Glen Calvert: Bringing data to life in ads

“Right person, right message, right time.” CEO and founder of Affectv, Glen Calvert explains how real time, personalised targeting is the key to conversion.

Research tells us people are exposed to anything from 1,500 to 3,000 adverts a day. While the figure may not be definitive it is clear people are exposed to more advertising than ever before. On their phones, online, on television, in the street… And as our exposure to advertising grows so too does our ability to ignore it.

The scatter gun approach of hitting as many people as possible is no longer relevant, but how do we change the mind-set of a marketer that just needs to achieve the highest conversion rate possible? How can we get better at delivering advertising people want?

The way we approach ad delivery needs to reflect our marketing objectives, which in turn determines how we target and personalise ads in real-time. If a brand is focussed on driving more cost efficient sales from existing customers, retargeting will be the best display tactic to use. Given that there’s a small window in which to convert a consumer, it’s important to mobilise data in real time or as near to real time as possible to target that visitor and provide a personalised message.

This becomes more complex when trying to target new customers. The data needed to predict whether or not a consumer is likely to engage is far more detailed, requiring both historic and current information. This gets more complex still when you want to personalise the message itself – it means matching historic data on interests, previous behaviour and recent actions with a relevant message and real-time decision making.

Back to the old mantra, right person, right message, right time. It’s not enough to find those audiences. You also have to be ready to buy with real time bidding (RTB) if you’re going to hit that narrow window in which they first exhibit that interest in a product. With the ability to access larger volumes of data both at the bottom, and increasingly further up in the purchase funnel, we are able to take the concept of personalisation into the ads and serve ever more relevant messages.

Signal extraction is a concept we talk about a lot – pulling the most valuable pieces of data from the best sources across the web, and we can fit this into three distinct areas: audience targeting, insights and lastly signals for ads which is where we look to bring data to life for consumers. If we can tell a consumer why they’re seeing that message, we can convince them to engage with the brand.

We recently ran a campaign for a money transfer brand. Knowing that the primary users of money transfer services were people who had travelled abroad to earn money and send it home, we identified drivers like social and community pressure to be key to this core audience. We therefore used our technology to find audiences who exhibited the behaviours of expatriates and engaged with content from specific countries. What’s more, we used the same data in the actual ads, telling users that other consumers were sending money home to that country.

The impact on performance was huge with a 97% uplift against the control group’s conversion rate. It’s a great example of how RTB and access to meaningful data can unlock powerful ways to find and connect with new audiences in a very personal way.