2012: The Year of the Online “Audience” Experience


In an audience, people gather together in concert halls, at sporting events, and in museums because they share a common interest, whether it be in music, for the love of a sports team, or appreciation for the arts. You and the other people who also live in your ZIP code tend to share common lifestyles and demographics. Yep, that makes you an audience as well.

It’s really no different online. People gather on Facebook and Twitter to share information and experiences with their friends and followers who they think will find it interesting. Many of us frequent the same websites where we gather information or shop. We’re part of several different audiences there as well.

Audiences come in all shapes and sizes, but their members often share common characteristics and interests. For online advertisers, targeting audiences is a necessary ingredient for success in today’s marketplace. This means marketers need to be able to define the needs and interests of their audiences on an ongoing basis so that information can be used to develop messages that are more timely and relevant to their audiences’ needs and interests. However, identifying just what audiences want and need has often been a challenge online.

A recent ClickZ article “Audience Targeting: A Look to the Future,” sums up where the marketplace is. Of particular note it says:

“In most cases a single point of targeting criteria is too little information to effectively reach ‘real people’ who are definitely more multifaceted than a lot of marketers give them credit for. It’s about understanding how people see themselves. It’s about giving them access to information that can help them make informed decisions.”

The future path for audience targeting is paved with data. It’s no longer about going after the low-hanging fruit or broad mass markets. It’s based on sophisticated data that allows marketers to engage in relationships with audiences in a more personal way, relevant and timely manner.

For example, maybe it’s about leveraging new data inputs such as country, state, city, and ZIP code-level location information to geo-segment online audiences and benchmark campaign performance.

This type of approach is working for [x+1], a company specializing in delivering real-time, audience-based, predictive marketing technology and services that help advertisers and marketers reach their prospects and customers more effectively online. Several years ago, [x+1] needed to collect anonymous consumer data in order to automatically uncover actionable segments of consumers in real-time. By adding demographic and geographic IP Intelligence technology to its analytic platform, [x+1]’s clients could begin to profile end-users and anonymously track their online responsiveness, as well as identify patterns between the profiles and their response activity to determine the best offer to display.

A six-month campaign─using IP Intelligence─for a prominent luxury automotive manufacturer and retailer seeking to drive buyer inquiries generated more than 42,000 click-throughs, led to approximately 5,000 people who scheduled test-drives, requested sales information, conducted inventory searches, or used the dealer configurator. In addition, more than 7 percent of post-click actions led to sales inquiries.

Online technologies, such as IP Intelligence, will only continue to evolve to include deeper and more numerous datasets. If online marketing budgets continue to increase as predicted, then I believe this next year represents a lot of opportunity for audience targeting. So, I hereby declare 2012: The Year of the Online Audience Experience.


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