As the old saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” But that’s OK for ad-networks. After all, it’s all about direct response and generating leads. Once the consumer is at the advertiser’s landing page, it’s up to the advertiser to close the deal with a good product and a good offer—at least under a cost-per-click model. But there’s the rub: How do you drive traffic in the first place? Well, there are a number of ways, and this article will focus primarily on two of them that have been all a-buzz recently—Behavioral Targeting and Geotargeting—and assess the strengths and weaknesses of each approach, while shining a light on some other non-traditional options.
“Behavioral targeting is a very big field,” says Danny Allen, founder and partner of online ad network Admixture. People hear about behavioral targeting (BT) and think of it as a magic bullet for online advertising, with the emphasis on ‘magic,’” says Allen, commenting on how many tend to exaggerate the capabilities of this technology. “BT means a broad range of things,” says Allen. Some BT models are ad-serving technologies that use multiple regression analysis of a large number of websites and web users to try to predict what web users will do, based on their previous and current actions. Other BT models use retargeting, where, for example, users who have been on car company website in the last week are served ads by that company to try to drive them back to the site.
“I would be skeptical of anybody else who says they have enough data to use behavioral targeting it accurately…”
Admixture does not currently do the multiple-regression BT, but does do retargeting.
The reason his company does not do multiple regression BT, says Allen, is because most sites do not have the right technology to render it effective. Good multiple-regression BT requires a very large amount of data in order for the predictions of the model to be accurate and useful. “The Hispanic web properties that have both the technology and the reach for that kind of BT would be a very short list, including probably only Yahoo! Telemundo and MSN Latino. I would be skeptical of anybody else who says they have enough data to do it accurately,” says Allen.
Eric Frias, President of Multi-modal online advertising company MeMedia, which recently launched MeMedia Latino and specializes in BT, agrees that significant information is necessary to successfully implement the technology: “To effectively deliver behavioral targeting, an extensive network must be in place. The challenge is to reach users surfing the web that have not visited your property. To truly deliver behavioral targeting you would need to be located on the desktop (MeMedia's desktop platform). For MeMedia, therein lies the opportunity. We have technology that uses real time data (not just historical data as most BT companies) to determine/predict the best ad to show. Over time, our real-time capability gets smarter and more accurate.”
Luis Cabrera, managing director of Bravo Uno-a-Uno, has a different take: “Behavioral online advertising networks that include Spanish language sites as part of the offering bring a very interesting perspective to our market. A lot of homework should be done. If you take a look at some sources, like Media Economics Group, that track online campaigns in the US Hispanic market, you will see dramatic growth in different categories, but we need to be careful and determine what we will consider a US Hispanic online marketing effort.”
Cabrera asks himself: “Would an English banner ad in a Spanish Language site be considered a Hispanic effort? Don’t get me wrong, there are some good and explicit efforts to reach Hispanics online in English, and I am in favor of this approach, but I’m talking about all these other banners out there that are not even trying to be appealing to the Hispanic Market, especially in the Apparel and Financial Services categories. Chances are that these impressions are part of a ‘behavioral network’ buy, and the buyers and clients are not even aware that their ad is being displayed in a Spanish-language site. Some may argue that some of these are explicit buys to reach Latinos and that leaving all communications ‘as is’ has proven to be effective. All I have to say then is that they could increase those efficacies dramatically by developing targeted communications at a fraction of the cost of their buy.”
MeMedia’s Eric Frias says he understands the ambiguity that surrounds behavioral targeting and says the biggest challenge facing companies who specialize in BT is convincing advertisers that it works and to remove the confusion the industry has created around what BT is and how it should or should not work. “Once they understand the fundamentals of BT and run campaigns with us they usually keep coming back because we ultimately deliver the best performance. In the Hispanic market, the user’s generation and dominant language has been a challenge but with BT it can solve many concerns an advertiser may have to reaching the right consumer.”
Behavioral Targeting & Geotargeting
Targets users based on past demonstrated behavior
Requires large volume of data to be effective
Behavioral-targeted ads may seem more relevant to user.
User behavior is not uniform.
Delivers ads depending on the users IP, allowing for highly targeted delivery.
Targets only readers who read home-country papers
Good at capturing recent Immigrants.
Can be limited in scope.
Leverages user's affinity for the vehicle in which it appears.
Another technology that has become widely used in targeting U.S. Hispanics is geotargeting—or serving a user a given ad based on that user’s location. This approach can be highly valuable when trying to target users in a specific geographic location. As Alicia Morga, CEO of online ad Consorte Media notes, “Once we’ve identified the areas that make more sense for the specific advertising campaign, our trafficking team is able to place ads so only visitors from the specific geography see the ad and have the ability to respond to the ad. This level of targeting helps us deliver exactly who the advertiser is seeking. A great example of this targeting is the recruitment campaign we did for Best Buy. The client was looking to recruit a diverse workforce with specific technical skills in narrow geographic regions. We used geotargeting to deliver ads in areas where new stores were opening, in order to provide qualified applicants. The campaign has been a great success.”
Another version of geotargeting is Geo-demographical targeting. Margot Bradley, COO of the recently-launched Hola Networks explains, “Geo-Dem targeting is simply an overlay of geographic targeting and demographic targeting. For example, a certain client wants to reach a demo of Men 18-39 with HHI of $50K+. But they only want to reach them in Los Angeles, Denver and Houston. With Geo-Dem targeting, we can provide the client with that precise target. Hola’s geotargeting is done with Quova, which provides geographical information on the internet. Quova geo-targets messaging by zip code, area code, DMA, state, city, etc. The demographic information is culled from the sites themselves as well as registration-based websites that offer data on user age and income.
Miami-based U.S. Media Consulting group uses Geotargeting to target particular Latin American ethnic groups. As ad sales director Bruno Almeida told Portada: “One of our most important products is the ability to offer segmentation of ethnic group. Currently we can reach over 4 million unique users from 20 different ethnicities, including US Spanish, US Mexicans, US Puerto Ricans and many others. Advertisers such as Toyota, Infinity, American Airlines, Continental, Delta, Wal-Mart, Sprint, Nextel, AT&T, Western Union, Disney and many others have invested with us in this product.
“At least 90 percent of agencies that buy U.S. Hispanic online media incorporate geotargeting in their buy,” says Bruno Almeida. “And it’s not necessarily because it is pre-established in their media-buying process. It’s really because we are promoting it, telling them it is important to reach recent immigrants, and most buy. Some have gotten great results and keep buying it, some don’t get great results and so they stop.’
Almeida says that it’s impossible to say what percentage of their clients’ ad-budgets go specifically to geotargeting, because the agencies would never disclose that information. “I can tell you that Toyota, Sprint Nextel, AT&T, largest U.S. Hispanic, invest six digit numbers in our company this year, and that each of them has tripled their investment with us year over year.” Almeida says a way to diversify their investment. It is very similar to the stock market approach. You have to diversify your portfolio to reap wider benefit,” says Almeida.
Keyword-based, Intuitive leads…
One un-orthodox example of lead generation is put forth by the Latinos. US group of websites. The strategy here is near complete ownership of Spanish-language category domain names . “I’d say that right now, we own 90%-95% of all the Spanish category keywords in the .us domain and corresponding toll-free vanity numbers, says Latinos.us’ Geoffrey Gonzales. “For example, we own Hoteles.us and 1-888-hoteles.” The key, Gonzales explains is to integrate the online and offline worlds for Hispanics consumers.
“In terms of lead generation, our model is self perpetuating. If you are looking for insurance and go to seguros.com, you’ll see links—or leads— to our other websites, such as Hipotecas.us—for mortgages—or Prestamos.us—for loans. Again, these websites have corresponding toll free numbers, so it’s very much a process of conditioning whereby the Hispanic consumer realizes that they don’t even need to look up the number or website they are looking for. They simply type or dial in what it is they are looking for—and that brings them to us,” says Gonzales.
There are many ways to generated leads. Whether it is by trying to get inside the consumer’s head and deliver the appropriate ad at the appropriate time, meeting the consumer where you know he’s going to be, offering him some incentive, or trying to circumvent the whole process by becoming a one-stop shop for all he is looking for, the end-game is the same: Click…