Imagine that you have a blender to sell. However, you choose to have this blender sold only in Target stores because you think the customers in Target will most likely buy your blender. Consequently, by being too narrow with your distribution, you miss out on sales that could have come from customers shopping at Wal-Mart, Kohl’s or other discount chains. Online advertisers sometimes make the same mistake of targeting an audience too narrowly, whether through a network, exchange or marketplace. This can result in poor delivery, poor performance and unhappy advertisers.
One rule of thumb to follow is if you are buying an audience segment from a data provider, make sure you have the broadest site list possible. The notion of audience segment targeting is based on the idea that we have a very strong idea of who the end-user is. If that’s the case, then site targeting should always be as broad as possible, and it shouldn’t matter where the user is as long as we deliver the ad to him/her. For example, going after In-Market Luxury Auto Shoppers in just auto content will likely not yield the best performance results (whether performance is measured on brand awareness, increasing purchase intent or driving sales). Typically, Auto channel content reaches a very small percentage of users and because of small reach, performance tends to be poor.
I did a basic performance comparison between eight pre-roll campaigns that had Audience Segment Targeting on a broad site list (2000+ sites) versus a narrow site list (less than 300 sites). Audience segment targeting was based on age. The broader set of sites included the full marketplace and the narrow site list included content categories like Arts/Entertainment and Home/Family. For the broader site list, click-through rate (CTR) performance was 36% higher and completion rate (CR) performance was 30% higher than the narrow site list.
Because ad content can stand out more, I would argue ad content unrelated to the site content will engage a user more often, which is why performance on a broader site list was much better. So if Audience Segment Targeting is part of the plan, think “broad” when it comes to site targeting because it will give the campaign the best opportunity to succeed and deliver the most optimum results for the advertiser.
Vincent Yu, Account Manager for Adap.tv