Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

How to find valuable audiences currently beyond your reach

NDA has partnered with Fifty on a series of articles exploring the cookieless future of marketing to find out how advertisers can prepare.

In the clamour to find privacy-compliant alternatives to the invasive methods of tracking and targeting customers based on cookies and mobile IDs, many marketers are taking another look at the insights available via the billions of social media interactions that take place every day.

Using anonymised social media data to generate marketing insights is not a new idea. Until recently, however, social insight data has been leveraged predominantly to inform media buying via social listening platforms. This level of analysis measures sentiment where specific social accounts engage across relevant topics or brands.  

While there is undoubtedly some merit to this kind of social listening, it also has serious limitations. The technique can only examine the reactive, vocal minority within a social audience. At any given time, only around 15% of social accounts post regularly (3 or more times per week), which means that 85% of your audience are missing from the analysis. Insights drawn mainly from the activity of these more active social users can lead to biased outputs that aren’t truly representative of your target audience.

By contrast, at Fifty, our technology combines several inputs to produce social insights, of which social listening is a secondary element. Our main focus when we analyse social data is interconnectivity around interests and topics, which combines data from almost all members of a social network, ensuring a more accurate view of your entire audience.

For marketers, the potential benefits of leveraging this approach are considerable.

For example, this broader analysis enables Fifty to identify organic groups we call ‘tribes’. These tend to be demographically similar subgroups of the desired topical audience. Often, these subgroups tend not to fit within the confines of, or even converge with, standard third-party audience taxonomies. Analysing the unique social footprint of these tribes provides highly granular and multi-dimensional insights. 

Insights in action

Understanding the nature of a tribe, as a sub-group of the greater audience, can be a powerful tool when building a media plan. By knowing the particular preferences of each tribe, brands can tailor creative for each subgroup (with iterative A/B testing) rather than serve a single creative holistically. This allows the campaign to speak directly to the tribes in a personalised way, but, crucially, without the need for personal data. 

These tribes are also often bespoke, uncovered at the request of our brand clients. As such, they present an opportunity to deliver targeting to audience elements that are known only to that brand. This is clearly a better position for marketers to be in than attempting to outbid competitors for the same third-party audiences.

When we consider our approach in terms of contextual media plan building, the potential gains are even greater. Not only does Fifty’s tribe analysis provide planning data, which is lacking from keyword-based contextual systems, this rich audience data serves as a filter for the successful scaling of campaigns. 

In this way, campaigns can reach domains modelled from the real life behaviour and preferences of your target audience and desired customers. This, in turn, increases the effectiveness of your marketing spend by avoiding low quality clickbait pages that match your keywords but offer no true value to you or your audience. 

Our analysis allows brands to see which subjects are moving the dial among target audiences and how those trends are evolving over time. By leveraging the billions of people on social media as a dynamic panel, marketers are able to identify valuable, sometimes hidden, audiences for brands to engage online, all without the use of personal information or intrusive tracking. 

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