July 16, 2013

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Ad Targeting in the Hyper-Connected World

Ad Targeting in the Hyper-Connected World
Targeted advertising aims to deliver focused messages to consumers based on their known demographic, behavioral or geographical attributes. What is known about the audience determines which ads they get to see. So the more we know about the audience, the better results we can get in this game. Today’s hyper-connected world has opened flood gates of information regarding the consumers and therefore, achieving better targeting, brand engagement and conversion rates have become much easier. However, the effectiveness of how well the campaign delivers “out there” is contingent on what goes “in here” in the ad serving, targeting and buying systems and processes.

Chasing the hyper-connected consumer is challenging
As being online or “connected” becomes both an imperative and an addiction of sorts, consumers remain plugged into whatever device is conveniently available. Doing everything everywhere from surfing the web, watching videos, listening to music, playing games, accessing social media, news and information services on the go are now becoming the much enjoyed privileges of the hyper-connected world. And so, the screen journey continues through multiple devices available across work and leisure. A key challenge for advertisers is that the pattern of device usage and switching of screens is very individualized and quite unpredictable. In short, the consumer is moving the goal post continuously between various touch points and channels, and advertising campaigns need to not only acknowledge this fact but deliver consistent, relevant and engaging messages across all of them.

Automated solutions rule the roost
The continuous interactions while hopping across various devices and channels generates tons of digital footprints in its trail. Automated solutions play a big role in making sense of this data by categorizing, profiling and mapping the audience micro-segments to relevant and targeted ads. In fact, ad management solutions prove to be a win-win for all parties involved. Consumers benefit by viewing ads which are more relevant to them even as publishers can garner better returns. Advertisers can use these platforms to execute campaigns that resonate with target markets. A solution which combines traditional advertising techniques with digital marketing options becomes all the more palatable to the advertisers by offering them the best of both the worlds.

Ad exchanges and real time bidding are considered to be the next big things in the advertising world. Wikipedia defines ad exchanges as technology platforms that facilitate the bidded buying and selling of online media advertising inventory from multiple ad networks. In the background, such platforms consolidate the impressions from multiple ad networks and map them to relevant ads per the target and budget prescribed by the advertiser. Real Time Bidding (RTB) offers efficient and more granular targeting at cost effective rates. RTB is based on the concept of dynamic auction which lets publishers get the maximum price offered by advertisers for each impression in almost real time. Ad serving solutions dynamically insert ads in websites across various devices and browsers based on targets specified while collecting viewing data for measurement purposes.

Demand side platforms offer ad buyers such as agencies and large advertisers a single interface to buy from multiple sources of inventory using real time bidding. Supply Side Platforms are used by large publishers to glean revenue enhancing insights from data pertaining to the bidding process. Standard functionalities to create campaigns, manage ad operations, analyze traffics and configure workflows are usually bundled with these solutions.

A wish list for targeted advertising solutions
A one-stop holistic marketing solution that offers targeted advertising along with the functionality to craft the end-to-end brand engagement strategy can increase efficiency greatly by streamlining the whole marketing process. Advertising platforms that provide options to integrate with systems such as CRM, mobile apps, content management and customer support systems can also help in extending these benefits by automating more marketing-related processes. Options to configure business rules and algorithms provide more fine-grained control of real-time targeting across different touch points. Also, for better fine tuning of the targeting process, it is important that we incorporate a lot of audience attributes such as user location, device, and time of day. At the same time, incorporating a lot of feedback metrics will result in better visibility into the campaign effectiveness. The best advertising platforms provide a unified view, or dashboard, by consolidating the customer interactions and campaign performance metrics across various touch points. Clearly In today’s hyper connected world, the battle for the audience has intensified, and in the new normal, the sophistication of data, analytics and automation powering the advertisement targeting solution will win the game.Visit HCL Tech's Advertising Services division to know about customized advertising solutions.