Relevance. In digital marketing, it’s what brands covet and what publishers strive to provide. Relevance is the driving force behind behavioral marketing, contextual advertising, native — and virtually everything in between.
A recent study from Cisco on shopping behavior found that the majority of consumers welcome — and even expect — hyper-relevant content and special offers from retailers. A similar survey from Accenture found 49% of consumers “would not object to having their buying behavior tracked” if it would allow brands to deliver more relevant offers.
That mindset is making its way to display advertising as well. In both search and social media, ad relevance is tantamount to campaign success. Just as Google prioritizes keyword relevance, Facebook recently began assigning relevance scores to its ads. The new metric anticipates the volume of positive and negative consumer feedback, along with interactions, that an ad will receive.
Here are some other ways that brands can produce highly relevant campaigns.
Aside from media buying efficiency, ad relevance is one of the greatest benefits of running a programmatic campaign, and it’s helping to fuel the industry’s incredible growth. According to eMarketer, programmatic display ad spending is expected reach $14.88 billion this year — an increase of 45% over 2014. By the end of 2015, 55% of all U.S. display ads will be purchased using programmatic technology.
Because it allows for data-driven targeting in real time, this kind of automated media buying can be used to identify target consumers wherever they are and match ad to audience at just the right time. “In the pre-programmatic era, an advertiser was only able to target based on generic, mass audience data,” says Scott Rosenblum, president of technology company Neutrino Media Group. “However, this didn’t provide any information on specific brand affinity or recency of interest. Combining programmatic buying with relevance using contextual targeting is the real value proposition of programmatic campaigns.” And as Rosenblum point outs, relevance plays “a critical role” in improving brand affinity and meeting campaign performance goals.
Go niche on social
A good way to ensure ad relevance is by focusing on context. Chris Smith, founder and chief executive (CEO) of online community Athlete Network, says that even with precision targeting Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn campaigns are often too broad. “Try as they might to filter into specific industries or demographics, these larger networks can’t collect the right data and insights to help brands truly understand the attributes and traits that are important to their customers’ lifestyles,” Smith says.
Launched in 2014, Athlete Network is a Facebook-alternative intended specifically for athletes nationwide. It currently has 170,000 members and offers sponsored posts and email campaigns along with alternative advertising options like custom lead-generating microsites. Says Smith, “Athlete Network and other niche social networks ask the right questions, curate the right content, and collect the right data to (deliver) more relevancy for all parties involved.” He adds, “If you don’t recognize what really matters to your audience, you can’t provide relevant content and conversation.”
Match format to audience
When you’re planning a campaign, selecting the right ad format is a question of environment, availability, and of course, audience. To generate interest in its vehicles among a target audience of Millennials, Toyota partnered with BuzzFeed to create a collection of native ad content that resonates with these young consumers.
Included in the campaign are two online quizzes promoting the Toyota Camry. One was developed in Spanish, a first for BuzzFeed, while the second was designed to leverage “The Bold New Camry” tag line. The Camry program saw a social lift of 1.3 times (for every 10 people who saw the content through paid media, three more viewed it through shares).
BuzzFeed quizzes have seen an increase in interest since 2014; its most popular effort has received 41 million views to date. That said, the publisher is just as well known for its videos, another Millennial-friendly format. With this in mind Toyota also worked with BuzzFeed Motion Pictures’ Branded Video division to create “First Car Vs. REAL Car”. The two-minute branded video received more than 1 million views within its first two weeks online and is now at 2.7 million and climbing. “Everything we do is custom,” says Jonathan Perelman, vice president, Motion Pictures at BuzzFeed. “Our focus on data and insights impacts not only our audience from a targeting perspective from our social discovery team, but also from our creative in the ideation of the content.”