At Skai, we value our partnerships with some of the largest global publishers. Together, we develop tools and features that will have the greatest impact on our clients’ growth, and we work collaboratively with our partners to deliver capabilities to help our customers manage their campaigns at scale.
We recently had the opportunity to talk to Christi Olson, Head of Evangelism for Bing. She has extensive experience in both organic and paid search and works with businesses to help them optimize their websites and understand the dynamics of their search campaigns.
We wanted to get her thoughts on the trends she sees in the marketplace and her ideas on how marketers can leverage those trends to execute effective campaigns that reach the right audience.
Skai: What are some of the general marketing trends that you see happening in the marketplace these days?
Christi: Overall, consumers are expecting experiences to be personalized, and this is a trend we are seeing across all media, including paid search, display, and social media. The challenge for marketers is to learn what to do and how to create and integrate those experiences across the channels.
The other trend is that consumers are accessing search everywhere they go and they are engaging with search in a whole new way. Obviously mobile continues to be important, but there is a big increase in the use of digital assistants. We are seeing more consumers connecting through the digital assistant devices and they are very inquisitive about what they are asking and how they are asking it.
Skai: How can marketers leverage those trends and apply their learnings more effectively to reach the right audience in their campaigns?
Christi: Marketers need to think about how to create those personalized experiences and pay attention to the information they are receiving from customers across all of the media channels. A good example is search. For years it was ingrained in us to think about the keyword, but now it is more about the person behind the keyword. It’s a transition from focusing on the keyword to focusing on reaching a specific type of customer and connecting with them no matter where they are or what device they are using.
There is a lot to learn if you pay attention to the data. With the abundance of artificial intelligence, it is imperative that marketers learn what to do with all the data in real time and create and deliver ads that are relevant to their audiences. Delivering content with context is the name of the game these days. You want the ability to have the context of the location from which the search is being conducted, what type of device is being used, what is the nature of the search and how the search is being conducted. When you have all of this information, you have the opportunity to deliver ads that are hyper-local and hyper-personalized.
Skai: There is so much data to manage these days, how can marketers gather and utilize the data effectively to make sure they are reaching the right audience and delivering the personalization that consumers expect?
Christi: Data is the foundation of what we do in marketing. Gathering, analyzing and using all the layers of data will help marketers be more effective. But, it’s more than just the type of data you gather—it’s also how you connect all of it together.
The data you collect can help you figure out who you need to target and provide some characteristics for that audience. However, in order to do so effectively, companies will need to have a role in the organization that is responsible for data strategy. This includes gathering the data and making sure that all the different data sources are connected, and working with business intelligence and analytic teams to build intelligent machine learning models to utilize the data and get to real-time insights. That connection is going to be the way marketers can build usable profiles for their different audiences.
Kenshoo: If you had a wish list of data marketers need to gather, what would that list look like?
Christi: As a marketer, you want to have access to device usage, location data, profiles from your CRM system, and information on past purchases. When you have those core data sets, you have the ability to classify and categorize individuals and formulate audience segments so you can determine the type of content to deliver and get to the level of personalization that consumers expect.
Skai: In today’s world, it is tough to nail down the customer journey. It is no longer a straight path, and the journey is unique and personal to each consumer. How can a marketer better understand how to deliver content with context and get the right information to the right person?
Christi: It used to be so easy! Do you remember when the customer journey was a straight path? Now the customer journey is more like a spider web, it’s different based on the audience you want to reach, where they are in the purchasing cycle, and how to reach the customers across all of their devices.
It is imperative for marketers to know where their customers are and what they are searching for. What makes that difficult is that the journey is different for each person – people enter and exit the journey at various stages and on different devices.
It is the marketer’s responsibility to understand that behavior and deliver the right content based on where they are in the purchasing cycle. It is also important to understand that not every click will result in a purchase. Some clicks increase awareness, some are for gathering research, and others are meant to drive the consumer to the purchase phase.
Understanding your audience’s behavior and the steps they are taking in the journey is important. If you can deliver relevant content to a specific audience, that is a powerful place to be in marketing.
Skai: What is your #1 tip for a marketer on audience targeting?
Christi: In September, I pulled together an Audience Development Remarketing Checklist and the top thing on that list is that every single campaign should be a remarketing/retargeting campaign. We have the ability to gather information that will provide us with insight about a person, their goals, and their intent. A marketer’s job is to determine how to deliver the right message to a specific audience. So my tip is:
- Gather all the data & information to help you reach an audience at certain stages of the customer decision journey
- Customize the creative and the messaging of your ad campaigns
- Deliver what they expect to see
We would like to thank Christi for her time and sharing her valuable insights about audience targeting!
At Skai we know that you need to create custom audiences that speak to your exact business needs. Audience targeting allows you to reach the people most likely to convert with the right message at the right time. With so many audiences across so many different campaigns and ad sets, it’s critical that marketers have a simple way to manage these assignments at scale.
With Skai, you can have a unified approach to how you manage your audiences and have the ability to:
- Assign and exclude audiences based on your goals
- Gather actionable insights about your audiences performance
- Manage your bids across your audience segments
- Constantly monitor, analyze, and adjust your audiences
Skai offers audience support that enables marketers to reach new users and re-engage existing users at scale. Our technology allows you to automatically optimize, bid more aggressively to reach high-converting customers, and quickly boost performance at scale.
To learn more about audience targeting with Skai, download our Audiences Playbook for more tips & information on how to reach people based on their specific interests.