Customers are for life, not just for Christmas

Christmas Segments from VisualDNAMany brands and retailers face Christmas with both excitement and fear. Excitement for the possibilities of peak, and fear that seasonal discounting may hurt the bottom line.

In the run-up to Christmas, brands and retailers traditionally spend on marketing and discounting via generic festive messages they hope will convert enough potential buyers to beat the competition. But budgets could be spent far more effectively if it were possible to understand customers and prospects – and the Christmas buying experience they’re after.

People engage with Christmas shopping very differently: some have it all wrapped up by December 1, while others are still rushing around like headless turkeys on Christmas Eve. There’s Bargain Hunters who scour the web for the best deals, Family Shoppers who browse and browse to find perfect gifts for their nearest and dearest. There’s The Early Birds who enjoy a clinical Christmas and The Bohemians: those who buy big for a shock and awe season.

Conventional data might reveal what online customers are doing, where and when but it glosses over the fact that every consumer – offline and online – is a living, breathing human being with a lifetime of experiences and a distinctive set of character traits which shape their behaviour. Personality plays a huge role in governing how people respond to products, brands, advertising, promotions, onsite design, selection, pricing and much more besides.

If brands and retailers’ ultimate aim is to reach prospects on an emotional level – for Christmas or at any other time – then personality is vital information for advertisers to segment customers based on who they are, how they’ll shop, and what message will best resonate.

New approaches are now emerging that can provide a much broader picture of each online consumer, including insight into their psychology. As a result, a growing number of brands and retailers are now taking their first steps into a new world of market segmentation based on what truly motivates people and on what drives their purchasing behaviour. Researchers in psychology have spent decades building rich models based on the “Big Five” personality factors – Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism.

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Case Study: How we helped a publisher use VisualDNA data to triple conversions in a targeted brand campaign

We’ve been working closely with Komsomolskaya Pravda (KP), one of Russia’s oldest and best-known newspaper publishers, to help them leverage data to increase ad yields for one of their flagship properties – Russia’s leading sports website Soviet Sport . VisualDNA data more than doubled click through rates, reducing costs per click by 40%.

Like most traditional publishers KP, who also own tabloid news site Express Gazeta, have to prove they can attract a reliable audience in order to compete with aggregators such as Yandex and Google for advertisers’ digital spend – and they recognise the importance of reliable data (both their own data, and that of their party providers such as ourselves) in capturing that spend.

VisualDNA has a rich data set in Russia.  With 120,000 quizzes completed each month, scaled over a network of 45m cookies, we are the country’s leading data provider – incredibly rich data enabling us to target niche audiences at scale. We ran two campaigns for a major sports brand on behalf of their agency Mindshare Russia; one for a running event, the other for a specific product: Football Boots.

For the event, KP created custom segments by merging the audience that feature in three separate VisualDNA segments:  “Runners”, “18-24s” and “Males” to create an audience of 18-24 male runners. For the boots, KP merged “Soccer Lovers” “Males” and “18-24s” to create an audience of 18-24 males who play football.

The results below – benchmarked against their previous, un-targeted, Run of Network campaigns – more than justify the publisher’s investment in the data.

Demand for data in advertising is growing fast: programmatic buying is growing as advertisers see a clear return on data investment: getting better value than from the random audience they’d reach from a run of network. And media agencies are getting a better understanding of how to make data perform.

Five elements in particular made this campaign successful:

  1. The right segments: runners and football fanatics in addition to demographics
  2. The right number of impressions: don’t over-target your audience
  3. The right KPIs: to help you optimise and ensure you get ROI
  4. Fantastic creative: compelling visuals that appeal
  5. The right platform: in this case, a publisher with a loyal audience

This is a great example of how publishers can use data effectively. And the opportunities are growing. Technology allows publishers not just to reach audiences on their own sites, but to reach similar audiences after they’ve left thereby increasing reach: since VisualDNA’s platform is integrated with Google’s doubleclick, itself integrated with all major ad servers, virtually any publisher can now use our data to deliver targeted campaigns for any advertiser as a managed service and meet valuable brand campaign briefs.