Earlier this month, MarTech Series covered LiveRamp unveiling their People-Based Search for fully-personalized omnichannel marketing. The leading provider of omnichannel identity resolution added targeting for people-based search to its IdentityLink™ platform. Jeff Smith, CMO of LiveRamp, explained to us the need to bring people-based targeting to search and identified the common challenges that omnichannel marketers face in audience targeting.
MTS: “Consumer intent is inherently expressed in the search.” How does the new People-based Search measure or identify the consumer intent?
Jeff Smith (Jeff): Consumer intent has always been expressed in a search query; for example, if I search for car reviews, you might assume I am in the market to buy a car, and if you are an automaker, having no additional context on who is performing the search, you would likely bid a very high amount to serve an ad to me. This has always been the case with search channels.
Bringing people based targeting to search, however, allows you to recognize if the consumer performing the search is a person you already know something about. If they are a customer of yours and you have information about them in your offline CRM system and apply that information in deciding what action to take when they do perform a search. Go back to the previous example.
If you not only knew that I searched for car reviews but also knew I recently bought a car from you/am already a customer of yours (data that is in your offline CRM system), you may choose to do the exact opposite thing, and not serve an ad to me to buy a car as it would likely be wasted expenditure. Or choose to serve an ad but change the content (so instead of an ad enticing me to buy a new car, serve an ad offering a maintenance promotion). The key is that you were able to use IdentityLink to combine data from the offline and digital worlds to make a more contextually relevant decision.
Say you’re an international hotel brand and a very loyal customer, who prefers one specific brand within your hotel group searches for “Hotels in Chicago”. Without people-based search, the hotel brand’s advertising would respond to the keyword search by showing every brand within their group. But, by combining known preferences that the consumer has expressed to you, with the immediacy of the search for a specific city, the advertiser can customize the ads even further by offering rates/ads for the hotel chain that the searcher prefers.
The same can be said of a retailer who knows, based on loyalty cards or purchase history, that a customer prefers a specific brand of coffee, clothing, or other types of products.
MTS: What are the common challenges that omnichannel marketers face in audience targeting?
Jeff: There are two primary challenges that marketers face in targeting:
When a customer tries to target a specific segment, they do so depending on a variety of attributes, those attributes can vary from CRM data, purchase history, a mobile or Cookie ID or anonymous browsing data, all of which is hard to tie together in a consistent way. Let’s say you have one segment that you’re trying to reach across video, display, and search. Your video targets may be matched to a mobile ID, your display matched to a Cookie ID and search tied to keywords. How do you know who within your segment has been matched and if you’ve reached all of them across all your channels? That’s where an identity resolution platform like IdentityLink can help. Since we focus on tying all of those IDs together to one, privacy safe IdentityLink, we’re able to more consistently match across all your advertising channels.
Efficiency is the other big factor in omnichannel marketing. There are often large teams, within marketing departments dedicated to a specific channel. They are focused on uploading lists to each platform and often have to upload different lists manually to each channel. Google gets one list, the DMP gets another, the DSP gets another. Each list has to be built, and rebuilt over and over again, by different teams in different platforms. Imagine if all of the data could be sent at one time to all of those destinations! Marketers would have time to do more testing, measurement, and iteration.
MTS: Marketers using Google Customer Match get special added benefits. What are these benefits, and what do other marketers need to do to enjoy the same features?
Jeff: The benefits can be seen in the illustration we created. IdentityLink’s data append feature can help you connect more of your CRM data to GCM (up to six times more), and apply more context to your interaction with the consumer – this can improve click through rates by 2-3X. We are excited to see what the future of people-based search could be and are actively looking to work with the other search vendors on similar functionality.
MTS: LiveRamp has committed to privacy and security as an Acxiom SafeHaven® environment. What does this have to do with data fraud and bot identification management?
MTS: How do you see AI within LiveRamp helping marketers in generating more ROI from their campaign investments?
Jeff: As more and more digital channels proliferate, with complexities, like data hygiene and identifiers, introduced at the data layer, and the real-time desires of consumers, machine learning, and artificial intelligence are going to be necessary to help marketers adapt. Campaign automation (from programmatic advertising, to nurture campaigns and beyond) are really the first step.
Marketers are going to have to think more and more strategically about all the different paths a customer can take during their relationship with a brand, and be able to build programs to respond as quickly as possible. In the front end, I’m really looking forward to a future where smart devices respond to a consumer’s needs and allow advertisers to personalize an experience in real time.
MTS: How do you see marketers shifting their focus from omnichannel campaigns to Mobile- Only and Video Marketing by 2020?
Jeff: The opposite is actually happening – marketers are shifting their focus from the single channel only campaigns (like mobile and video) to campaigns that are coordinated across all of the channels in which consumers ingest media. Note that consumers don’t think about what “channel” they are in when interacting with media or a brand. Marketers, however, have had to think about channels because without identity resolution there are technical barriers that prevent seamless experiences across channels. Even when marketers are operating in individual channels, they still need to bring as much context to bear as possible to each consumer interaction, which requires applying what you have learned from interactions in other channels – which requires omnichannel identity resolution.
MTS: How do you see campaign automation evolving in next 3-5 years? Will SMBs and start-ups be able to adopt the new technologies with their limited budgets?
Jeff: Consumer habits will likely dictate how campaign automation evolves in the next few years. Consumers are accustomed to disjointed marketing experiences and irrelevant advertising, but they appreciate and respond positively to interactions that feel more integrated. In fact, they’re demanding those types of experiences now. As such, marketing teams and technologies are going to follow suit. Technically, it’s hard to connect all the different channels, devices, and IDs today, so identity resolution will play a bigger role in MarTech in the coming years.
Best-in- Class vendors will need to focus on improving their integrations across partners, while closed- stack vendors will need to focus on stronger integrations across their product suites. This will allow marketers to ensure consistency of messaging across the various touch points, in a way that makes it far quicker and easier to implement than what’s possible right now.
As for marketing teams, while the customer journey has been front and center for a while, LiveRamp is still set up to focus on just acquisition or retention or a specific channel. In the next 3-5 years, our goal is to evolve and truly address a consumer’s needs from a holistic perspective. We need to be able to adapt more quickly and take something that’s working here and figure out how to make it work over there in real time.
In some ways, SMBs and start-ups often find themselves in a better situation to adopt new technologies and new ways of doing things, because they don’t have a choice. Without the headcount to do something the way it’s always been done, you’re more likely to look to offload work in an automated way, freeing up your focus for more important projects. There are some really innovative B2C companies, BirchBox and Blue Apron come to mind, that are pushing the limits on how to grow using both new technologies and limited budgets. It’s all about how you prioritize.
MTS: Thank you, Jeff, for answering all our questions. We look forward to having you very soon at MarTech Series for more insights.
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