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Editor's Cut: Measuring success beyond the click
by Lyn Chitow Oakes, EVP and General Manager of Engage


When online marketing first began to take hold, the standard vehicle for online advertising was the banner ad and the method of measuring Internet advertising and marketing success was with click-through rates. Today, the rules have changed and successful online marketers are demanding solutions that go beyond clickthrough rates. Marketers are getting to the heart of what creates a successful marketing program: customer acquisition and retention.

To effectively reach consumers and create customers, marketers measure "beyond the click," using methods that do not rely on traditional means of analyzing and maximizing return on investment. Four key methods to achieve customer reach and retention include incorporating non-personally identifiable profiling, direct response and optimization, targeted audience groups and emerging technologies. Are these solutions in your online marketing portfolio?

Non-personally Identifiable Profiling
Picture this scenario: a person visits a sports site and begins clicking on articles related to golf. Marketers know that if they put an ad for golf clubs on that site, they have a pretty good chance of reaching their target consumer.

What marketers may not know is that this particular consumer is also interested in gardening. Non-personally identifiable profiling provides marketers with information about the consumer by building a profile based on online behavior patterns. With this information, marketers can not only more effectively target their advertising and marketing efforts based on proven interests, but can also take advantage of opportunities they never realized would work to reach their target audiences.

So the next time our user logs on, they may very well go to their favorite sports site and see an ad for golf clubs and gardening tools.

In the process of creating customer profiles, one thing marketers cannot neglect is online consumers' desire for privacy. In fact, maintaining and respecting an individual's right to online privacy can create distinct benefits for the marketer. By following guidelines like the Federal Trade Commission's Fair Information Practices, marketers build consumer trust in their products and services. If consumers feel comfortable purchasing online, they will keep coming back online, creating more opportunity for marketers.

Direct Response and Optimization
Direct response and optimization allow marketers to focus an advertising campaign toward the best audience. Utilizing a combination of zero-based media targeting and behavioral targeting methods can significantly increase customer reach and retention. The concept of zero-based media targeting is first introduced when a campaign is performance tested without any preconceived notions regarding what works and what doesn't for a particular campaign. From this performance test a "baseline" is developed which can be used for comparison purposes with a users behavioral movements. In addition, this baseline enables marketers to make sound decisions on the purchase of additional media content or profile-based solutions depending on the outcome of the results.

Another component essential to optimization is the employment of detailed reporting mechanisms. Advisors will make recommendations about a variety of factors such as what sites are performing the best and frequency of creative rotation to improve the overall performance of a campaign and successfully create customers.

Target Audience Groups
Targeted audience groups (TAGs) help marketers locate key audiences and devise focused online campaigns. The groups are based on demographic profiles developed for online users that are matched to specific interest categories such as the Adventure Sports Enthusiasts, or Home Owners/Buyers. Utilizing TAGs allows marketers to focus media buys in the most popular content sites that match their target interest categories.

TAGs help marketers go "beyond the site," allowing them to target specific individuals, rather than simply relying on placing their ads on sites and hoping that they are reaching the correct audiences. Incorporating TAGs in online advertising and marketing reflects a time-tested marketing mandate: know your prospects as well as you can to increase chances of turning them into customers and to keep them satisfied as return customers.

Emerging Technologies
Emerging technology solutions represent an important component in attracting customers. Technologies like broadband, streaming media, and rich media enable marketers to actively engage the interests of online users more effectively than using static banner ads alone. Marketers are embracing these technologies as powerful new communication tools to reach consumers and create customers.

Online marketing campaigns that incorporate non-personally identifiable profiling, direct response and optimization, target audience groups and emerging technologies provide the best means of reaching consumers and creating customers. Moving at the speed of technology, these essential marketing programs augment traditional online banner ads and promotions. Effective marketers should partner with the online advertising companies that offer the programs outlined above to strategically and successfully extend the reach and response of their marketing campaigns. Today, online marketers have expanded their efforts beyond the click to measure their success on the creation and retention of customers. Have your marketing tactics shifted to incorporate this new trend?



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