There are many ways to reach your target audience on the web, but most of them feel about as precise as a shotgun. The process typically goes something like this:
- Develop a buyer persona around demographics (who, what, where) and psychographics (when and why).
- Find sources of data that can identify people with these characteristics.
- Deliver ad impressions to people with a significant demographic and psychographic overlap with your persona.
From this point you focus on testing and optimizing the campaign, but it often results in delayed, or no results, because your target audience shares characteristics with your audience, but not their interests or needs.
This is often the case in B2B marketing scenarios because where a person lives, what car they drive, where they shop, and if they’re right or left leaning, has nothing to do with the roles they play professionally.
In situations where the product you’re selling serves a business need rather than a personal one, you can’t rely on personal data to qualify prospects. Business needs are goal-oriented, so understanding your buyers’ goals, objectives, conditions for success (or failure), and the obstacles they face are more useful bits of data.
How do you find answers to your business problems?
You probably search Google for relevant keywords, read articles, or perhaps watch a few videos on your subject to educate yourself. No one calls a salesperson right away. We consume content, get answers, find experts we trust, and take their recommendations.
As a brand there are only a few ways to insert yourself into this process. You could own the experts, if you can hire or pay for the services of influencers to reach your audience, which can be very expensive.
Or, you can reach prospects liking, sharing, and talking about relevant content on social media…
When people share content on their social media profiles, we can safely assume they’re interested in the subject. If they share content about a topic regularly, we can infer they’re very interested, and either seeking to establish their own expertise –or seeking answers to important questions.
Increasing awareness with either of these two types of individuals will help your business. Thought leaders are a sort of influencer and may amplify your marketing messages. People looking for important answers have pressing needs and may require your services.
This is the premise of contextual advertising; find the right people at the right time, based on the type of information they’re researching online. Best of all, when your marketing primarily reaches people in need of your services, you’ll convert more of them, more quickly, and at a lower cost per acquisition.
Sounds great…how do you get started with contextual advertising?
MarketChorus’ unique machine learning technology examines content from tens of thousands of news and industry publications through the lens of social media: who’s engaging with it, who they follow or follows them, which accounts influence their activity, and more.
Then we compile lists of accounts engaging with relevant content (liking, commenting on, or sharing) and build them into custom audiences on social advertising platforms.
Since Twitter’s API exposes the largest amount of useful data, compared to Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networks, this tends to be where we focus our efforts initially, expanding to other platforms later if necessary.
The first step in getting started is identifying either the audience you want to reach or the content that’s relevant to the right kind of buyer. One will lead us naturally to the other, so focus on whichever is easier to define.
Next we’ll build a sample set of your target audience and mine their timelines for relevant content. After ingesting the content they’re sharing, liking and commenting on, our machine learning algorithms will find a wealth of similar content and extract a list of the Twitter profiles engaging with it. Think of this as finding “lookalikes”.
The final step is to deliver your offers to this group of qualified prospects through Twitter’s ad platform. You know they’re the right people, because of what they’ve spent time reading and sharing, so you don’t have to worry about the quality of your audience.
Instead, you can focus exclusively on testing messages, offers, and creative ways of telling your story -where you’ll have the most impact on conversions and revenue.
That’s the beauty of contextual advertising. The people you need to reach self-identify on social media, by sharing content, following accounts, and engaging in discussions. These actions all imply interest, and multiple points of interest indicates potential intent.
We find people seeking answers to problems that your products solve and deliver them to your website with targeted advertisements. The results are typically impressive.
See this lead gen case study from a commercial real estate investment firm in Dallas, TX.
What about contextual programmatic and other forms of targeting content?
It’s true that some programmatic platforms offer contextual advertising, in the form of programmatic display or native advertising content. Many publishers are investing into data platforms and have invested resources into tagging their content in ways that are interoperable with ad networks, giving them the ability to deliver display ads on certain types of content.
While interesting, these tactics rely on some pretty shaky assumptions…namely manually-tagged data (lots of room for manipulation) and the efficacy of display ads.
Manual-tagging leaves a lot of room for error, generalization, and deliberate miscategorization by greedy publishers. You also have to contend with over 35% of your clicks being fraudulent on average, a 60% increase over prior year estimates (Source: Affise)
MarketChorus data, in sharp contrast, ensures that the profiles you are targeting are engaging with multiple pieces of relevant content, across more than one set of criteria (search terms, followers, etc), to filter out bots and one-off readers.
This approach also provides many more options for optimizing your audience. Typical demographic and psychographic campaigns are driven by testing “black box” lists whose original sources are invisible to the advertiser and the quality of the lists a mystery.
Contextual advertising with MarketChorus is completely transparent and data-privacy conscious, only using publicly available Twitter data, rather than relying on invasive third-party cookies.
Simply put, if you’re advertising in highly-specific niches, or in B2B in general, contextual advertising through social networks offers greater accuracy, transparency and control than any other modern digital advertising method available today.
To learn more about contextual advertising, and MarketChorus’ unique machine learning technology, contact us today.
To see some of our technology in action, sign up for a free account to our content intelligence platform, MarketChorus Resonance.