Jeff Hirsch is President and CEO of AudienceScience.
AdExchanger.com: Do you agree that audience has become more important than placement? If so, what have been the key drivers?
JH: I absolutely agree that the reaching right audience is the most important component of any advertising. Contextual placements are often a proxy for reaching a specific audience. In addition, placement in context on premium sites is inventory supply limited, and with the need for campaign efficiency greater than ever, audience targeting is a vital resource to marketers.
Behavioral targeting is an effective form of online advertising. But - privacy concerns aside - where are the areas that can be developed or improved with BT?
We are able to create the most accurate audience segments, targeted to great detail; however the challenge to marketers is being able to efficiently match creative and messaging with each specific audience segment in a timely manner. Another area that can be improved is the analysis of the massive amounts of data (strictly anonymous of course) available to gain consumer insight on an individual level. Through deeper analysis we can target consumer with relevant messaging customized to their particular stage in the buying process and reach them anywhere on the web.
How effective is porting offline data (such as Datran or Aperture) to online campaigns today? Is AudienceScience using offline data on behalf of its clients?
This practice looks to be very effective; more data to incorporate into a segment can only improve targeting accuracy and scale. However, we do not engage in this methodology yet as we are still weighing the consumer privacy issues.
How will media agencies need to change to keep up with ongoing innovation in the online ad industry?
Media agencies will need to implement technologies and practices that give them a deeper understanding of their client's audiences. This advanced knowledge will empower agencies to deliver campaigns that reduce waste and increase ROI.
Where should publishers be looking to improve yield in the future?
They should expand the boundaries of their site and not allow themselves to be limited by data or inventory. Publishers have spent years developing monetization strategies around their inventory . They need to spend the same energy developing strategies around the value of their audience. By doing so, they can dramatically expand their revenue opportunities.
Does AudienceScience participate in data exchanges or ad exchanges? Or will it create its own data exchange?
We find value in working with any quality source of inventory or data. Our value proposition is to find audiences anywhere and any technology that offers us the ability to do so in a brand safe environment is important to us. We do not foresee building our own exchange as our core focus is on the qualitative construction and targeting of comprehensive audience segments.
How will demand-side optimization and real-time bidding (RTB) affect AudienceScience?
For AudienceScience as an entity that creates high value audiences and then targets those audiences on inventory we buy, RTB is a welcome development. We are looking for specific users that we want to target, and being able to bid on only those impressions we want is more efficient and benefits both buyers and sellers. Doing this on a per impression basis in real time enables us to determine the true value of the impression to us, and by extension to our advertiser clients, using all of the data available to us. We are better able to do demand side optimization.
Any trends you can discuss as to what part of the purchase funnel behavioral advertising is affecting today? Are brand awareness campaigns growing with BT or is it still direct response-focused with brand still a ways off?
We have seen success with brand awareness campaigns. Behavioral targeting has an effect throughout the sales funnel, because it does not rely on context or placement, and can tailor messaging and creative specific to audiences no matter which stage of the funnel they are in. It can be a powerful branding channel; unfortunately, automated brand measurement methodologies are still very limited.