Audience vs. Behavior and Targeted Marketing

We search for things on the Internet constantly. Seeking a quick answer to a question, looking up a product for ourselves or someone else, checking the weather, researching a TV show, etc. etc. And, as marketers know, each one of those search engine queries tells the ad network (Google) a little about who you are and/or your intent and, poof, you’re steadily served a stream of ads related to those nuggets of knowledge. But this is inherently flawed; based upon ephemeral needs and demographic presumptions (as well as family members on the same computer).

It was the best we could do. Until now?

Facebook recently purchased ad serving network Atlas, a major move that will help Facebook’s analytics and ad service dive (and react) deeply, based on its data, user actions over time (including websites visits), and known profile/demographic info. Their pitch is that, unlike cookies (which time out and don’t work across devices) and search-based ad service, Facebook’s treasure trove of info and ability to weave together all its analytics to match with one’s targeting needs and campaign goals is set to revolutionize the digital marketing ecosystem.

 What this mostly means is that the ability to target digital advertising will become more powerful than ever, particularly as CRM data is integrated into the ad and analytics service. It means, for sports marketers, the right offer truly can be made to the right person in the right context. The data is all there for each individual fan – demographics, previous purchases, previous pages browsed and/or ads clicked and/or content consumed, searches, interests, location, and more. But, with great power comes great responsibility (and a need for wise allocation of resources).

The number of questions about our fans / customers / leads that we’ll be able to answer will become nearly infinite. It will be incumbent on all to truly be smarter marketers in all channels and touch points. But how granular can we and/or are we willing to get? You could create an ad (from creative to copy to color) for an enormous number of fan personas, get lost in a sea of various objectives to be accomplished through advertising, create an ad for every step of the customer journey(s), create completely different ads for devices (and the permutations based on the aforementioned factors), and, well, this list gets scary long pretty quickly.

There is no single recommendation for how best to adapt and reap the benefits of a new, incredibly informed world of marketing. All you can do is get as much information as possible (excessive big data?) and make the best decision for you. Wait…that sounds awfully familiar.

Posted by Neil Horowitz

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