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Broaden ad-targeting funnel to increase ROI: ad:tech speaker


illy Facebook page

NEW YORK – An executive at the ad:tech New York 2012 conference said that it is possible for marketers to grow their ad-targeting audience in both size and precision to increase ROI.

During the “Effective Targeting: New Ways to Find and Reach the Perfect Customer” session, some of the executives discussed how digital advertisers must increase their ad-targeting funnel size to move people through it. One specific case study was a rebranding campaign targeted at consumers in the United States that ultimately increased ROI in this manner.

“We no longer think of the marketing funnel as something that starts very wide, but something that starts out very tailored, very influential and very targeted,” said Allie Kline, chief marketing office of 33Across [2], New York.

“We are finding ways to stop thinking about marketing online as a funnel and more as a tunnel,” she said.

Funnel vs. tunnel
Of all content shared on the Web, 82 percent is shared via copy-and-paste, per Ms. Kline.

Most often this content is then shared via email and followed by social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

At 33Across, the company looks at data coming from copy-and-paste actions and turns this into a “social persona” for brands.

“By providing an audience segment based on what users are actually doing, we fill that funnel with a targeted, tailored audience,” Ms. Kline said.

Italian premium coffee brand illy broadened its marketing funnel to target its U.S. rebranding campaign, per Erin Kelley, digital media supervisor at Enlighten [3], illy [4]’s digital agency of record.

At first, the brand focused on digital advertising tactics such as direct response media, paid search, affiliate marketing programs and display targeting. But in 2011, illy wanted to begin rebranding itself online.

There were a few factors at play in the branding campaign.

For instance, unlike in Italy and Europe, illy product distribution is driven by direct channel sales, print advertising, catalog sales and intermediate sales through hotels, cafes and specialty retailers.

Also, the brand found that people were purchasing roughly once per year. Thus came the effort to market the product as something they should purchase more often.

While maintaining its reputation as a premium brand, illy also wanted to become more accessible in terms of the frequency in which consumers purchased the product.

The brand examined its social graph to identify loyal consumers and potential brand loyalists based on social interests.

“We deepened the prospect pool in a deliberate and confirmed way,” Ms. Kelley said. “Among other things, we know that they are socially-connected influencers who like eating out.

“Looking at campaign performance, this branding campaign not only exceeded results, but it contributed to the highest ROI in the brand’s history,” she said.

“We spent more and we managed to increase our ROI.”

The results are in
One surprising result of illy’s rebranding campaign based on its “social persona” graph was the revenue gained through Twitter ads.

The brand’s Twitter ads saw half the click-through rates in comparison to other types of digital ads, but they generated the same amount of revenue.

“It is trying to convince clients that click-through rate is not always the most effective measurement,” Ms. Kelley said. “Despite a lower click-through rate, these ads managed to drive sales.”

Similar to quite a few luxury brands, illy is a brand for which consumers tend to be passionate.

“It is shareable by nature,” Ms. Kelley said. “The more social we get with our media plan, the more opportunity we have to cultivate loyalists.”

Facebook generated high engagement rates. The brand used sponsored stories to acquire fans and as a bonus, this also generated sales.

Illy also entered into a brand advertising partnership with Eater.com so that it could target consumers in the upper funnel.

“We managed to increase ROI both during the time that the campaign was running and several months after,” Ms. Kelley said. “It was a halo effect.”

The executive noted the key takeaways from this campaign.

First, marketers must widen the funnel to increase their target audience while keeping it as precise as possible.

Marketers need an attribution model to be able to make this connection between prospect media and lower-funnel conversion media.

“If we know the connection exists between the top of the funnel and the bottom of the funnel, it is our job to actively draw the line between those two,” Ms. Kelly said.

Also, mapping big data to demographics and interests is archaic.

Social media is key. Marketers should find out who their prospects are and where they are in the real world.

“We were leaving potential customers on the table before we were tapping into big data,” Ms. Kelly said.

“If you are always and only focused on closing, you are likely closing the doors on new opportunities,” she said.

Final Take
Tricia Carr, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York

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