The Future of Digital Advertising Is About Aligning With Your Consumer

Contributed by Tim Sims, SVP of Inventory Partnerships at The Trade Desk

Years of irrelevant marketing has made one thing clear: ads are more meaningful when tailored to consumer interests. Relevance and personalization in ads can increase consumer brand awareness, recall and affinity. It also leads to action. A recent report from Segment found that personalization caused consumers to make an unplanned purchase, spend more than planned, and become a repeat customer. To activate this kind of large-scale relevant marketing, it’s important to recognize personalized brand experiences are best achieved by choosing ad slots based on the user, not the content. And this approach is powered by programmatic.

The rise of advertising channels like digital audio and connected TV especially bring this concept to life. Gone are the days of marketers needing to guess where their audience is spending time, as programmatic gives them the data to activate upon. For brands, it’s imperative to deliver ads seamlessly, engaging their audience with messaging that’s relevant to whatever they’re already doing. This context-driven advertising not only improves the user’s experience, it drives better ROI for the marketer.

Audio Ads Get Sound Results

As more and more consumers stream digital music – up to 50% of all global consumers according to Salesforce’s Connected Audience Report – more and more Marketers are looking to reach this engaged audience by adding digital audio to their campaign’s media mix. And the opportunity is growing.With iHeartRadio, Spotify, Pandora and more offering their streaming music and podcast inventory available to programmatic buyers, brands are able to target users based on contextual attributes like age, listening habits, location, genre and gender. Since music is attached to almost everything consumers do, it fosters a unique opportunity for brands to engage consumers with personalized messaging. It connects mood, memories and action, often stirring emotions and carrying moments. The emotive quality, coupled with its position as a permanent fixture in consumers’ daily habits, makes audio a prime opportunity to present products as a vital part of those routines or moments.With the proliferation of smartphones, streaming audio allows people to take on-demand music and podcasts with them wherever they go, whether they’re commuting to work, driving to the grocery store or running through the park. This gives marketers a chance to join their audience on their daily routines and reach consumers without interrupting their day.This kind of contextual advertising also provides advertisers with a rich data set of insights that ensure ads are relevant to the user at the moment they’re heard. For example, a fast-food chain can target a user listening to a morning “rise and grind” playlist with an ad suggesting they stop by a location they’re traveling past for a free coffee.

Tailored Commercials for the Binge-watchers and the Streamers on Connected TV

Meanwhile, as viewers shift away from traditional TV subscriptions and packages, toward streaming services and devices, brands are turning to connected TV advertising to deliver precise commercials using the same data and insights that drives their digital campaigns.With traditional TV, everyone watching a TV show in a certain geographic region sees the same ad, and brands are dependent on Nielsen ratings to determine the audience’s demographics for a particular show. But these segments are often so broad that most viewers seeing ads aren’t part of the target and would never even consider purchasing.Connected TV enables brands to buy commercial slots based on the user — versus the typical approach of buying based on content. Using their own data, they can find viewers who are most likely to be interested in their product and reach them specifically with their messaging.

The Key to Relevant Campaigns is Sitting in Front of Marketers

Digital audio and connected TV advertising are driving a larger shift in marketers’ ad buying approach; one that makes ad buying decisions based on the habits and affinities of their brand audience versus the assumed viewership of a particular publication or platform. Ultimately, relevance in digital advertising boils down to two things: listening to the data – whether that’s your consumer data or third-party data – and activating your campaign on a programmatic platform. A brand’s consumer data is the driver of all things personalized, and most brands are underutilizing the information in front of them. Through programmatic, campaigns become precise and efficient without sacrificing scale.Want to learn more? Go deeper on audience buying — or brush up on your basics — with the 4A’s and The Trading Academy’s Specialist Course, Omnichannel and Inventory Types.

Tim Sims


TIM SIMS | SVP of Inventory Partnerships at The Trade Desk