Are you at the point where your on-site behavioral targeting program is pushing its boundaries for improvement? Perhaps your conversion rates have been optimized and are starting to show less overall improvement--even as user traffic continues to grow.
Where do you look for the next step to improve site performance? Microsegmentation? More A/B testing?
Try looking at an existing partner--one that has already invested in similar user-based targeting programs. Who is this unlikely partner? Your ad network. Yes, the one you pay dollar after dollar, relying on its network of Web sites and affiliates to drive additional leads and visitors to your site.
In many cases, your ad network has already done the heavy lifting of identifying your visitors and tracking their behavior--and has even delivered an ad or two based on predetermined criteria. In developing your relationship with an ad network, you have already specified your target profiles. Once this visitor passes through its network and into your site, where is all the data that is collected along the way?
For most businesses, their knowledge is limited to knowing what ads visitors clicked on or what display ads they were exposed to. Is this helpful? Yes, of course. It allows you to deliver a corresponding landing page, offer, or some combination of both based on their last action. But what if you were to tap into their entire behavioral profile--and extend that to your site?
As ad network consolidation continues and major content providers look to sell and manage ad space directly to buyers, ad networks are seeking new audiences and opportunities to commoditize their data. Buying and integrating ad data from your ad network or third-party data provider could be the next step in the evolution of this complex relationship, as well as your on-site behavioral targeting program, now bolstered with rich external data. In many ways, ad networks have a unique opportunity to deliver not just targeted ads, but the profile and/or history of a specific consumer.
While this might seem like a compelling opportunity to enhance your optimization program--a few potential roadblocks to this panacea of targeting could exist:
- Data integrity: How well can you trust the data coming from anyone outside of your organization? Are you comfortable accepting external data at face value--and using it to render unique content and offers? What is the risk of getting this wrong?
- Pre-existing behavioral groups: To take advantage of this new data set, your business must not only have confidence in the data coming in, but the framework to support it. This means you need to have your segments well-defined, and your business rules ready to go, when the visitor arrives.
For businesses that can handle this mass amount of data, consider engaging with your ad network to see how you can take advantage of its insights and information.
If your organization isn't quite ready to take this step, then take advantage of all of the requirements you originally gave your ad network when establishing your original arrangement. Make sure you're leveraging the same segmentation criteria as the ad network--and start testing. Even if you can't make the leap to taking its data, you can certainly test your original targeting criteria and optimize your spend.
Read Andrea Fishman's previous article, "Using Behavioral Targeting To Build A Relationship."