Finding The Right Data to Reach Your Target Audience

By Jennifer Pelino
SVP Omni Channel Media, IRI

There is a lot of debate lately on targeting, including whether precision is really worth the cost versus large-scale reach. You may be surprised to learn that you can have both and, no, you don’t have to compromise! How? Consumers are finally beginning to benefit from the increased connectivity and big data research that companies have been undertaking for the last several years, which means personalization is becoming a reality and can now be executed at scale. 

The Power of Personalization

The goal is to achieve maximum audience reach while getting the benefits of precision targeting. Precision is key because 50 percent of people will disregard a brand if it bombards them with ads or if they perceive that the ad is irrelevant to them. On the other hand, more than one-third – 36 percent – are more likely to buy from a brand that sends them personalized messages.  

So it is clear, now more than ever, that brands must personalize their digital media to consumers, ensuring relevancy and impact. However, accessing the right data to achieve precision at scale can be a murky journey, and advertisers and marketers need to investigate what data they are really getting.   

Data Challenges

With so many data-rich targeting options for your digital media campaigns, it can be difficult to fully understand exactly what and where your data is being sourced from. It’s even more difficult to decipher what type of data is best for your brand and specific campaigns.

Addressable media target audiences can be defined on first, second and/or third-party data based on data such as in-store purchases, shopping behavior, income, lifestyle interests and family composition. 

To get to the truth of which audiences you are receiving, you will need to push for greater quality control – and this must be at the forefront of your advertising strategy.  No data set is perfect, and a deeper dive is usually necessary to truly understand the most accurate data set for your needs. There is a lot of data to sift through so understanding the methodology and factors being used to measure is essential to getting the most out of the data and help you increase your bottom line.

As a first important step, you must understand the source and collection technique of the audiences. Is the data passively or actively collected from consumers?  Is it survey, demographical, purchase or contextual data?  The answers to these questions will help determine if you are working with the right vendor to help answer your brand objective. 

Also, you’ll want to ensure that you understand the recency, frequency and consistency at which the data is collected and refreshed. This can mean the difference between reaching someone at the precise point in their purchase cycle and completely missing your window of opportunity. Vendors often don’t communicate data refreshment and its frequency; hence, you could be achieving your reach with an irrelevant group of consumers. 

Validated or Modeled Data?

Finally, many claim their audiences are developed from purchase-based targeting. This is positive as they are known buyers. However,finding out what proportion of the audience is validated versus look–alike modeling will help you understand if your goal of precision at scale is realized. 

Inaccurate purchase propensity data that feeds these look-alike models often do not have a strong backbone of data that feeds the modeling. This means implementing multiple targeting tactics, from demographic to contextual to archive reach, doesn’t provide satisfactory accuracy at any cost.  

Transparency is accuracy and quality. Demand to know what percentage of the audience is verified (purchase-based) versus modeled. An audience of anything less than 60 percent verified gravely limits quality. Ultimately, the more knowledgeable we are about an audience, the more likely a campaign will be successful.

Today it is possible to achieve 100 percent verified audience targets with the big data sets available, and it’s important to do so as the benefits for the advertiser far outweigh a concern of a slightly higher CPM.  Verified audiences improve overall value, as they achieve 3X improved lift and 4X greater ROI than non-verified based targeting campaigns. 

Targeting for Results

Imprecise targeting is always a lose/lose proposition. Advertisers end up spending time and budget on campaigns that fail to deliver desired results while shoppers receive more ads that aren’t relevant or personalized to their needs. To avoid these targeting pitfalls and enhance impact and lift, advertisers must begin targeting efforts with a deep understanding of the media consumption patterns of their high-gain target audiences.  

It takes some additional diligence, planning and analysis to pair the right audience with the appropriate message, but this is the only way to ensure that your campaign meets its objectives.

Follow Jennifer Pelino (@JenniferJPelino) and IRI (@IRIworldwide) on Twitter.
SHARE: LinkedIn - Twitter - Facebook