Beyond ROI, what’s The Who and why it matters?

I was reading a few pieces today on search marketing, and I reread my piece on “What’s your CPM?”

I have been meaning to write more on understanding “The Who?”

What is the “The Who?”

Let’s set-up the backdrop first.

Most campaigns online are managed by conversion and profitability. My campaign had x amount of sales. My campaign generated y profit dollars.

However, beyond this data review little is known about just what is happening in a campaign. Questions like, why did my campaigns conversion just tank?

Performance lead generation firms have more data about the users on “The Who,” than probably anyone else. These firms can tell you that there was a shift in users searching for a campus degree vs. an online degree. However, all of The Who data on performance lead generation still has two flaws: a) it requires  a user labeling themselves and at least hitting the submit button once and b) It requires that the data to be accurate as well

Performance marketers, and all marketers, should care about The Who for a multitude of reasons including:

1)    Advertising campaigns take a high level of coordination and a relatively high effort level. Using the common analogy, why “throw out the baby with the bath water .” If a campaign has changed dramatically in terms of The Who then a simple call to a publisher can request a retroactive change in placement or discussion as to the publisher’s audience

2)    Creative should match the constituency. For example, by understanding, that the users coming from Yahoo News to your site are now predominantly women instead of men, the design in terms of look and feel and perhaps value proposition can match that user

3)    And most importantly, risk and competitive factors.

Risk and competitive factors are perhaps most prevalent and important, at least in terms of performance marketing.  Understanding placement volatility by The Who is perhaps of the greatest importance in terms of building scalable marketing.

To use a real world example, let’s look at the mortgage lead generation space. In 2004, NexTag began competing with LowerMyBills for display advertising specifically on the major portals. LowerMyBills had more creative acumen and more entrenched media buying relationships.

How did NexTag shoehorn their way into at least a comparable display spend?

1)    They used messaging that filtered higher valued users to their service, running creative at the time that incented “Bad Credit Refinance” users to click

2)    They managed the volatility of their traffic in display by offsetting it vs. their paid search spend.

By understanding TheWho within constraints of profitability (the Y) and conversion (the X), NexTag was able to compete with LowerMyBills for the same inventory while starting out at  a competitive disadvantage.

Understanding The Who is critical to building a scalable business in online marketing.  It’s the logical next step, in an industry that has already solved the Y and the X.



1 comment so far

  1. […] as I’ve talked about in past posts, “who” is responding is just as important as what they do. The folks responding to a […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: