Micro Targeting Using Paid and Owned Media

Vishal Agrahari, Media Head, BC Web Wise

Vishal Agrahari, Media Head

A much more specific form of market segmentation is possible today, as opposed to the generic profiling of consumers that erstwhile marketers used to conduct. This provides impetus to micro targeting- personalized marketing tactics relevant for a small, well-defined group, in contrast to large-scale campaigns for broad segments.

The need for narrower segmenting, and coming up with well defined groups in order to streamline your marketing efforts, has made micro targeting gain increasing prominence.

The Crux of Micro targeting

With its original roots in the political arena of tracking, segmenting and subsequently influencing individual voting behaviors in major election campaigns, micro targeting has come a long way.

The crux of micro targeting lies in the fundamental concept that the more precise you are in tracking the needs, wants and attitudes of your potential customers, the wider are your chances of reaching out to them exactly when and how they want you to. In line with this requirement, the recent years have witnessed a rise in the micro targeting options provided by social media giants like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, that include Reach Blocks, Page Post Links, Promoted Posts, Geo targeting, Sponsored Updates and so on.

For instance, if you are an e-commerce store selling anti-ageing products for women above the age of 40 years, creating a micro targeted Facebook ad would be a powerful way of reaching out to your target audience. Apart from specifying the location ( a cluster of cities, 10-50 miles in the vicinity of each other can be chosen for one ad), age (40 and above), gender (female), general interests (Health and Well Being) and precise interests (Beauty Products/Cosmetics/Beauty Tips/Anti Ageing), you also have advanced targeting (http://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/4127-How-to-Target-Facebook-Ads-to-your-Audience ) options like custom audiences and lookalike audiences.

In 2013, Twitter introduced TV Targeting which is yet another powerful way of targeting specific groups, by channelizing real time content and ads to target the increasing number of consumers who watch TV on their smartphones or tabs. Aptly categorized into TV Ad Targeting and TV Conversation Targeting, a number of brands like Adidas, Jaguar and Holiday Inn reaping its benefits. (https://business.twitter.com/tv-targeting )

Owned Media: Micro Targeting for Long-Term Relationships

There is often a very thin line that demarcates micro targeting and intrusive marketing, and this can be understood better by clearly defining your short-term and long-term marketing objectives, validating your data, and paying genuine attention towards what your customers really want. The basic principle is to understand when and where the potential customer is actually looking for information, and reaching out to them only then.

Marketers tend to cross the line and become intrusive when they try to force their offerings upon customers when they are not looking for it. So no matter how alluring an offer on a random, unwarranted pop-up ad might be, it will in all probability be found to be intrusive (and annoying) by a potential customer. On the other hand, putting your best foot forward where the end-user is actually looking for a good offer, is the way to go in micro targeting. For instance, the behaviorally targeted ads of Amazon and EBay, based upon the search history and browsing patterns of users have enabled thousands of e-commerce stores to reach out to the right consumers, at the right time and right place.

As far as cost effectiveness, control, versatility and establishing a long-term rapport with a nice audience is concerned, your owned media channels will always provide you with an upper hand. In fact, the right use of owned media micro targeting techniques can work wonders for your marketing campaign. And with all the clutter that customers finds around themselves today, it is equally important to create high-impact, engaging and personalized content to stand out in the sea of mediocrity.

Stepping out of the realm of social media, even online communities offer vast potential for micro-targeting. The Geo-Educator Community formed by National Geographic has been pivotal in increasing the brand’s engagement levels with the teaching community across the world. Even the simplest of features in your owned media channels can be harnessed for targeting specific groups. For example, you can customize your Facebook pages with different custom banners or cover photos for different groups, rather than having a standardized banner for all. So if you are selling a product for pre-teens and teens, and you want to drive a message across to parents as well, your customized banners will enable you to micro target these groups separately, and in the most effective manner.

Paid Media Micro Targeting: Broadening Your Horizons

Very often, well-charted and high-budget marketing campaigns fail to bring in results, because it failed to reach the right audience at the right time. For reaching out to the group that is most relevant to your organization, opting for paid media micro targeting options, such as display ads, paid search sponsorship, or even outsourcing your requirements to an established digital marketing company, is necessary.

While owned media has its own significant role to play in projecting your brand, its scope will always remain limited. Take for instance, the significant role of micro targeting in movie promotions, as opposed to the kind of promotional activities that were conducted a decade earlier. With teasers and trailers going viral on YouTube, and content being directed towards key audiences groups on Twitter and Facebook, digital micro targeting has been instrumental in the success of many movies today. Who would have thought that a limited release, $5-million budget movie like Spring Breakers, would gross $31 million purely on account of its social media campaign, intensively targeting teenagers and youngsters on Twitter and Facebook.

The magic of micro targeting is also evident in the realm of book promotions. In the words of renowned Author Amish Tripathi, who is accredited with the fastest selling book series in the history of Indian publishing, it was the digital media that came to his rescue, when the mainstream media ignored his books. By providing the first chapter of ‘The Immortals of Meluha’ for free on his Facebook page generating instant word-of-mouth, and targeting YouTube users by creating a short, high-impact YouTube trailer based on his book (the first of its kind in the history of Indian Publishing), he was successful in selling 1.7 million copies of the book, and has paved the way for other Indian writers to follow similar digital marketing techniques today.

The Way Ahead

The key to success in micro targeting lies in focusing on the relevance of the parameters that you use for categorizing your target groups. Once you get the basis of your categorization or profiling right, it becomes easier to focus on your audience, thoroughly understand their needs and sensibilities. Leveraging multichannel campaigns with a combination of owned and paid media channels, is what comes next. For all the digital marketing professionals who haven’t started their journey in micro targeting, the time is ripe to commence now!

Aspirations, Being Replaced By Trends?

Ranjan Nautiyal, Creative Director, BC Web Wise

Writer At BC Web Wise

A lot is said about targeted advertising. That it reaches only the right people, at just the right time. That it is the perfect push, sending across the message to the perfect target audience, at that point in his or her day when they just couldn’t have done without your product. That there is more bang for buck, and that relevant advertising saves spill-over.

So no toddler will ever watch a shaving cream ad, or a teenager a diaper ad, or a married couple a college ad, or an old couple a new house ad.

Which brings us to the spill-over effect called aspiration.

Many of us grew up watching beer ads that we instinctively reached for once we crossed over to the drinking age. The bikes on our must-have lists continue to be dreams, but they have been parked there since the time our legs couldn’t reach the gear-shift. Someday, the teen out there will be a father who will see a diaper brand at a retail store and pick it up as a feeling of familiarity will run through his veins, unknown to him, as he watches it on the store shelf. A woman who just got married will take one look at a spice brand and without knowing exactly where she had seen it last, will pick it up, connecting it loosely with her childhood days.

It is well known now that the internet has narrowed our vision, killed our spirit of exploration by serving up things according to our known interests. And if treated by brands only as a means of targeting to minimise spill-overs, it might stop reaching people who would have otherwise grown up dreaming of it, aspiring to own it some day.

Which doesn’t quite mean that targetting is all bad, or misplaced. But it has a role to play. The medium itself needs to go beyond, and start sooner. And deliberately reach out to an audience that may not be in the buying stage, but is in one that will make it aspire to brands, and dream of holding them some day.

Or we will soon run out of brands, and only have trends that pass on with a generation.

Can A Specialist Digital Agency Help In Improving Your ROI

Asha Ravaliya, CFO, BC Web Wise

Asha Ravaliya, is CFO at BC Web Wise

In the new world of marketing, Return on Investment (ROI) has become a key performance indicator for marketing managers. The shift is towards a real-time approach to evaluate how well marketing strategy is working, and how and where money can be best spent. Ideas are still the foundation of creative strategy, but it today has to match the medium of advertising – and most importantly, deliver the goods.

BUDGETING FOR TRADITIONAL V/S DIGITAL ADVERTISING

Digital spends have started carving out a bigger chunk of the advertising pie.  But it is not just the incremental monies that are increasing. No longer do traditional/mainline ad agencies monopolize the client’s time on planning for a campaign. Most clients who have realized the digital opportunity involve their digital agencies right from the beginning of a launch/campaign. Joint meetings are held for the briefs, and thereon for shaping the entire campaign. And given the spread of digital work, often enough more time is spent in doing spadework together with the agency on all the digital touch points, and the customized communication that one needs for each.

SO CAN DIGITAL AGENCIES DELIVER BETTER

A specialist digital advertising firm thrives on digital business. Your business is critical to digital outfits, and as a result there is no choice but to be very responsible for delivering returns. Work with a digital arm of a large advertising agency, if you can treat the digital arm independent of how you treat the mainline. Expect a common spread sheet for budgeting, measuring deliverables, and you risk undermining the extent to which you can exploit digital power.

IT IS SIMPLE MATH

If your overall advertising spend has anything less than 10 per cent on digital, but natural that your full-service agency will be biased towards the medium that has the higher spends. Unwittingly digital work can get a step-motherly treatment, even if the top brasses of the network realize that digital is the next wave. This is simply because right here, right now, the team that’s working on your project has to act on the entire budget allocated to them. With campaign pressures, it would be very difficult to focus on deliverables from the smaller of the campaign elements, however critical it might have appeared at the start. Even you as a client, may allow digital to take a backseat since the agency is finally going to be measured with the total scores on the report card.

HOW CAN YOU HELP YOUR DIGITAL AGENCY TO DELIVER BETTER ROI

Considering that you have indeed allocated smaller of the budgets to a digital agency, the best way to help the one who is working for you is by giving them a better leverage on budgets by centralizing the work on all your brands with a single agency. So other than having better understanding of the digital medium, the need for the digital agency to deliver, bigger budgets that result due to centralization can give your agency better economies of scale, be it related to optimization of media budgets, dedicated resources on your account, investing in research, tools, etc. A single AOR for digital medium for all the brands can help securing the volume the agency will need, and will finally benefit you as the client. Clients can also get better rates having consolidated their business and assuring revenue to its digital agency, all finally resulting in better ROI.

DIGITAL AGENCIES WORK WITH SMALLER OVERHEADS

Mainline agencies that have been around for a longer time, and have managed to build layers of cost that add to their overheads. Moreover digital work is often outsourced by the larger agencies, and they do add their premium to the costs actually incurred. Digital agencies have largely emerged only in the last decade. Since budgets have always been smaller for digital work, specialist digital agencies have learnt to keep their costs in control, being wary of large sized conference rooms, work stations, walled cabins, limos for their top brass, and all the perks that may have come with it. A purchase manager while negotiating and justifying why he paid more for a mainline agency simply stated that it was fair because of the overheads they had, siting the office location, the size of their office, etc. Really, it is time to step back and take a look at the amount of investment that is going into addressing nice-to-haves that your brand might not be in a position to address today.

CREATE COMPETITION & BENEFIT WITH HARDER WORKING AGENCIES

By keeping two separate agencies for traditional medium and digital medium, you do keep both your agencies on their toes. Larger agencies are waiting to grab the digital business, and the smaller digital agencies just work harder to deliver and build client relationships and incremental allocations of budgets as well as keeping any competition at bay.

Your advertising rupee will really turn to be the investment it is meant to be, and not an expense that it often turns out as, if done with the 3Rs – Right medium, Right budget & Right partner