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Magic Numbers: The Benefits of Targeted Advertising with Min Kwak


Modern Formula's VP, head of media on weighing the importance of analytics, expensive tactics and the evolution of viewability measurement

Magic Numbers: The Benefits of Targeted Advertising with Min Kwak

Min Kwak is VP, head of media at Modern Formula.

Min has a diverse background that spans both the linear and digital disciplines, and he has a wide breadth of experience spanning media planning and buying through analytics and data management and utilisation.


LBB> How can you make sure that data is elevating creative rather than forming a wind tunnel effect and knocking all the interesting or unique edges off that make something distinctive? 

Min> You can readily employ performance tests to see what creative elements or themes are resonating best with your target audience. So, instead of just having performance data tell you what creative isn’t effective at driving conversions or engagement, you can also set up backend reporting to provide insights into what creative aspects are most effective against XYZ audiences to help inform all future key art/creative production decisions. In addition, eye-tracking-based creative testing is now more readily available and more turnkey. While creativity is always subjective, early-out creative version testing can help brands better understand which creative archetypes have the highest propensity to resonate with their audience, while real-time performance testing will let brands know when it’s time to do a creative update or refresh.


LBB> More brands are working to create their own first party data practice - how can a brand figure out whether that’s something that is relevant or important for their business? 

Min> Every brand would like to have processes in place to collect and leverage first-party data. But you need to weigh the importance for analytics and retargeting with the cost of paying for a CRM platform to make it all possible. You compile and store 1P data via a CRM to allow you to conduct audience analytics against your audience segments and better understand who your audience is and/or to retarget people who are proven to be existing customers or people who are currently considering purchasing/engaging with your brand. But paying for a CRM platform can be pricey, and it won’t be worthwhile if your customer base is relatively small. In this scenario, it’s better to explore 3P alternatives that can provide you with audience analytics and data segments for targeting beyond just your customers. 


LBB> "Lies, damned lies, and statistics" - how can brands and creative make sure that they’re really seeing what they think they’re seeing (or want to see) in the data, or that they’re not misusing data? 

Min> Everyone in the industry always wants to see above-benchmark performance (e.g., high conversion rates and engagement rates), but it’s important to understand that high-conversion/engagement rates aren’t always a good thing. Yes, your creative, targeting, or media buy could’ve yielded better performance than your historical averages, but you may have been reaching an audience that didn’t need persuading. For example, if you seed out a creative featuring cute cats targeted to cat lovers, you shouldn’t put too much stock into high engagement rates. Rather, we recommend our clients focus more on incrementality—“how much conversion did your campaign/creative drive do that wouldn’t have been realised otherwise?” —for example, a conversion lift KPI. But more to the point is that brands should be more critical of when they see ‘great’ performance.

Another example is when partners and agencies tout that they delivered a whopping XXMM views or engagements on their creative, but how much did you pay for that creative and then how much did you pay to seed out that creative? Maybe it was still an expensive tactic. 


LBB> In your view, what’s the biggest misconception people have around the use of data in marketing? 

Min> I understand the concerns around targeted advertising, since it’s predicated on aggregating a user’s data. And yes, some advertisers have used targeted advertising for non-ethical goals. But before we demonise targeted advertising, we should consider the benefits it provides, especially to small businesses. Targeted advertising is more important to small businesses than to the big corporations because their marketing budgets are smaller, and they can’t be as wasteful with their media budgets. Targeted advertising enables individuals and small businesses to eliminate wasted ad dollars by providing them a means to focus their dollars on the people who have a propensity toward their brand. Without targeted ads, the profit margins for many small businesses dwindle as a good amount of their ad dollars will go to people who have no desire to purchase their products.


LBB> In terms of live issues in the field, what are the debates or developments that we should be paying attention to right now? 

Min> Attention measurement. There’ve been enough studies done to showcase that high viewability doesn’t necessarily correlate with brand lift. This makes sense since the amount of time your ad was on a webpage or phone doesn’t necessarily mean the user looked at it. As a result, there’s a steady rise in verifying impression delivery value via an attention metric that estimates how many seconds of attention your ads received. Currently, attention measurement is a combination of tagging media to analyse the geometry of the environment in which it served (e.g., are there many other ads competing for attention) and benchmarking average seconds of attention and ad view percentages for a given channel or ad product via eye-tracking panels. Once the eye-tracking portion becomes more real-time, I believe this new metric will be the evolution of viewability measurement.

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Sapka Communications, Wed, 09 Mar 2022 10:47:32 GMT