Putting Programmatic to Work by Organising Audience Insights

June 2015

Audience insights boost advertising impact by fostering relevance. Insights mean brands can convert a basic understanding of an audience into precisely defined, targetable segments. When brands use programmatic buying to activate a segment, the data underlying the audience insights can inform media buying one impression at a time. The resulting ad impressions have a level of relevance that inspires people to take action, over and above what they may have had through traditional buys.

Brands are embracing programmatic to measure what matters, establish one-to-one connections with audiences at scale, engage across screens and access top-quality inventory. In order to put the power of programmatic to work a brand must first organise its audience insights.

When your brand can demonstrate its relevance at a key moment that matters to the consumer, it will reap rewards in the form of sales, loyalty and brand advocacy. Successfully resonating with consumers comes down to audience data; this holds the information that brands need to be relevant. Brands that can own their data and organise their insights are best positioned to appeal to audiences and increase the impact of their advertising. In this area, three guidelines underpin a strong strategy.

Comprehensive data is best

Data is powerful, but all too often it is divided into silos by digital channel and device. The most powerful audience insights bring all silos together to reveal consumer interactions across channels and screens.

  • Our Recommendation: Invest in a tag management system to gather first-party audience data. Ideally the solution should provide quick access, organisation and flexibility with data sets across all devices.

Real-time data is imperative

Audience insights that flow into a system in real-time enable actionable decisions. In just an instant, an in-market buyer can make a purchase and cease to be in-market. In another instant, a cold prospect can become a paying customer. Staying aware of these kinds of changes will enable brands to optimise their relevance to the current moment. Consumers act in real-time, and so should data.

  • Our Recommendation: Work towards a comprehensive view of audience engagement by aggregating first, second and third-party data sources, digital analytics data, offline data, CRM data and campaign data — in real-time whenever possible. Each captured interaction between the audience and brand will make it smarter than the last, so start by taking advantage of the data you currently have available, and build from there.

Relevance is easier when audiences are precisely defined

With a strong data foundation in place, brands can precisely define the audience they want to reach, making it easier for them to be relevant.

  • Our Recommendation: Regularly analyse audience, creative and media insights to learn what's working and what's not. Choose an analytical tool with attribution modelling in order to see which channels are most successfully engaging audiences. Compare campaign performance across channels. Then, explore which audiences are the most profitable, which audiences engaged the most with a campaign and which creative units resonated with different audiences. Act on the insights by adjusting on the audience strategy, creative strategy, media strategy, or all three.

Great marketing starts and ends with the audience. The efforts that a brand invests in understanding its audience — such as obtaining audience data and organising insights across channels and screens — will help ensure relevance when it matters most. In short, a strong foundation of audience insights is critical to programmatic buying success.

Perspectives on programmatic