What End-to-End People-Based Advertising Really Looks Like

end-to-end people based marketing

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at the Digiday Programmatic Marketing Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona. As a first-time attendee, I was very impressed by the quality of content and depth of knowledge around the programmatic space. Not surprisingly, one of the key themes to emerge was how marketers are getting more directly involved in programmatic and the renewed focus on quality and transparency.

Just a few months ago, eMarketer released its latest 2017 forecast estimating four out of every five U.S. digital display dollars will transact programmatically, totaling $32.56 billion. However, with programmatic media buying at an all-time high, the complexities of reaching and identifying consumers across all of their devices have never been greater.

In the past, marketers relied on anonymous cookies to target consumers. But that isn’t an option anymore. Putting it simply, cookies are not people! They don’t shop in stores, own devices, watch TV, or read magazines.

On top of this, two thirds of connected devices don’t support cookies and 50% of cookies expire within five days. People aren’t spending their time on a single device anymore. According to eMarketer, 75% of total programmatic ad spend is mobile. As mobile and cross-device consumption grows, more brands are rethinking how they can reach people the right way in order to produce engaging and personalized experiences.

In a recent report, Accenture found that 82% of consumers who switch brands say companies could have retained them with a more seamless cross-channel experience.

This tells us that we need to be able to connect devices to people and link those devices back to 1) the advertisement they have been exposed to and 2) know if those people went in store or online and made a purchase as a result of being exposed to that ad.

So, how does an end-to-end people-based platform solve these challenges?

At Viant, we answer this question in a three-staged self-service approach: Plan, Execute, and Measure. Similar to how you manage your media initiatives today with the key goal of aligning actions back to the individual consumers, our approach relies on planning the audience, executing media against that audience, and using real-time measurement to fine-tune your programmatic buy.


The first question every marketer should ask is: how are you driving greater reach, addressability, and efficiency with your campaigns?

When you are activating CRM (first-party) data with a people based platform, you can plan an entire campaign based on identity and known online/offline behaviors – not anonymous browser data.

However, delivering on the promise of people-based marketing at scale requires first and foremost, a large opt-in registered user base. This is incredibly hard to come by as only three players in the market have this kind of addressable database – Google, Facebook, and Viant.

When you have the capability to reach 80% of internet consumers in the U.S., you can target and measure consumption with little to no need for modeling. Today, many new entrants are coming to market with smaller deterministic data sets. However, given the smaller size, they require a large degree of modeling on top of the data. The problem with these new entrants is that with more modeling comes less accuracy, which diminishes the efficiency of your targeting. A good rule of thumb is the larger the first-party data set, the more accuracy you get.

Equally important is opt-in consent by every single registered user. It’s one of the many unique differentiators that gives programmatic buyers the ability to activate at scale against people on a self-service basis. As a result, your programmatic spend is more efficient because you aren’t wasting dollars on probabilistic cookies.

The last part of the planning stage is diving into the actionable insights that you’re getting from your tech partner.

People-based solutions with an owned and operated onboarder allow marketers to take emails, IP addresses, phone numbers, etc., and onboard them into the platform to segment, understand, and deliver media to their audience. Not only does this allow you to drive your audience through the sales funnel, but it enables you to get a much larger, holistic view of who your audience really is.

For example, through Viant’s deterministic match with NCS, we can give marketers insight into what offline shopping behaviors their audience has exhibited at the brand, category, SKU, or UPC level.


So now that you have planned the precise audience that you want to reach, how do you activate your audience in a programmatic world?

The answer is marrying a DSP to a deterministic people-based platform. With this combination, marketers can programmatically deliver ads to real, identifiable people.

The value of managing reach and frequency at the people level is that your dollars work much harder and smarter when bidding through a DSP since you no longer have to budget in silos.

Forget about weighting percentages of budgets to different devices, it’s about ensuring you are reaching your audience regardless of the device they are using. With a people-based DSP, you can tie an ad call back to a device ID that is mapped to a person and that person’s online/offline purchases. As a result, the ad is delivered only if that ad call fits the precise audience that has been set up within the platform.


Once you begin to deliver media through a people-based DSP, the next natural question to ask is how did the media impact sales and how can you use reporting to optimize campaign goals.

With a multi-touch attribution reporting platform and integrated cross device measurement tools, you can enable real time control to optimize bids and improve performance based on actual sales data. Additionally, when you have a platform that links online and offline data, you can get real proof that your programmatic dollars are working.

There is a massive opportunity today for marketers to apply people based targeting and measurement to the entirety of their programmatic media spend. As you look to test, shift, and adopt people-based platforms and deterministic partners, think about your organization’s goals and what you’ll need from a partner to achieve them.

  • #cross-device measurement
  • #device graph
  • #dsp
  • #first party data
  • #frequency targeting
  • #multi-touch attribution
  • #programmatic media buying
  • #programmatic spend
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