A new report entitled ‘Digital Re-imagined: Context and Predictability’ from ExchangeWire Research, in association with xAd, reveals that media planners rely less on demographic data and insights to inform advertising strategy, and instead favour contextual data and insights when it comes to defining campaign strategies and optimising performance.
Although demographic data is still used by marketers, shortcomings are becoming more apparent. The research reveals that more than half of media buyers (51 per cent) believe demographic segments are ‘of no use’ or ‘of limited use’ when it comes to their ability to help segment and deliver personalised ads to consumers.
Within this, nearly a third (30 per cent) see no use for demographic data in achieving these goals.
In contrast, four in every ten marketers believe contextual targeting (including location) will boost the relevance of their ads (43 per cent); improve perception of their brand (42 per cent); and to drive footfall to physical locations (41 per cent).
Furthermore, nearly half (47 per cent) of respondents say using location and contextual targeting makes campaign planning more efficient internally and one third (34 per cent) highlight real-time campaign activation as a benefit.
Imran Khan, head of programmatic and strategic partnerships, xAd comments, ‘Although consumer behaviour is getting harder to predict, new technology is making it easier than ever before for brands to obtain a wider understanding of their audience. People have never fallen into straightforward demographics, and now we can build campaigns based on real behaviours and audience context.
‘Location highlights intent as a visit to a store or specific place is often a larger commitment to purchasing compared to an online search or social share. This opens prime opportunities for brands to target audiences in the right moment based on where they are.’
One third (33 per cent) of respondents say that they implement location and contextual targeting to deliver performance uplift against brand metrics compared to 27 per cent who look for uplift against direct response metrics.
Khan continues, ‘Contextual and location targeting is offering brands the chance to understand the correlation between their online marketing activity and offline sales for the first time. Mobile means that brands can use digital to drive footfall in the real world. Until now this has been a blind spot for marketers, despite consumer behaviour moving towards the multichannel landscape.’
Skills are cited as the main barrier to implementation of contextual targeting (40 per cent). Marketers indicate however, that measurement (13 per cent) and the technology itself (21 per cent) is not an obstacle to implementation.
Rebecca Muir, head of research and analysis at ExchangeWire Research adds, ‘Our findings reveal the industry is at a tipping point between the use of demographic data, and location & contextual data to define their campaign targeting.
‘Today’s media buyers are embracing these new targeting parameters, and using these alongside traditional demographic segments to boost the relevancy of their advertising. However, the skills gap needs to be addressed in order to benefit fully from the new technologies available.’