Jeremy Longinotti is Senior Vice President/General Manager, Audience Targeting, of eBureau, a lead verification and audience targeting solutions company.
AdExchanger.com: First, please share a background on the company's different business units or channels.
JL: eBureau has been helping consumer-focused businesses find their next customer since 2004. We provide a powerful suite of predictive analytics and real-time information solutions, geared at helping performance marketers and digital advertisers improve the profitability of their new customer acquisition efforts. Historically, we’ve focused on three main solution areas: Lead Quality Scoring, Contact Center Optimization and Risk Management. All of our product offerings are based on eBureau’s core technology - a robust, proprietary data mining platform that aggregates massive amounts of offline consumer data licensed from dozens of sources. We’re excited about our newest solution - Audience Targeting - that is built using this same technology, and rounds out our predictive analytics solutions for upper funnel and brand-focused advertising.
Generally speaking what are the differences in audience targeting online versus offline? How is eBureau uniquely serving online today?
Targeting for offline advertising and much of online is based on simple demographic composition indexes for a program, publication or website. Online has developed more sophisticated targeting options, but most lack precision or require a huge amount of trial and error to determine if the approach is achieving the desired outcome. It’s still very hit or miss and the process is expensive and laborious.
In our case, eBureau builds a Custom Audience for each advertiser or campaign, based on historical performance or demographic profiles. We then use our massive aggregated dataset of offline data - more than 50,000 attributes per record - and our automated predictive modeling platform to determine the specific 150-200 attributes that define the ideal audience. This comprehensive analysis combines the power of many different data sets into a single, custom targeting attribute. The final result is a propensity score of 0-9 that grades each prospect on how well they fit the advertiser’s criteria. A score of “9” means that someone is a great fit and a score of “0” means they are a poor fit. We don’t rely on generic, predetermined clustering schemes or limit the audience to a particular type or source of data. The result is a highly precise, easy to use audience targeting solution that can reach the client’s ideal audience at scale.
Advertisers can then buy advertising against their Custom Audience. We’ve partnered with BlueKai as well as directly with some large publishers to make eBureau Custom Audiences available from a wide variety of inventory sources, including premium publishers, ad networks, demand-side platforms and agency trading desks. Our approach expands the addressable audience, rather than restricting it, but only delivers advertising against truly ideal consumers. The precision and scale are unmatched by any other targeting method. As a bonus, the simple way we deliver the audience with a single targeting parameter of 0-9 makes media buyers’ jobs much easier.
What is your target market for audience targeting?
Initially, we are going after online display and video, working with both the brand marketers and their agencies to improve the effectiveness, scale and ROI of their campaigns. There are also plenty of performance marketers in these channels that need to reach qualified buyers and brand marketers who need to get their message in front of the right audience at scale, but without waste.
Ultimately, eBureau’s solution is a strong fit across multiple digital advertising mediums - online display and video advertising, e-mail campaigns, mobile advertising and IPTV, when it arrives. All of these channels have an interactive element that allows two-way data to flow between consumers and advertisers, thereby enabling more sophisticated targeting than previously available. We can define and target advertising to custom audiences across all of these channels.
Can you provide a use case for the type of product you provide when it comes to digital audience solutions?
When we work with a client, the first step is to define the audience they want to reach. We primarily rely on the client’s data, which identifies historic performance on the client’s audience: past leads, conversions and/or which customers have high lifetime value. For example, we implemented this solution for a leading online university to help them target advertising to new leads that were both likely to enroll in and complete a degree program - the latter being the most profitable students. The client provided historical data on all their previous leads, conversions and students who completed the curriculum. We matched this list against our massive dataset of offline licensed data - all “who” data that profiles individual consumers. Using our predictive modeling platform, eBureau identified the common attributes that were predictive of who had a high likelihood of signing up for and completing the curriculum. We then built a Custom Audience for the client, using these attributes to identify online visitors who met the criteria. The client purchased ad impressions against this audience with their media partners. For the duration of the campaign, we saw a significant increase in lead traffic from the Custom Audience segments that scored at the high end of the audience targeting model with more than 50% of the leads coming from visitors scoring 8 and 9.
Stepping back, how has the lead generation world evolved in the past year? Is it ready for a data-driven lead generation business through demand-side platforms, for example?
Some of our initial successes with the audience targeting product involve exactly that. Many of our long-standing clients who use our lead quality scoring solution to aid their execution of lead buying from aggregators are turning to display advertising as another lead channel. Using the same audience definition approach, we identify the ideal audience and clients target display advertising to them. Using this approach, they can directly source their own leads often with higher efficiency than via the aggregators. Most of this buying is done through the demand-side platforms (DSPs) as DSPs and the underlying RTB exchanges are generally the most cost-effective media-buying channel. In addition, some DSPs can really help with campaign optimization to drive higher conversion rates.
How does eBureau address consumer privacy with its datasets?
eBureau’s audience targeting solutions are all developed offline, using offline data that is licensed from a variety of sources and housed within our highly secure datacenter. We don’t use any behavioral or clickstream data in our modeling. For each Custom Audience, we look for patterns and commonality in this data that help us predict if a new prospective consumer is likely to be a good fit for our advertising client. This analysis produces the 0-9 numerical score for each prospective customer. When we push a client’s Custom Audience online, the only information that is associated with a web visitor is this single numerical score and few pieces of very basic demographic information. No personally identifiable information is ever available and there is no way to tie the score back to a specific individual from an online user session.
How are you measuring and ensuring success for your clients?
This is a big challenge overall for the industry, especially for brand advertisers. Attribution ranges from last-click to view-through to brand perception. Our data is best for top to mid-funnel advertising. For pure branding campaigns at the top of the funnel, the goal is to change perception within the target audience to drive visitors into the top of the purchase funnel and make them more likely to buy at a later date. For that type of campaign, we see the most success using a test-control, survey-based ad effectiveness measurement like Vizu or Dynamic Logic.
For top or mid-funnel performance campaigns, the conversion process takes a bit longer than impulse buys or finding consumers who are at the end of the purchase funnel. In those cases, we can track conversion rates, but we counsel our clients to use a view-through attribution with multiple channels (i.e. search, direct navigation and landing page) and with a reasonable time horizon - usually between 7 and 30 days, depending on the product sales cycle.
There are cases for very short sales cycle products (i.e. impulse buys) where we can drive immediate transactions at a very high conversion rate with our targeting. Of course, in those scenarios, we can drive a very profitable cost per lead (CPL) for our customers compared to other methods.
Do you see potential for brand marketers looking to drive awareness with eBureau's digital tools? Or is this strictly for direct response?
Absolutely - we think this is the largest potential for our Audience Targeting business. While we have demonstrated that we can successfully build Custom Audiences for performance marketers seeking specific outcomes and drive strong ROI on conversions or cost-per-lead, we think the even larger opportunity is with brand marketers. They have long been hungry to spend larger budgets against the online channel, but need better confidence that they are spending their budgets with appropriate effectiveness and efficiency. Their basic, but critical, challenge is getting the right message in front of the right consumers to influence their perception about the brand in order to drive them to become a customer eventually. Our Custom Audiences provide precision and scale in defining and reaching that ideal audience that are unmatched in online brand advertising.
What are a few goals that you would like to see eBureau accomplish with its audience targeting business over the next year?
We are officially launching our Audience Targeting solution to the marketplace this month. We have executed numerous successful pilots and are excited to expand the business with a variety of existing and new customers. We are also working on a variety of partnerships to expand supported inventory sources and the scale of our addressable audience. It is critical that clients can buy media against eBureau Custom Audiences for campaigns of any size or breadth, based on their objectives.
How does pricing work?
We’ve seen several different pricing schemes work depending on clients’ preferences and economic models:
- Percent of spend: fixed % of the media plan
- Cost Per Stamp: pay for the addressable audience once for a specific time period (say 30 days) and serve as many impressions as you want during that time
- Cost Per Transaction: pay a CPM-based fee for every ad impression served against the custom audience
We’re relatively flexible in our pricing as long as the impact of the data on the campaign is being fairly reflected in the deal.