Behind every great ad, there are a million digital connections.
Like the maternal bond, great advertising experiences are all about connections. The message connects with your mind, while the beauty connects with your soul. When these connections are strung together, they make you laugh, cry, reminisce, or just stop and think. And if the impression is powerful enough, you share your experience with others, in one of the ultimate displays of customer loyalty.
But your advertising and your brand won’t reach customers on this emotional level without the connections that happen behind the scenes. It takes a sophisticated interplay of data and technology to give you a complete view of who your customers are and how to get their attention. This digital combination helps you easily identify and purchase media from the outlets your customers visit most. And it gives you a better understanding of how your TV and digital ads perform so you can fine-tune and deliver ads that resonate, every time.
The problem is, for many organizations, these connections are broken, resulting in backend inefficiencies and confusing customer experiences. When brands can finally link their audiences, ad inventory, and performance data together, they’ll spend less time dealing with complex media processes, and more time connecting with customers.
There’s no shortage of data out there to help you piece together your own ideal audience segments. But because that data comes from so many different places, getting a complete view of your customers can seem like a pipe dream.
Where your data lives.
One industry that’s taking off in this area is travel and hospitality. During a 2016 Adobe Summit presentation, IBMiX Partner Melissa Lemberg showed travel brands how to use third-party data on personality traits to deliver unique ad experiences to customers. She told the tale of two travelers — Jenna and Sarah. By combining social data with psychographic insights, advertisers could predict Jenna’s personality as highly neurotic with low levels of agreeableness, enabling them to send special offers to make her travel experience more comfortable, like upgrade options and clubhouse access. Using this same combination of data and insights, they could see that Sarah was an extrovert with high levels of openness and would likely enjoy offers for quick getaways and faraway vacations, appealing to her sense of adventure.
With combined insights like these, today’s most digitally savvy brands are connecting with customers on deeper emotional levels that get to the very core of who they are as humans.
merge your scattered media buys.
For many brands, providing their audience with consistent experiences across channels is a goal they’ll never reach unless they consolidate their media-buying platforms. These brands use one buying platform — or demand side platform (DSP) — for video, another for social, and yet another for TV. In fact, according to an Adobe Digital Insights report, 41 percent of organizations work with three or more media-buying platforms.
The problem with this multiple approach is threefold. First, switching between platforms to buy and report on different media is inefficient. Next, because DSPs don’t talk to each other, each time data crosses platforms, some of your customer data is lost. And finally, as a result, the customer experience becomes fragmented across different channels.
By making the switch from multiple DSPs to just one or two that can handle your different ad channels, you can streamline the media-buying process, protect your data integrity, and ensure that your audience is viewing your ads at the just the right frequency — receiving neither too many nor too few impressions.
eHealth, an online health insurance marketplace, once used five different platforms to manage their ad buys. Not only did these disjointed systems affect productivity and performance, the company found that their audience was not seeing a unified retargeting story and was being overexposed to their ads.
“If one platform was serving at four impressions a day, multiply that by five and you’ve got 20 impressions a day. So, when do you become annoying?”
Customer Acquisition Manager, eHealth
unify your disparate inventory.
As with your audience data, unifying your ad inventory into a single DSP can help bring clarity to an otherwise chaotic process, in addition to transparency around what your ad dollars buy and where those ads appear. Consolidated inventory gives you access to all the sites your audiences visit, including both standard and more highly targeted premium media offerings, on a global scale. With sports, news, and entertainment sites like NY Times, Washington Post, ESPN, and TED at your fingertips — in addition to the standard inventory most DSPs manage — you can simplify media buying and extend your audience reach.
But combining your inventory is only half the story. You need to make sure you have access to the right inventory, so you can ensure that your ads are safe from displaying alongside objectionable content. As an advertiser, your main objective is to build trust with your audience so they’ll be open to your message and will look favorably upon your brand. It’s difficult to build trust, however, if your ad shows up next to content that doesn’t align with your customers’ values.
Be sure your DSP has safeguards in place to protect your brand, allowing you to access a filtered inventory of reputable sites for bidding. Layer on audience targeting so you can feel confident you’re reaching consumers in the right environment. And finally, use pre-bid decisioning to analyze URLs, semantics, images, links, and metadata of potential media placements so you can catch any brand safety issues before you place your ads.
Media buying — what keeps advertisers up at night.
Source: State of Digital Advertising, Adobe Digital Insights
Source: State of Digital Advertising, Adobe Digital Insights
Source: Ad Spend Survery, World Federation of Advertisers
gather up your performance reporting.
What advertisers need is one place to go where they can easily see how all of their channels perform. Often, brands have performance data in separate systems — display ad data in one system and video ad performance in another. When this data comes together, however, cross-channel attribution and reporting can help you see how every channel opens, closes, and influences a purchase.
Better yet, with machine learning you can use algorithmic attribution to determine patterns between profitable and unprofitable audiences, helping you more clearly understand what’s working and what’s not. With a complete view of all your attribution touchpoints, you can effectively allocate budget to get the biggest return on advertising spending (ROAS).
“Cross-channel attribution enables us to readily evaluate and improve how each channel is performing. With that information, we can fine-tune our channel mix and invest appropriately in each for the best possible ROAS.”
Former Senior Manager of Web E-Commerce for Australia and New Zealand, Lenovo
Advertising experiences like these are already happening — and they’re designed not only to wow audiences with technology, but to make emotional connections at just the right moment. Once you’ve mastered the art of unifying your digital connections, you’ll be more equipped to make personal connections. By combining data and technology with creativity and emotion, you’ll find new ways to create advertising experiences that connect with hearts, minds, and wallets.
“Adobe Media Optimizer: Accurate Performance Prediction to Manage Your Business,” 2014.
“Customer Centricity and the Journey to Personalization,” Adobe Summit Super Session 5, Travel Digital Transformation, 2016.
Dominic Field, Nicolas De Bellefonds, and Florian Friedel, “A Disconnect and a Divide in Digital Marketing Talent,” Boston Consulting Group, March 21, 2017,
Gauri Bhat, Rachel Rambo, Katie Turvill, and Ben Hemphill, “Programmatic Then and Now: How the Modern DSP Fits in the Marketing Stack,” Adobe Summit, presentation of Rachel Rambo, 2017,
“Global Marketers Committed to Increase Online Ad Spend,” World Federation of Advertisers, April 27, 2017,
“Insuring Marketing with Good Ad Tech,” Adobe Case Study, eHealth, April 2016,