No matter how you package it, the power that a solid media strategy can bring to a B2B marketing campaign is pretty sweet. But making a choice on which tactics to use can lead to some sticky disagreements.
The problem lies in how people prefer to work and which process they believe is most likely to get them the results they’re after. For example, to B2B marketers who usually work directly with publishers, some digital techniques may seem more shine than substance. On the other hand, marketers who prefer to explore cutting-edge digital media tactics might consider working directly with publishers to be unwieldy or outdated.
But for both mindsets, the goal remains the same: reach more people, more often. And now, there’s finally a media tactic, called audience extension, that takes these two diverse approaches to media and brings them together—and the potential benefits can be pretty appealing, especially for B2B marketers.
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What’s an audience extension program?
An audience extension program is a digital tactic that utilizes the publisher’s data to track—and reach—a unique audience wherever they are on the internet. Often, B2B publishers will refer to audience extension as remarketing—they tag visitors to their publication website, and via a programmatic interface, they find their readers wherever they may go on the web.
So, what do audience extension programs deliver that go beyond what you can expect from typical media tactics?
Three things: reach, frequency and cost management.
Here’s an example of how an audience extension program can put a company right in front of any audience, any time.
Pixels, cookies and auction houses
Let’s say a publisher places a pixel—a piece of data that collects and stores user information—on WidgetsToday.com. That pixel the publisher placed will automatically store itself on a user’s browser once they visit WidgetsToday.com.
At the same time, elsewhere, ACME Candy Company marketers decide they want to send their ads specifically to people who like widgets.
Rather than purchase a list from a relevant widget trade publication, ACME Candy Company could instead work directly with a data provider—a “publisher”—that would hold a real-time ad auction for browsers that carry a WidgetsToday.com pixel. That’s a WidgetsToday.com reader, but the publisher is “reselling” an ad impression that it bought via an exchange.
This way, publishers get to further monetize their web traffic and marketers can reach more people than they ever could have before.
How? Well …
- Your ads reach even more people.
Marketers can reach a trade site’s entire audience base, rather than just the portion of visitors who get served their ads. Once a trade site visitor is carrying the proper pixel, they can be found. With that data in place, a publisher can also then begin to explore avenues to build look-alike audiences, allowing marketers to cast a yet wider net.
- Your ads appear even more frequently.
Marketers can get a level of frequency not available on a trade site. No matter the size of the trade site, at some point (one million impressions, two million impressions—maybe 10 million impressions) the desire for frequency against an audience typically outpaces the impressions of any single trade site.
- Everyone saves—and earns—more money.
This tactic benefits publishers and marketers. Marketers get the opportunity to establish a baseline against which to measure future efforts. For example, pay WidgetsToday.com $20,000 for one million remarketing impressions in April. That’s a $20 CPM, and the CPC, and cost per whatever post-click action is important, become the baseline. Then use a different source, and perhaps lower the all-in CPM dramatically. At an $8 CPM, the incremental value of a trade publisher’s data will be clear. If the CTR is 2.5X higher with trade site data, that is the breakeven point.
In a sense, audience extension programs are the middle ground because they provide benefits to both marketers and publishers. But they’re also more than that, because audience extension programs have the potential to perform even better than either side of the spectrum would on its own.
So, if you’re looking for something sweet to send your message straight into the soft, chewy center of your target audience, it might be time to give audience extension a taste-test.