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Can Data-driven Marketing overlap with Content Marketing?

Posted 30 Aug 2015 data-driven marketing

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On the one hand, you have content marketing, which involves creating and dispersing publishing and media content to find and retain new customers. On the other hand, there is data-driven marketing, which refers to marketing technologies like programmatic buying and real-time bidding. It involves using automated ad-buying engines that yield huge amounts of data and using this data to optimise audience targeting.

Whether you’re opening up to data-driven marketing techniques, or still focussed on building out your content strategy, advertising works best when it is seamlessly incorporated into the customer’s online experience. Many of you may already be familiar with data-driven marketing techniques like programmatic buying and the like, and perhaps even more of you will have heard of or used native advertising in your marketing strategies. These two approaches are distinct but not necessarily mutually exclusive. Both enable advertisers to craft highly engaging ad experiences that are uniquely targeted, the only notable difference being that one uses data while the other camouflages amongst high-value, related editorial content.

Whichever approach you use to achieve your marketing goals, the aim of the game doesn’t change: reach your audiences in a meaningful and engaging way to build brand awareness and ultimately boost sales. The more engaging the ad experience, the more likely you are to reach your marketing targets. So how can all of this be scaled to grow your audience and expand your market? Interestingly, around 75 per cent of publishers will promote an advertiser’s content in a native context. Despite this, marketers are still more inclined to target audiences through data-driven marketing measures like real-time bidding (RTB), even when the sites on which their ads are served are not necessarily ideal for that particular market. So instead of  buying premium inventory from publishing sites where their audiences are meant to be, they let the data speak for itself.

Why are Native Ads valuable?

Native advertising can be hugely effective, and is typically done in one of the following ways:

  • Custom-made ads – These require customised fields or units on the publisher’s site; and
  • Integrated ads – These ads are usually skilfully integrated into the publisher’s social media, or other verticals that already exist on a publisher’s site.

Data-driven marketing: RTB and Programmatic

On the flipside, you have RTB and programmatic buying, which allows advertisers to reach huge audience and broaden their overall reach and ad-scale. It uses data to reach wider audience segments and then optimises or retargets based on the results and analysis of that data. It is therefore far more challenging to tailor the ad experience using data-driven marketing, since it usually only allows you to know which audience segments (based on attributes your audience share) are being targeted and not where the individuals within that audience are viewing the ad. This is because advertisers often buy their media through ad exchanges, which makes it almost impossible to serve ads that are custom-made, based on the specific sites on which they’re being served. 

How to mesh data-driven marketing with Native Ads

Programmatic advertising that integrates techniques from native advertising is always hard to execute, since it calls for unique creative for each unique opportunity. For native and data-driven marketing to truly work hand in hand, there needs to be a balance between scalability and customization, which is a delicate balance at the best of times.

In practical terms, if your business has a massive audience, you can get this balance between data-driven marketing techniques and content marketing customisation by simply serving to a broader audience base. Otherwise, you might have to create a standardised ad unit that seamlessly integrates on multiple publishers’ sites to achieve scalability.

The normal overlap between native advertising and data-driven marketing is via programmatic premium. Programmatic premium brings together native advertising and data-driven marketing solutions. It’s where advertisers and publishers come together to create high-value content that appears native to the site on which it appears, and is served to the most relevant audiences at scale.

In today’s rapidly evolving media-buying climate, publishers yet to integrate data-driven marketing into their inventory are well and truly behind the eight-ball, with some of the major publishers, such as Washington Post, now taking their data-driven marketing efforts in-house.

The current trend shows data-driven marketing is on the rise, which will see the advent of new technologies that bring together the organic appeal of native ads and the sheer volume and scale that programmatic offers.

Next steps

You need to make sure there is room in your budget to incorporate content and data-driven marketing practices. Whatever approach you go with, data and content deserve equal attention and should be coupled wherever possible. If you want more information about the data-driven marketing tactics that Benchmarketing can provide, get in touch today on 1300 049 498. Our ad-buying specialists are keen to help you get you digital strategy up to scratch!

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