DAVID RODNITZKY: We started out helping people get into search engine marketing or optimize their performance. We realized that a lot of clients are not just looking for search engine marketing expertise, they’re also looking for online direct response, and so we’ve built up teams of experts on SEM, SEO, paid social and programmatic display.
Where are you in the integration with iSearch?
We’re still in the early stages of plotting our goals for the integration. To give you an example of where it makes sense to integrate the two teams, iSearch has a fantastic SEO offering and we’ve had clients clamoring for more SEO tools.
How do you help clients make data-driven campaigns?
We have a client that only sells business-class and first-class airline tickets and they can’t give you a quote online. You have to talk to a sales rep for a custom quote.
They were buying ads online, but they didn’t know which efforts were driving the most revenue. We set the client up with Marin Software, which is a campaign-management tool that allows you to track conversions. We also integrated Marin into Salesforce.com, so that when a lead came in, it was sent to their CRM system and when that lead closed, the revenue amount could be uploaded to Marin, enabling them to see which revenue was connected to which lead and which keywords and channels were driving actual ROI.
For general targeting, we use second- and third-party data. We consider second-party data as anything from a publisher. We also work with third-party companies like BlueKai and [x+1]. When it comes to targeting display ads, we look at geography, time of day, behavioral data, the semantics of the article or topic and if we can get the device data, we’ll use that, too.
What trends are you watching?
One of the areas I’m interested in is CRM-based retargeting. We’ve done some testing with LiveRamp and we’re using Custom Audiences with Facebook for clients that have a large tool of addresses that we can match with Facebook. I see an interesting trend where first-party data and CRM-based retargeting are becoming prevalent across display and even search.
What I find interesting with LiveRamp or a similar platform is if you segment your audiences on the back end with an Excel sheet and upload it to Custom Audiences, you can play with the campaigns within the Facebook world and you don’t necessarily need a marketing automation platform.
What’s your strategy for mobile advertising?
We see mobile as being part of all our channels. A DSP, for example, will have access to mobile inventory; Google has access to mobile inventory through AdWords and Facebook has its specific mobile ad units. We can reach folks on tablets or phones through our partners. In terms of app design, we haven’t gone in that direction yet, but it’s something that we’re looking into.
What are your thoughts on native advertising?
The native advertising space is going to evolve quickly and some standards will be established either by a combination of the ad industry and government regulations. I do think that some native advertising gets around banner blindness by not disclosing that this is an ad, so I think there’s a short-term opportunity for advertisers to get a lot of views and clicks because consumers don’t realize it’s an ad. Once it gets regulated, it’ll be just another ad unit and the effectiveness will be muted.
What’s on your road map?
Our road map is pretty long. Video is on the road map, and so is affiliate marketing, RTB, local marketing, enhanced analytics and other areas. Because clients come to us as a starting point for search engine marketing, I look at our roadmap as “what are the things that are complementary to search engine marketing, that we need to offer to be a true direct-response digital agency?”