Addressable Marketing Changed Yesterday

mattnaegerData-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is by Matt Naeger, executive vice president of strategy and analytics for Merkle’s Digital Agency Group.

Addressable marketing is not new – we’ve been doing it for many years in the offline world.

But during the past two years, it has become top of mind as marketers sought to translate its benefits to the rapidly changing world of digital. Although some have long insisted that addressable marketing was the future, progress has been slow for companies figuring out how to spend money in digital media in an addressable way.

We are about to see a major shift in the market that will prove the addressable marketing train is leaving the station, and marketers need to be ready to jump aboard. Google launched yesterday a program called Customer Match, its first step toward building a platform that will parallel what Facebook and Twitter have built to help advertisers use their first-party data to target customers (and those like them) across their networks.

Google launched this program with some very tight guidelines, which seek to serve users and advertisers alike. The approach is intent on not stepping too far too fast. In many ways, this is good for marketers – even though many wish they could have greater access or do more of what they want in the process.

I am certain that this is the first of several steps Google will take to make YouTube, Gmail and search into full-fledged first-party addressable media platforms. I believe that we will look back on this moment relative to addressable media in much the same way we do the launch of the iPhone as a seminal juncture in the development of mobile as a platform.

Many spoke of “The Year of Mobile” for at least five years before the iPhone was released. Then, in what seemed like minutes, we were in the middle of a full-scale mobile revolution that still has some marketers reeling to catch up.

Staying Ahead Of The Curve

The question that should be on every marketer’s mind today is, “What have we been doing to become an addressable marketing organization?” And the answer in most cases will be: “Not enough.” Now as Google – and what amounts to nearly 50% of all digital advertising – has the ability to be addressable, the winners and losers will be quickly identified as those who can best move the fastest to become platform marketers.

Platform marketers have a plan for how to connect media across channels and deliver experiences that are relevant to the insights they have gleaned about their customers and prospects. It is now imperative that the focus of programs change to be more relevant to customers along their journey with a brand, not just at a point in that experience. Marketers must know how and when to deliver differentiation based on the ways that customers choose to interact with a brand.

How It Works

Google Customer Match allows advertisers to upload customer lists in to the platform to utilize for targeting. Once loaded, those lists are matched via email address to primary Google account emails for recognition. Email accounts are linked to Google IDs on the platform to be used for ad placement.

Within YouTube and Gmail targeted ads, Google can use its Similar Audiences technology to match users who look like a marketer’s customers in order to execute their ad delivery programs.

Marketers can use their lists across all three platforms – YouTube, Gmail and search – at the same time, though they cannot use their list across platforms outside of these three.

Email opt-out does not change the ability to use a customer’s email in the targeting platform.

There will be much more information available on the effects of Google Customer Match and the performance across media platforms in the coming weeks. I also expect that Google will move quickly to continue to enhance the platform throughout the fourth quarter and into the first part of 2016.

One thing is certain: Addressable marketing took a huge step forward this week. There is no doubt that that we are in an age where “he who has the most data wins” has never been truer.

Follow Merkle (@merkleCRM) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

 

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