People-Based Advertising Is Here — Embrace it!

The goals of advertising haven’t changed over the years; we’ve just changed how we go about it. Better data and technology allow us to target people with specific messaging as opposed to simply targeting devices, and people-based advertising is all about the fact that it’s people who buy — not devices. It’s about trying to understand the people behind those devices and the types of experiences they’re looking for. There are many opportunities for customers to engage with brands; 60 percent of us use multiple devices daily. This creates an audience that is highly connected, highly disparate, and highly fragmented; as marketers, we have to adapt to fit that new world.

Device-Centric vs. Person-Centric Advertising
The goal here is to build a very accurate understanding of users across all their devices and to transform their journeys from being device-centric to being person-centric. This means knowing who those people are from an advertising point of view — really understanding their values across multiple devices.

One way this data is aggregated is through a device co-op. Let’s say, we have a retailer that shows that two devices are connected to their site, but they don’t know who the customers are behind those devices. We also have a person who’s logged in on a travel site, and that site knows exactly who that person is. Since both our retailer and our travel site are members of the new device co-op, the retailer has the ability — through shared data provided by the travel site — to say, “I know who that user is; I can connect him to those two devices,” so they can target and retarget that user more effectively, all the while keeping that user’s personal information anonymous and safe. It’s a community of businesses helping each other that also provides users with connected sets of experiences across devices.

Connecting Multiple Devices to a Single User
Connecting a single user to multiple devices changes the way businesses view their audiences. If you have a dollar conversion that happened on a device and a second dollar conversion from another device, we view it as two visitors. From a revenue point of view, it’s a dollar per visitor. But, in the people-based world, I can see that both conversions were from one person, and they were, in fact, worth two dollars to me. We also know that multi-touch conversions are worth more — on average, 26 percent more — which further allows us to tailor content and messaging. This is a much different view of that user and allows you to focus better and identify and target more granular segments.

Vivaki: Benefiting Firsthand From People-Based Marketing
One company that’s realized the benefits of people-based marketing is Vivaki: a business that scales paid media, ad tech, and data power to accelerate client growth. They wanted to utilize current technology to build continuity between the different phases of a conversion across multiple devices — to provide the right experience to the right customer at the right time.

The first thing they looked at was creative. If you have bad creative, it doesn’t matter how much money you spend, it’s simply not going to work. You need to find the right balance of creative complexity and scale and ensure you’re targeting the right audience segments. Technology today can dynamically assemble and deliver creative to automatically generated segments based on business rules. So, they needed to think about the complexity of their marketing strategy and then balance that complexity with the requirements around scale.

Strategy and Good Technology — Essential
You need a core strategy, and you need to make wise technology selections so that strategy can be implemented. Change is constant, and the opportunity — as well as the challenge — for all of us is whether we can respond to those changes adequately. You need a three-year game plan regarding how you’re going to bring technology to bear and organizationally transform your teams to leverage that technology in a more effective fashion.

Now, unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to this. You need to create a consistent, connected, and compelling experience for your customer through marketing automation, dynamic creative, onsite optimization, content-management systems ( CMS), customer-relationship management (CRM), and others. Then, you need to measure the impact of that experience on your audience, feed those metrics back into the system, and start over — rinse and repeat. So, your Web- analytics platforms, ad servers, attribution modelers, media-mix modelers, and view-ability providers are all very important pieces that need to climb the ladder together toward a greater strategy.

This needs to be an always-on approach. A constant reevaluation of how these different technologies can be listening, grouping people into logical segments, and putting the right messaging in front of them. Our thinking needs to evolve around how we’re distributing our content and spending our marketing dollars.

There is evidence that the industry is coming together to make some of these things a reality. We’re seeing connected ecosystems that are taking various tech platforms and stitching them together for efficient workflows. We’re seeing the rise of machine learning, new algorithm development, and technology being brought to bear to do work that once took hundreds of hours. These advances will enable businesses to more easily implement and benefit from people-based marketing.