"Brand Aware” explores the data-driven digital ad ecosystem from the marketer's point of view.
Today's column is written by Yannis Barros, senior associate, performance marketing, at M.Gemi.
Innovation in audience generation helped build ecommerce brands from the ground up. Think back to when event pixels granted marketers the power to hit prospects similar to past site users, and they ran to the safest option in purchasers.
It was the arrival of the purchaser lookalike audience – a dependable revenue driver.
Third-party attribution tools, however, say otherwise. As of late, the tell-all tools of marketing portfolio efficiency struggle to credit purchaser (or more commonly known as converter) lookalikes.
What prospects are converter lookalikes serving and, furthermore, would these prospects convert without being advertised to?
Marketers raised a similar question against retargeting conversions and their level of incrementality in years past – so much so that today, hold outs and strict budget caps on the tactic are standard practice.
It may be time that converter lookalikes are treated the same way.
Converter lookalike audiences are curated with the attributes of past purchasers, effectively accessing prospects with the highest propensity to purchase. This is not to definitively say that the lookalike has gotten so good that its ads hop in the path of someone about to purchase.
The concept of a converter lookalike alone, nonetheless, is enough to speculate that the targeted prospective audience is past the stage in the consumer journey that marketers presume – past awareness, past consideration and nearer to the bottom of the marketing funnel at the purchase phase, where tactics are more commonly demand-based rather than AI-driven.
Predictive analytics and conversational intelligence fuel the issue. What once were upper and mid-funnel dollars have become short-term, direct response-oriented investments as tech started listening and forecasting more accurately.
Without overly deviating from machine learning tactics to solve for the issue, alternative lookalike audiences will ensure these dollars make their way up the funnel to provide a lift in performance. Add-to-cart and engaged user lookalikes, for example, should receive greater investment as this issue is brought to the light, but make no mistake: The converter lookalike isn’t dead. It’s just far too often serving the incredibly qualified prospect with upper and mid-funnel budget.
Marketers should ration their budgets here more closely, as they do with retargeting, to improve efficiency. Proper reallocation of the savings will more effectively grow their brands in the long term.