Activating media in the right place at the right time has long been the goal for marketers, and the growing sophistication of marketing technologies in the past few years have evangelised the use of big data and helped marketers make smarter decisions about media activation. This positive development has encouraged marketers to sharpen the focus on achieving contextual relevance in campaigns and delivering better brand experiences for users.
However, an ongoing challenge for marketers is knowing what to do with the endless, growing supply of audience data and how to use it effectively to drive meaningful ROI. A one-size-fits-all formula is not the answer here. Instead, marketers should consider different types of data to see what it reveals about the audiences and how it can a build a comprehensive view of audience mindset.
One of the ways of looking at audience data is through historic, real-time and predictive lens, with each yielding different insights for marketers. Understanding the benefits of these three types of data insights is a good first step towards thinking about audience mindsets holistically for media activation.
To fully understand the present and the future, we must look at the past. Like historians, today's marketers should also embrace this attitude to secure valuable learnings around how their customers act and what they respond to.
This means looking back to identify any patterns and trends around behaviour, such as online and offline user journeys, engagement trends and purchase behaviour. Depending on a brand's existing levels of engagement with customers, marketers can access a wide range of online data based on social media, web, mobile and app activity. Offline data such as in-store CRM databases can also be included. It's key to think beyond online data because a great deal of customer activity still takes place offline.
Historic data can also be used as references and benchmarks in campaign planning. For marketers looking to activate around events in real-time, it can be useful to look back at audience data from previous years to see if there are patterns and trends to learn from. For always-on campaigns, historic data is valuable for understanding the impact of seasonal changes on audiences and campaign performance.
Through new marketing technologies, marketers can also access proprietary audience data at the historic level to increase access to audience groups for targeting.
Real-time data is valuable because it helps marketers understand mindsets as they happen and evolve. Sometimes this data reflects events happening in real life, such as the changes in the weather or a live sporting event. Other times the data reflects organic developments, such as trending topics on social media. Whatever the source, marketers that leverage real-time data benefit from the opportunity to engage with audiences in the right moment, right mindset.
The magic happens when real-time data works with programmatic to create an extra layer of sophistication - this is the use of real-time data to inform activation decisions and dynamic creative, with granular targeting and programmatic delivery at scale. Marketers have the opportunity here to make data-backed decisions to target audiences in specific mindsets and tailor creative messaging to enhance engagement. As the conversation changes in real-time, so can the messaging.
Just like Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, once a marketer has visited the data of a customer’s past and present, the game changer comes from having an idea of what is likely to happen in the future.
Through a combination of historic and real-time data, patterns and trends, marketers can intelligently assess and predict how a trend will develop and in what areas consumption will increase. Predictive data can provide marketers with insight on campaign performance and help to improve the optimisation and cost efficiency.
In summary, the beauty of audience data is that marketers can slice and dice it however they like to yield relevant insights and targeting parameters for a campaign. Marketers can rely too heavily on pre-defined ideas of audiences and operate on assumptions. An outcome of this is that marketers are limited to pre-determined profiles and lose out on the opportunity to identify new audiences and more relevant targeting segments. One of the ways to overcome this is to use historic, real-time and predictive data to gain a comprehensive view of audience behaviour and mindset for better, more impactful targeting and engagement.
By David Barker, managing director & senior vice president at Amobee EMEA
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