Launch an Audience-First Data Strategy in 3 Simple Steps

The number of cord-cutters, adults who abandon pay TV in favor of streaming services, is accelerating rapidly according to eMarketer and is expected to be more than one-fifth of the U.S. population by the end of 2022. But, when a telecommunications company offering fiber optic services, including fiber internet, fiber phone, and fiber IPTV asked us to help them expand their footprint and improve their online sales, we were up for the challenge. To appeal to the cord-cutting crowd, we chose to promote our client’s reliable high-speed internet connections that power consumers’ streaming entertainment with an audience-first data strategy. “Audience first” simply means before you ever think about creating your digital media campaign, you first should think about and understand your prospects well. What advertising creative, format, messaging and channels will most appeal to them and engage them enough to convert? Let your target audience shape and guide everything you do and how you do it.

How Our Audience-First Data Strategy Performed

For this programmatic campaign, we set out to drive new client signups and prove our client’s ad investment was worth it. So, we matched our media results throughout the campaign back to our client’s sales data to track and measure the return on ad spend (ROAS). How did our campaign ultimately perform?

  • We saw an average increase of 215% in signups for our client’s high-speed internet year over year and a 534% increase in overall average ROAS.
  • Because our team provided real-time analytics and attribution insights, the telecommunications company could truly start to make key business decisions based on data and maximize their results.
  • Our client also saw a halo effect, in which signups from other mediums, such as call centers, Salesforce, and programmatic, increased due to customers first seeing our digital advertising.

Want to generate amazing results like this for yourself? Follow these steps to make our audience-first data strategy work for you:

Audience-First Data Strategy Step #1: Gather and analyze relevant data.

Examine your first-party data, such as your customer relationship management (CRM) data and site data. This will tell you where your customers and leads go online, how they behave, what they’re interested in, and what they need. Knowing your prospects’ preferences and thoroughly understanding their online and offline behaviors can help you streamline your advertising efforts and minimize wasteful spending. Then, tap into third-party data to widen your prospect net and amplify your message beyond the leads you already have. This will help you find new people who resemble your ideal customer and who could be most receptive to your message and likely to buy.

Audience-First Data Strategy Step #2: Combine display and search to reach potential customers throughout the sales funnel.

Why Display?

  • targeted, personalized, and measurable
  • diverse sizes, novel formats and interactive features
  • visually appealing and attention-grabbing way to introduce your brand to prospects as they browse the web
  • supports brand awareness and brand recall at the top of the funnel

Why Search?

  • cost-effective way to compete with rivals and complement digital media efforts
  • gets eyeballs on your business: your URL, company description, at times even ad extensions, such as your address, map or click-to-call button
  • visible to shoppers at the bottom of the funnel who are actively searching, considering and looking to buy now
  • sends high-qualified traffic to your website and provides robust analytics to help improve your campaign results

Why Are They Better Together?

Integrating display and search so they work together makes your overarching campaign more cohesive. Combining the two lets you target your prospects from different angles – when they are and when they aren’t searching for you – and can improve your ROAS.

Audience-First Data Strategy Step #3: Use Display and Search Targeting to Your Advantage

Audience targeting can get your advertising in front of the right group of people who exhibit the traits, interests and behaviors that are most valuable to your business. Whether running a display or search campaign, here are some targeting methods to try.

Display Targeting

Use Your CRM data to find eligible users through data matching with IP address targeting. IP address targeting can reach people who work at a certain business or who are a part of the same household. You can run any name, physical address or zip code you know through an IP mapping system, and it will match up with an IP address so you can then target a person on a specific device. For our client’s display campaign, we did just that. We looked at their first-party data and matched physical addresses within their serviceable areas to IP addresses. This allowed us to cost-effectively deliver personalized display advertising to eligible users. Focus on site data to find and advertise again to users you want to convert with retargeting. Track prospects who visited your site while they are browsing online. Re-advertise to them within a certain amount of time to encourage them to act, whether that’s to take a specific action or purchase your product or service. Typically, retargeting is done within a few minutes or up to a few hours after a prospect leaves your website to be most effective. We implemented a layered pixel strategy on our client’s website for our display campaign to capture users at every stage of the sales funnel. This allowed us to segment our best prospects who didn’t complete the signup process and then retarget them with specifically tailored display advertising later to nudge them one more time to convert. (Of course, we excluded those users who had already signed up.)

Search Targeting

Optimize your campaign on your sales goal and focus on keywords that show intent to purchase (or intent to switch providers in this case) with zip code targeting. Zip code targeting lets you home in on prospects based in a specific location, like in a residential area or across a few city blocks. For our client’s search campaign, we used zip code targeting to concentrate on serviceable areas and leveraged the same pixels as the display campaign. We strived to target in-market users by optimizing on signups (not clicks) and focused on keywords that showed intent to switch providers so we could drive more orders. When you follow these three steps – gather and analyze relevant data, combine the power of display and search, and include the right display and search targeting methods to reach your prospects – you’ll have the necessary components to start your own successful audience-first data strategy. But, remember, you don’t have to strategize alone. Looking to build a solid new partnership? Look no further. We can stand by you no matter your goal and can offer you unmatched digital media expertise plus the best-in-class technology and tools you need to significantly improve your sales performance and growth. Reach out to us to learn more!