Dallas is a Media Planner/Buyer at Vovia and is responsible for executing offline media campaigns for clients. When she's not busy negotiating with media reps and double checking contracts, you might find her out for a bike ride, playing in the mountains or up in the air doing aerial silks.

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Beyond Google – 5 Unique Targeting Capabilities of Programmatic Media Partners

As a Google Premier Partner, we know the value of Google programmatic campaigns. Programmatic ad buying has been around for nearly a decade and according to Zenith, 69 cents of every dollar spent on digital media is spent programmatically. As Renu pointed out in her blog last week, the programmatic landscape continues to evolve and adapt with the times and ever-changing technology. While Google still dominates the programmatic universe, you may be surprised to hear that Google is not the only programmatic answer. In some cases, it makes sense to work with a programmatic media partner when we need to extend reach beyond our self-serve channels or want to tap into additional AI when targeting niche audiences. Programmatic media partners have differentiated themselves in a variety of ways including access to unique sources of data, proprietary targeting capabilities, and integration with offline tactics.

In this post, I will highlight 5 unique targeting capabilities of partners we regularly work with.

Sentiment Targeting

Did you know you can target people based on what they are doing on social media in real-time? We work with partners that can analyze public posts on various social media networks including YouTube, Pinterest and Reddit to target people based on what they are sharing, how they are feeling and where they are going. Sentiment targeting can be useful not just for targeting things people like, but we can also use it for competitive conquesting of brands they have a negative attitude towards. For example, by targeting people that have a negative impression of their bank, we can target them with a message saying, “Not happy with your current bank? Try XYZ bank.”

Sentiment targeting isn’t just limited to text. Algorithms can actually identify images to allow you to target based on what pictures people are posting. For example, if your target customer is skiers or snowboarders, we can run a display campaign targeting people who have posted pictures skiing recently.

Search Content

We know search activity is a treasure trove of insight into people’s intentions and interests based on the strength of search and retargeting campaigns. Up until now, this information was only being utilized for just that, search campaigns. However, a few programmatic media partners have developed models to integrate this information into targeting capabilities to reach audiences in display campaigns even before they are searching. After defining an audience and a list of keywords they may be searching, the programmatic partner uses an algorithm to understand the consumers’ pre-search behaviour and builds lookalike audiences to serve them display ads.

App Detection

The apps on your phone can say a lot about you, and fortunately for us, programmatic partners have figured out a way to create custom segments based on the apps detected on a person’s phone. We have used this targeting strategy to reach the so-called “cord cutters” by targeting people who have streaming apps such as Netflix or Prime Video downloaded on their phone. As discussed in Renu’s recent blog on the future of programmatic advertising, streaming services are on the rise. Being able to target people based on the streaming apps they have is especially useful when it is layered onto campaigns that are also running broadcast TV, as it allows us to extend reach to this audience that does not watch traditional TV. 

Real-Time Factors

There are a few programmatic partners that have figured out how to use real-time moments to trigger ads. This allows you to synchronize the right message with the right place at the right time, making it more relevant to the consumer.  

Two examples of real-time factors that we have used for recent campaigns are weather triggered ads and TV sync. Weather triggered ads are exactly what they sound like. Your ad will only be triggered if the weather in real-time matches your targeting criteria. When would this be useful? There are many situations where weather affects sales and this allows you to align your messaging. For example, a retailer may way to feature products for cold weather when the temperature drops below -20 degrees, but feature a different set of products when there is a large snowfall.

TV sync is also a really cool targeting opportunity as it allows us to target people on their second screen right after they are exposed to a TV commercial. We know 47% of Canadian’s 18+ are browsing the internet or on social media while watching TV (Numeris Fall 2019) so synchronizing display ads with commercials increases the frequency and the impact of the message. Targeting can be done based on both a brands own tv spots as well as competitor ads which once again allows for competitive conquesting.

Foot Traffic Attribution

This one isn’t so much of a targeting opportunity, but a data opportunity and allows for the integration of online marketing with offline results. This is a feature that can be layered on to a programmatic buy. Here’s how it works: consumers are identified who have been exposed to an ad on their mobile device and their location is used to track whether they visit a desired location after being exposed to the ad. This is especially useful for campaigns where the main goal or conversion cannot be completed online. Take for example a grocery store who only sells groceries at a physical location. If the goal of a campaign is to drive in-store sales, the digital conversion metrics cannot accurately represent how successful the campaign performed. However, using foot traffic attribution, we can give attribution to ads based on store visits. Simply put, it’s a way to quantify the value of a digital ad when the main conversion point is not online.

We admit, some of this targeting may seem a bit creepy but we always make sure to vet all programmatic media partners to make sure they adhere to privacy standards like PIPEDA and GDPR.

If you have any questions about any of these targeting opportunities, get in touch