Seeking Alpha Uses DMP To Slice Up Its Audience Demos

Seeking-Alpha-DMPBecause Seeking Alpha attracts a financially savvy audience, financial services advertisers want to be there.

But often, those advertisers want to reach even finer slices of Seeking Alpha’s audience. One of the most coveted demos on the site is financial advisers, who make decisions about vast amounts of other people’s money.

Seeking Alpha needed a better way to target them because while one out of three people on Seeking Alpha works in the financial services industry, only a fraction are financial advisers.

Plus, not every one of Seeking Alpha’s 5 million registered users reveals their profession. Third-party behavioral targeting to find users who fit the financial adviser demo yielded suspicious results.

“They were telling us there were millions of financial advisers in the US, but there are only 350,000 of them,” said Katherine Divney, VP of sales for Seeking Alpha. Its clients were wise to the shortcomings of this approach. “Sophisticated clients want to know if the targeting is first-party or third-party.”

After organizing its data and creating segments with its Krux DMP last year, Seeking Alpha created lookalike audiences using its first-party data, giving it more control over how it modeled audiences compared to using a third party.

For example, going from a lookalike audience that’s 90% similar to the original segment to an 80% similar audience increases scale but may reduce audience quality. Publishers can pull those levers in the DMP themselves, and in turn communicate that to their advertisers.

Seeking Alpha used its DMP to launch a reach extension product, Alpha Reach, in the middle of last year. Advertisers use Seeking Alpha’s first-party data in order to reach hard-to-find, small audience segments like financial advisers off-site.

Using a DMP to create audience segments and then expand valuable ones via lookalike audiences and reach extension led to a 24x ROI on its DMP investment within a year. According to Krux Chief Solutions Officer Mike Moreau, that’s on the high end of average for a DMP implementation.

Besides financial advisers, another key segment, “substantiators,” proved a hit with advertisers. These are people who invest their money with advisers, but do their own research in order to research and verify their decisions.

CPMs rose 43% in 2015, the year Seeking Alpha implemented its DMP, Divney said. Part of that came from Seeking Alpha understanding the value of its own inventory better. But it also was a sign that its segments were performing.

“When you have targeting that is effective and accurate, advertisers will pay a premium,” Divney said.

Being able to offer advertisers off-site inventory through Alpha Reach helped the publication during a strong Q4.

“We had really high sell-through in Q4, and if it weren’t for Krux’s DMP, we would have had to turn away budget,” Divney said.

Seeking Alpha had already sold out for this year by Q1 on its site for the coveted financial adviser segment. But because it had a DMP, “we could run accurate lookalike segments, and also offer them financial advisers off Seeking Alpha” via reach extension, Divney said.

But the right users also need to hear the right message. Seeking Alpha is thinking about how to use its data in more consultative conversations with marketers. For example, it can share different investment trends it’s seeing on the site, like if there’s been a recent uptick in articles written about gold.

“Data is an everyday part of our conversations with clients,” Divney said. “The more they know about what’s happening on our site, the more that can inform the messages they are creating.” Those messages can then be leveraged on-site in more contextual placements, like a gold-focused message placed next to articles about the price of gold.

It’s also using data as an attribution tool for difficult-to-measure conversions. Seeking Alpha can share how many people added an ETF [exchange-traded fund] to their portfolio on the site after an advertising campaign for that fund.

“Data is a differentiator for long-term, high-value relationships,” Divney said.

 

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