You are here

The Granularity Effect

There’s little doubt that it’s getting much harder for advertisers to attract attention from consumers online. With the average adult being served around 1700 banner ads a month and some brands seeing incredibly low click through rates, it’s crunch time for advertisers. They need to decide how they’re going to attract attention and stand out from the crowd.

Most people spend an average of 35 hours a month online, and with so many options and potential eyeballs, it’s easy to just choose the simple route and let automation do its job. However, along with the ad industry’s fascination with big data, has come the very real possibility that advertisers end up casting their digital net too wide. The outcome under those circumstances is that ad impressions are wasted on users who never showed intent to buy a particular product or service.

The spray and pray approach is no longer enough to get the best from your digital advertising.  Advertisers need to fine tune their big data strategy, by approaching data sets in a much more granular fashion and truly understanding users’ online behaviour and preferences.

There’s no one size fits all

Just like giving a pair of jeans to an elephant, displaying an ad about skiing in the Alps to someone who’s hoping to sunbathe in Croatia is unlikely to work. Not every customer is the same and so not all users looking for holidays in Europe can be targeted with the same adverts. That’s why algorithms might be a great rule of thumb, but getting the best conversions from setting algorithms across broad data sets is unrealistic. By taking short cuts and simply bucketing data into generalised segments, advertisers are wasting ad impressions and pouring precious budget down the drain.

This has only been further impounded by relying on the categorisation of third party data aggregators. This is not always going to be in line with in-house data categorisation or detail, leaving brands falling short on performance.

Target your audience in segments of one

With tailored ad campaigns, brands can buy media at prices based on their audience segmentation, making the best use of their budget. The key is the granularity effect; data analysis that delivers insight into audience segments of one.

Search Retargeting is a technique which uses search data to identify purchasing intent and then compares that against various other variables. It can target users at a much more granular level, because search data is the number one indicator of intent to buy, ensuring that the right adverts are being delivered to the right people at the right time.

Getting data to a point where it is as useful as it can possibly be will not just happen overnight. Proper data analysis will need to be fine-tuned over time until advertisers have a tried and tested method that learns from customer behaviour to deliver on results.

Make big data, smart data

Once advertisers are focusing at the top of the funnel where the data goes in, rather than the bottom where the results come out, big data will become smart data. Smart data and Search Retargeting are the perfect combination, enabling brands to pin point consumers at the point of intent, rather than the point of indifference. This method is far more likely to lead to a purchase as you are delivering users with ads that react to recent search behaviours.

Above all, advertisers need to remember they are speaking to humans, not robots, and it’s essential that advertising campaigns are being developed based on customer behaviour. Programmatic Buying is often compared to the stock exchange because it relies on algorithms and automated systems to deal with a vast amount of data. Similarly, advertising also needs a skilled analyst to understand how to prioritise and manage data in order to get the best results. The best traders in the stock markets know how to capture the right data and understand the balance between automated algorithms and human involvement. Likewise, the best advertisers will be those who can balance automated bidding systems with intelligent campaign optimisation, creating more valuable insights than ever before and ultimately adding more value in the marketing chain.

This year, advertisers need to take the bull by the horns and get smarter about their data investment. Savvy brands and agencies that take action now will reap the rewards.