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How Marketing Automation Can Change Display Ad Targeting

Earlier in November, Eloqua made news with their announcement of AdFocus--a tool designed to help marketers manage display ad targeting directly within their marketing automation system. The release of AdFocus fits nicely with the trend toward an increased personalization of ad content on the Web. And many other marketing automation vendors are likely to follow suit after the 

With paid media expected to make up 36 percent of all interactive media purchases by 2016, getting a firm grasp on the relationship between ad personalization and marketing ROI is important. I’d like to talk about two ways that I see the connection between marketing automation data and display ad targeting changing the way marketers approach paid advertising on the Web.

Ad Personalization Can Improve Campaign Success
Combining marketing automation data with display ad targeting gives marketers a way to create more personalized ad content. As part of my work with Software Advice, I recently caught up with Rob Boise, Product Manager at Eloqua, to discuss how the union of marketing automation and display ads would change the way marketers work. 

As Bois says “it allows marketers to bring the level of conversion optimization they’re able to bring to email campaigns and landing pages to display ads. Display ads are no longer simply about brand awareness--more and more they’re being used for lead generation.”

Marketing automation systems contain a lot of useful data (e.g. prospect data such as lead score or website interaction activity) that can help marketers create more targeted display ads. System information can even personalize the ad by including information about a prospect, such as a prospect’s name, directly in the display ad. So it’s possible to show a display ad that is targeted specifically for an individual. In this way marketers can begin to use lead nurturing techniques they've previously confined to marketing automation technologies int their display ad targeting.

Marketers Can Use Paid Web Ads for Lead Nurturing
For most marketers, emails and phone calls are the primary methods of lead nurturing. AdFocus allows marketers to display certain ads solely to prospects who are in the lead nurturing phase. For instance, marketers can display an ad with a call to action that is educational in nature and directs them to an informational page, rather than a sales page for individuals who are in the research phase.

As prospects exhibit more buying behavior (e.g., downloading a Web form) marketers can adjust their display ad to serve up content that moves the prospect toward a buying decision. For instance, Bois says that “after a prospect downloads a form on your website, you can provide a display ad for a return on investment (ROI) calculator or a request for proposal (RFP) form to keep the buyer further down the funnel.”

Another feature the AdFocus release unveiled is that the ability to automate account-level display ad targeting. Traditionally, when marketers wanted to target a specific type of account, they’d have to go out and research which websites are most likely to have an audience interested in their product or service. Then they’d have to manually target each of those websites for a display ad.

Now, marketers can target only specific account types, based on information saved in their marketing automation system. For instance, marketers can select to display a specific type of ad solely to their health care industry prospects. After designing the display ad, Demandbase can serve that ad to health care prospects, regardless of where they are surfing on the Web.

In addition, by logging all data in a single system, marketers will be able to compare the performance and return on investment of their earned, owned and paid marketing efforts side-by-side.

As the scope of modern marketing channels continues to expand, we’re likely to see an increased focus on centralizing the management of all marketing channels. Do you plan to use this for your display ad targeting? Tell me what you think in the comments below.