Marketing solutions provider ChoiceStream recently introduced a custom-audience advertising platform that uses predictive data to guide ad strategy. Lori Trahan, the company's chief revenue officer, spoke to Digital Directions about the new Crunch platform, its focus on the individual and how the evolving use of data helps build the value of publishers' advertising inventories.
Digital Directions: How is your approach to audience targeting innovative?
Lori Trahan: We start with individuals. We have a proprietary data set where we know a lot about consumer behavior, and that data is highly predictive. We'll run a campaign against our primary pool of data to see what kind of people respond. Based on the people who respond and the collection of attributes that comprise those people, we go out and then target the audience. We let the collection of attributes dictate which segments we go after rather than starting with segments first.
The hypothesis when we started our trial was that consumers who you might not have thought to target would be perfect for a brand message or an ad campaign. In the first month, we ran a jewelry campaign and science fiction readers were converting at a higher rate than any other pocket. We cycled in and out different segments each week of the campaign depending on a whole host of external factors, some of which we can explain and some of which we can't. We let the machine guide us.
DD: What does this mean for publishers?
Trahan: We add value for brand advertisers who are looking to get efficiency out of display. They want display to work as hard as their search dollars, and they're getting there with their retargeting campaigns. But when you think about reaching new audiences and finding people in the right places, every brand is at a different level of sophistication as far as what their mix looks like.
I can target a person on a number of sites and sometimes in very unexpected places. We help brand advertisers find their audience in a cost-effective and measureable way.
People are engaging with advertisements online more than before. That's great for publishers. The more consumers engage with the content on the page and with an ad itself, it's adding value to the ad inventory the publications are selling. It's also giving brands an idea of what does that mean, is that an indication of interest, is this a metric that I care about, is it achieving a goal that we have as a company?
We work closely with our customers to test what those metrics are. It helps them evaluate our performance, and it gives us something to optimize. We've seen extraordinary results. In one trial we provided a 73% increase in click-through rates over one of our customer's baselines.