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Get Real: Why real time is the only way to build a brand online
Dominic Trigg | October 2, 2012
Real-time bidding (RTB) has taken the digital advertising world by storm, delivering unbelievable results in direct response campaigns within just a couple of years of inception. But advertisers are quickly realising that RTB’s potential reaches far beyond just driving instant clicks.
The ability to target audience segments by the millisecond, based on numerous demographic and behavioural indicators, holds many possibilities. Throw in fast-developing technologies such as dynamic creative and in-banner surveys, and the potential for RTB to influence all stages of the buying process, not just the final hurdle, becomes clear.
One of the biggest opportunities for RTB is in brand building. Building a brand is an art, requiring multiple consumer touch points over what can be a significant period of time.
The deep audience understanding, relevance and timing of advertising needed to build a brand are found at the heart of RTB. This is why the next big online advertising battleground will focus on a new kind of RTB: Real Time Branding.
However, recent research by eMarketer shows that just six per cent of agencies are able to recognise their customers’ interest in real-time, while the average age of in-market media is three to six months. It is unthinkable that this can continue much longer in these days of the immediate-fix, where Twitter and Facebook spoil us with up-to-the-second updates about our friends and the rest of the world.
Agencies are starting to realise that they need to be faster at turning big data into relevant ads, but there is clearly a long journey ahead for most.
Brand marketers often rely on click-through rates to measure the impact of their campaign on their audiences, but this measure does not always relate to the actual campaign. Clearly, if a brand is trying to raise awareness but an ad does not explicitly call for action, it is unlikely to result in a click even if the message has been seen and absorbed. Rather than rely on this one measure, technology now enables in-depth feedback from consumers to be used to optimise campaigns in real time and to directly target brand metrics using brand campaigns.
As an example, during a recent campaign we ran for Epson, unbranded, in-banner surveys were used to measure consideration for their printers amongst both test (i.e. exposed to the adverts) and control groups. The results found an almost inverse correlation between the audience segments that showed strong CTR and audience segments that experienced a lift in consideration for the brand. Advertisers can today gain a more accurate insight into what works and improve the ROI on their digital advertising campaigns, while agencies using this technology can gain competitive advantage and grow their business.
Increasingly, I am seeing brands giving audiences more opportunities to provide feedback in real time. As digital technology improves apace and our digital presence become central to our everyday lives, the only way to keep up is to have an ongoing dialogue questioning people in real-time and adapting campaign messages and targeting automatically. Carrying out two surveys a year just won’t cut it anymore.
Direct response campaigns have seen huge percentage point increases in conversion rates using RTB, creating vastly more impact for their advertising pound. As the industry now trades on sophisticated exchanges to create the most targeted and measurable advertising an industry has ever seen, it is inevitable that budget holders will appreciate that real-time technology is as critical to successful online brand building as it is to direct response campaigns.
Dominic Trigg is Managing Director Europe at Rocket Fuel
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