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Custom audiences and the impact of video on display advertising

Egan Montgomery
December 4, 2018

Egan: Hey everyone. Thanks for joining us for another flash briefing. My name is Egan Montgomery. I'm the director of marketing here at DemandJump, and today I have with me Zach Treon, who is a strategic marketing analyst on our customer success team. Today we're gonna be talking about some display stuff, some audience targeting ideas, and maybe newer strategies, and then also video, and maybe why video hasn't worked for you yet, but why it should.

Egan: So, Zach, thank you for taking the time to be with us today. If you wouldn't mind, just give our audience a little bit of a background on what you do here.

Zach: Yeah. Thanks for having me, I'm happy to be here. So, quite simply, my role here at DemandJump is turning data into stories, and those stories into actionable tactics for marketers.

Egan: Perfect, perfect. Alright, Zach. So you and one of our other customer success all stars, Brendan Walker, recently went to a conference out in New York called SMX East, and you guys came back really buzzing about all the kinda good stuff that you learned. I think one of the things that resonated with me, and sparked this webinar, was some of the stuff around display.

Egan: So maybe just tell us a little bit about what kinda resonated with you there, and what maybe the future could look like for marketers.

Zach: Yeah, so I think just as a key value prop for DemandJump, we constantly push the value of display advertising and how relevant advertising, you can really see positive results there. So one of the things we've touched on, if you've followed any of the content in the past, is just the right place and how you can do that through placement targeting.

Zach: What I really wanted to touch on, today, was a few other things from the audience perspective that Google has rolled out, as well. So there is still some value that can be tapped into the audience, but the problem with that is when you roll all that up to an aggregate level, it's really hard to tell exactly what's going on there.

Zach: So we'll touch on intent in affinity audiences today, so when you look at those from an aggregate level on Google, you're seeing a lot of things like a social media enthusiast, or somebody that's in-market for advertising and marketing services. Those are great things that provide great tools for marketers, but at the same time, say marketing DemandJump, for example, we're marketing and advertising services, but there's also things that we specifically do within that.

Zach: So some of those tools that we'll touch on today, with the custom intent and custom affinity audiences. So, just for those of you who may not be familiar with those yet, quite simply the custom intent audiences is just a more granular form of targeting that allows you to find people that are in-market for certain things. So, say we're marketing shoes.

Zach: We can put running shoes, tennis shoes, all these types of different things in there, and find people that may be searching for our exact product. So, when you start going into categories that are more broad, and you can put your niche products in there, it allows you to tailor that audience to exactly what you're offering them.

Zach: And similarly with the affinity audiences. So when we go to the enthusiast level and find people that are truly engaging with that, it's great, but that also then leads you into this broad thing of, "What is that threshold of being an enthusiast?" So, taking different things like we know we have the top 25 digital marketing blogs, we load those up in a custom affinity audience, and we know people that are visiting those sites regularly, those truly are digital marketing enthusiasts.

Egan: That's interesting. So, basically Google is allowing us to get a little bit more niche with our audience targeting based on certain intent or affinity data points?

Zach: Yeah, and absolutely I would recommend, when you're starting this, find one that you think within the audiences that Google has given you is most similar to you, but also, don't just allow them to dictate the audience for you. Do some of your own testing with some of these custom audiences, as well.

Zach: You may find that the one Google chose for you is very relevant, but don't hesitate to test those things out with what you already know about the audience that is interacting with your brand.

Egan: So, obviously, Google is letting you be a little more niche, which means that you're probably serving less impressions or at least going after a more narrow audience. Google actually still needs to make money, so how are these targeting parameters influencing, like, CPC?

Zach: Yeah, so it's ... as you start to get more specific, things may start to get more expensive, but at the same time, there's a cost-benefit analysis there. If I know that I'm serving the right message to the right person, and directing them exactly where they want, they're having a great experience with my brand, so I should be willing to pay a little bit more.

Egan: Does this ... do you see the results? Like, I'm leading the witness a little bit, but when you layer in some more intent-based audience targeting parameters, and then you layer that with the more location-based, or placement targeting parameters, what type of impact is that having on performance?

Zach: I would say ... that's a tough question. I mean, it depends on audience size as a whole. So I would say, to really, when you're starting out with some of these different tactics, just start testing them individually, figuring out which one, and then starting to, for the ones that are working well, then maybe you layer on a secondary tactic. I wouldn't recommend, from the very beginning, taking all of the different options that you have to find that very niche audience.

Zach: Figure out which of the targeting tactics works well, and then develop a strategy from there.

Egan: Got it. I like that. Kinda starting with what you know works. I mean, that's kinda our methodology on the CS team in general. Figure out what you know works, build that base out, and then expand from there.

Zach: Yep, absolutely.

Egan: Cool. Like it. Okay, so one of the other major things that you and Brendan were buzzing about when you came back was video, and the impact that YouTube advertising and even video within display is having on marketers. So, talk to me a little bit about what you're excited about on that front.

Zach: Yeah, so I think, traditionally, we've seen, and marketers as a whole have seen, videos just that top of the funnel, the way to get people in the door. But there's really been no way to attribute that to the success that you're actually having, so then it becomes hard to utilize budget on that as a channel without being able to have some data to back you up.

Zach: So, just kind of to set the stage, so YouTube is the world's second largest search engine, and I think that's one of the things that often gets lost upon us, is that it is a search engine. Now, we're not giving content in the same way that we are on Google. It's more of an interactive content where people are finding, and they can see, that storytelling.

Zach: They can feel it, they can see it, and it just allows you to do a little bit more storytelling. So there's just huge opportunities there. I mean, billions of hours of video are being uploaded to YouTube on a monthly basis, and there's billions of users that are leveraging and visiting YouTube on a monthly basis, as well.

Egan: So we talk about intent a lot. Intent on the buyer journey, and what is the person interested in seeing from an advertising or from a brand perspective based on whatever else it is they're doing online? Now we look at something like a Google paid search ad, and that's generally, if done right, pretty high intent, because you're searching for something and the ad is there.

Egan: Going down even a level deeper, we see something like, now, Amazon has an advertising platform, which we talked about on a previous flash briefing, and there if you're searching for something, you're actually already on the shopping platform. So that's almost as high intent as you can get.

Egan: How does YouTube, as a search engine, and an ad platform, factor into kind of that intent spectrum?

Zach: Yeah, so I would say that the challenging thing with YouTube, and it's similar to Google, as well, there are several different intents. So, maybe you're going there, and we've found that ... or, we haven't found, but studies have shown that 68% of people use YouTube during their buyer journey to help inform that purchase decision.

Zach: So there definitely is opportunity there from a buyer journey perspective, but there's also people that are purely consuming content. I mean, YouTube is now the most commonly consumed video platform that there is, so you're out there, you're watching, you're watching music videos. Maybe you're watching how some guys building some LEGOs, something like that, so there are ways that are being rolled out, and if you followed Google's releases over the past couple of months, and even going back to their keynote earlier this year, the targeting tactics available on YouTube are getting better and better as we're going on.

Zach: I think Google is starting to see the untapped potential from the market, as well, and obviously, with that, as they start to roll out some of these things as well, some of those advanced things are going to start to get more expensive, just like we see in in-display, but it really does help you to qualify that intent.

Egan: Got it. Alright, so I wanna circle back to the title that we have here on the slide, which is why display and video haven't worked for you yet. Zach, tell me a little bit about what you think a good amount of marketers are not totally getting right with display and video, and how we can kind of fix that.

Zach: I think the biggest thing is that the data is failing us. So data within Google Ads, for instance, the attribution there is heavily weighted towards anyone that has a touchpoint that is Google search, or Google shopping. So, if display or video was at any point during that journey, but they also came through in search, that revenue or that conversion is being attributed to search, as opposed to display and video.

Zach: So, if you haven't seen success, I would recommend breaking that out. Breaking display and video out into its own account, and just allowing that pixel to track things, and really see how those users are interacting. Along the same lines, we know that people are watching the videos, but in a lot of these videos, especially pre-roll, it's not clicking directly to your site. So, after that 30 second impression is over, you kind of start to lose that person.

Zach: But what we can see, layering in some different analytics, is that for many and many of our customers that are running videos right now, the branded search follows the same increases that the YouTube impressions do. So those would be just different ways that I would challenge you to look at the data, because it's not as readily available for display and video as it is in search.

Egan: So, I mean, this is something that we talk about at DemandJump a lot, but I think just to summarize kinda what you were saying, display and video are typically viewed as top of funnel and don't always squeeze out on the other side, in terms of attribution or reporting. We're kind of challenging that idea and saying that display and video can be a critical piece of your marketing strategy at every stage in a customer journey.

Zach: Right, because when you think about ... especially with some of the pre-roll, if somebody watches it for 15 seconds, hits that skip button, that was a free impression that you didn't necessarily pay for. Now, there are paid versions of YouTube ads that, as soon as it's shown, you have to pay for that. But there still is some video that there's free impressions that are available there.

Zach: So, when you think about that person, and then coming through from a search touchpoint as well, it's a whole heck of a lot cheaper to pay CPC for your brand name as it is for an industry term. So, as we're just looking for those different touchpoints in the dynamic journey, we're trying to figure out from a cost analysis how can we really make this the most effective to where our cost per acquisition is as low as we can get it.

Egan: Yep. Alright, we're coming up on time. I have one more question before we part ways. What are some strategies that marketers can use to actually test this or prove it out? Like, how effective YouTube ads can be, or how effective display really is at the top of the funnel.

Zach: Yeah, so I would say just first benchmark with all of the data that you have. So benchmark with your display data, video data, as well as your search data, to really give you a full understanding of how all of your channels are working together, and then just try different things. But don't over-complicate the tests. So, make sure that there's a clear variable that you're starting to test.

Zach: So, you're running a display campaign. Maybe take a traditional campaign that you're running, duplicate it, and add a custom intent audience, or add a custom affinity audience, and see if that has any impact. And with video, if you are doing something now, I would first challenge you to dig into the data little bit further and figure out, truly, if it is working or if it isn't working and kinda just a different lens on maybe the traditional approach. 'Cause not everything now is just last click revenue. There's so many different touchpoints in that buyer journey, so I'd first say to understand that.

Zach: But then, really, just challenge yourself as a brand with some of that content, and try not to be in your face with the brand message, but help people to have that emotional interaction. So, take that first five seconds that you have before they have the choice to hit the skip button, and really draw them in with engaging content, as opposed to being brand first, and throwing your logo right out there from the get-go.

Egan: That's good. Those are great tips. Alright, we are out of time, but Zach, thank you so much for coming on today. I'm sure we will have you back soon to talk about more tips and tricks around digital marketing, traffic cloud, customer acquisition, et cetera. Everyone in the audience, thanks for tuning in, and we will definitely see you shortly.

 

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