The point of advertising is to get watched and remembered. Sounds simple enough, right? But when it comes to programmatic advertising, there’s nothing simple about the sea of data and variables most advertisers find themselves navigating. Add in the speed of auctions, where users need to turn thousands of lines of data into the right audience in a single moment, and it gets even more complicated. That’s why so many advertisers have relied on pre-packaged data segments.
Those segments sounded like a good idea when they were introduced. By grouping together people who shared some kind of relevant commonality, the thinking went, segments let advertisers target the right users in a flash. But many advertisers haven’t gotten the results they wanted – because those pre-packaged segments can often deliver ads to the wrong people.
That’s not to say all data in a segment is bad. It’s a grab bag of the good, the bad and the pointless. Let’s say you’re buying segments that are supposed to be full of coffee drinkers who might want to go to your coffee shop. In reality it could include someone who bought a Starbucks gift card for a friend, someone who looked up cafes that served bagels and someone who simply went to a coffee shop on a date. It’s quite possible none of those people need to visit a coffee shop now or in the foreseeable future. They may not even like coffee. And because your competitors are buying the same data segments, it’s hard to differentiate yourself.
But that’s what you get with pre-packaged data segments – a mix of components that often leads to you paying for wasted impressions. You’ll never know what drove results and what didn’t. When you try to optimize your strategy, you’ll have no idea which actual data keys drove successful or unsuccessful impressions.
So what does work? Unstructured data. By using unstructured data to target your audience, you can reach ideal users at the right buying moment. You’re essentially leveraging the precise control of search in display, mobile and video.
The Benefits of Unstructured DataNow you’re not just looking for users who go to coffee shops. You’re looking for users that like gourmet coffee. Users who respond to coupons, and users who don’t. Not only can getting this granular let you design more profitable strategies, you can differentiate from your competitors.
Unstructured data hits the trifecta of right message to the right audience at the right time, partnered with transparency and control. From clicks to conversions to spend, you learn how individual components perform within your campaigns – allowing you to eliminate keywords (or, frankly, any other data element that was used in the targeting) that didn’t deliver or create an algorithm that drives more targeted, valuable traffic.
It’s time to recognize pre-packaged audience segments as the dinosaurs they are. Data has never been valuable in lumps. Only when it’s utilized in its pure, accurate state can it yield the information that steers you to the audiences you want most. Turn to unstructured data and you’ll not only save the money you’d otherwise waste on fruitless impressions, you’ll craft smarter ad decisions. Call it the evolution of display advertising. But once you’ve gotten a taste of those cost savings and audience insights, you’ll never buy a pre-packaged data segment again.