenced area were sent mobile messages through select apps offering discounts at Gap. Harrison notes that the campaign received an above average CTR of 0.93.

Source : VentureBeat

2. Interactive advertising

French start up Phonitive recently announced an interactive video technology called Touchalize, which promises to make video advertising  more richer and engaging for customers. Designed for touchscreen devices, Touchalize allows end-users to manipulate and customise video content - for example, tapping on the car featured in a car ad allows you to change the color, while tapping in another section of video brings up a list of features and an option to book a test drive - all done without leaving the video. Even more interestingly, you can super-impose your picture on the actor featured in the ad and become a 'star'. Such functionality promises to make ads more engaging and also increases your chances of viral advertising - wouldn't you love to share the ad you customised with your friends?

Source : TheNextWeb

3. Matching offline and online behaviour

Facebook has started offering advertisers a new custom audience targeting product which clients can use to cross-reference user data they have collected (like phone numbers or email IDs) with the Facebook database. This can be used to serve targeted ads on Facebook pages of these users. The campaigns can also utilise a tracking cookie called a 'conversion pixel' which lets advertisers measure the success of these ads - whether the user clicks, ignores or actually buys something.

Google has launched a new advertising product called 'conversions' API, a software tool that allows businesses to compare offline conversions with digital campaigns, thereby measuring their impact. For example, let's say a customer is browsing the web and sees a targeted search ad, which he clicks on. The ad contains a phone number, which he calls to order, or make an inquiry about a product. Google Analytics can track the ad viewing behaviour, but not the call, which happens offline. An advertiser can however, upload the call number and link it to a specific campaign.

Source : Business Insiderthe Doubleclick blog