Behind every great ad, there are a million digital connections.

















Few connections in this world are so universal, yet so personal, as the bond between a mother and child. This bond — and the emotion that goes with it — is the focus of P&G’s “Thank You, Mum” viral marketing campaign, which for several years running has used TV ads, social media and YouTube to serve up touching scenes that have pulled on heartstrings around the world and continues to do so with each new Olympic season. Named by AdAge as one of the top advertising campaigns of the 21st century, the video stories about how mums helped their Olympic hopefuls through icy falls, twisted ankles, personal tragedies and against-the-odds wins can make even the most stoic consumer teary-eyed. And as an advertiser, that’s exactly the kind of response you want.

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 plug sockets 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 organisations, 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.

Come together — consolidate your audience data.

















Imagine how much better you would know your audience if you could pull together all of their behaviours, wants, needs and desires in one place. You’d have the power to quickly and easily build unique audience profiles, identify your most valuable customers and then activate that audience to receive any type of ad, from primetime TV to video and display. And with the right audience chosen to receive your carefully targeted message, your chances of making meaningful connections increase exponentially.

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.

First-party data about how visitors behave on your website, mobile apps and other channels lives in your analytics programme.
First-party data about how visitors behave on your website, mobile apps and other channels lives in your analytics programme.
Second-party data, such as loyalty programme and  spend-pattern data, comes from any number of potential partners that have similar audiences to yours.
Second-party data, such as loyalty programme and spend-pattern data, comes from any number of potential partners that have similar audiences to yours.
Third-party data that digs deeper into things like lifestyle interests and business attributes can be bought from hundreds of different sources.
Third-party data that digs deeper into things like lifestyle interests and business attributes can be bought from hundreds of different sources.
Building ad experiences that connect means bringing all of this data together — including intelligence around what your customers think and feel — so you can hone in on the emotional aspects of your ads. While having first-party data around your customers’ online behaviours is a good start, folding in third-party social sentiments like brand mentions and interactions can provide valuable clues into how consumers feel about your brand, your products and your customer service. Layering on even more data around personality traits can result in a gold mine of insights around which consumers will be most receptive to your ads and which ads are most appropriate for your target audiences.

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 travellers — 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 holidays, 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.

Hook it up —
merge your scattered media buys.

















If you’ve already done the hard work of identifying your high-value customers and setting them up to receive your ads on various channels, it’s important to give them the fluid experiences they expect. Because when there’s less friction, emotions — and connections — can flow more freely.

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 per cent of organisations 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.

Rachel Rambo

“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?”

Rachel Rambo
Customer Acquisition Manager, eHealth


Once they consolidated their data and systems, eHealth was able to maximise reach while honouring frequency settings more efficiently. They also improved their cost per order (CPO) with a 40 per cent lower budget, increased conversions and reduced their cost per thousand (CPM). 
Keep ’em close —
unify your disparate inventory.

















Reaching your audience on their own turf sends the message that you care enough about them to know which sites they like to visit and which media they prefer. And if a customer feels good about your brand, they’ll be more willing to interact with your ads. But when TV, digital, open exchange, premium and other ad inventory are scattered across different systems, piecing together the best media combinations to achieve that reach can be time consuming and frustrating.

As with your audience data, unifying your ad inventory into a single DSP can help to 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 with 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 analyse 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.

of marketers say their top concern is media quality (brand safety, ad fraud, viewability).

Source: State of Digital Advertising, Adobe Digital Insights
of marketers say their concerns about digital ad fraud have increased over the last year.

Source: State of Digital Advertising, Adobe Digital Insights
of the world’s largest advertisers name lack of transparency as a key concern.

Source: Ad Spend Survery, World Federation of Advertisers
Fall in line —
gather up your performance reporting.

















When audiences and inventories are in line, it seems logical that connecting with your best customers is certain to follow. But unless you know how your ads are performing across channels, you can never be sure just how valuable those connections are. Research by Boston Consulting Group shows that advertisers are “especially weak” when it comes to measuring and optimising ad performance, specifically in using ROI metrics to adjust the marketing mix across channels for greater impact and measuring the effects of campaigns on business outcomes, such as sales.

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 to 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).

Christopher Jowsey

“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.”

Christopher Jowsey
Former Senior Manager of Web E-Commerce for Australia and New Zealand, Lenovo


Behold the future — make fluid and unforgettable ads.

















Imagine a digital billboard that adjusts the type of ad displayed based on a person’s facial expression. Or multi-sensory outdoor ads that combine holographic video, sound, mood lighting and smells to increase the emotional impact on a consumer. Or even interactive TV ads that incorporate virtual reality to ensure you’re immersed in the brand experience.

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.

Learn about how Adobe Advertising Cloud can help you to make every ad an unforgettable experience.


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Adobe Digital Insights, “County of Digital Advertising,” 2017.

“Adobe Media Optimizer: Accurate Performance Prediction to Manage Your Business,” 2014.

“Customer Centricity and the Journey to Personalisation,” 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, 21 March 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, 27 April 2017,

“Insuring Marketing with Good Ad Tech,” Adobe Case Study, eHealth, April 2016,
Jack Neff, “Top Ad Campaigns of the 21st Century,” AdAge, January 2015,
“Voyage of the Travel Brand,” Adobe, 2016.