Audience acquisition for advertisers: Low-risk, medium-risk, and high-risk sources

May 13, 2022 | 5 minute read
Autumn Black
Content Marketing Specialist, Oracle Advertising and CX
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Whether you’re building your audience in email, SMS, mobile, web, direct mail, or another channel, your audience acquisition methods can profoundly impact your advertising performance.

Effective audience acquisition sources enable advertisers to build subscriber and follower lists that can be used across channels and marketing efforts. Many of these acquisition methods can boost customer data points, helping brands build out first-party data sources used in advertising campaigns.

The key is to identify acquisition sources that generate healthy engagement and drive revenue. Some sources deliver massive value, while others generate little engagement and potentially can even harm deliverability, reputation, or brand image.

To help identify which audience sources best serve your advertising goals, we group them into three categories based on their risk profiles.

  1. Low-risk sources: Recruiting subscribers/followers who are very familiar with your brand during or after transactions in owned channels.
  2. Medium-risk sources: Recruiting subscribers/followers who are generally familiar with your brand before transactions in owned or leased channels.
  3. High-risk sources: Recruiting subscribers/followers who are generally unfamiliar with your brand in paid channels or through handwritten or verbal data collection methods.

Let’s dive into best practices for leveraging each of these sources.

Low-Risk Audience Acquisition Sources

  • Online checkout process: Customers who are checking out online are either new or existing customers. Both are likely to have a sense of familiarity and trust in your brand since they are purchasing your products. During the online checkout process, present a clear and prominent “opt-in” permission request, and be sure to follow up on the checkout confirmation page.
  • In-store checkout via tablets, kiosks, or other point-of-sale apps: These customers are more likely to be in a rush, either because they want to leave the store, or they have other customers waiting behind them. To optimize this process, strive for simplicity in your “opt-in” request messaging. Make the process easy by providing a full keyboard for customers to input their email address. When taking this simple route, ensure that you aren’t asking for repetitive information. If they already provided their email, just ask for an email opt-in with a “Yes/No” prompt.
  • Account creation: Taking the time to create an account indicates a fair amount of trust in your brand, making this group of prospects and customers great candidates for opt-in requests. Be sure to clarify the onboarding process and emphasize how communications from your brand will help customers gain more value.
  • A mobile app: Installing your mobile app is a major sign of interest and commitment, making these people high-value subscribers. To best optimize a mobile app experience, provide a matching keyboard based on the characters required. If you’re asking for a phone number, serve up a number pad for ease of input (instead of the keyboard). This provides less confusion and provides a vastly improved user experience.
  • Transactional messages: Order confirmations, shipping notifications, and other transactional emails typically gain high open rates. Since you already have customer information on file connected to these transactions, you can provide personalized promotional content within these emails. However, the majority of the content should focus on the primary purpose of the communication. It’s best to limit promotional content in these emails to no more than 20% of the total content.

Medium-Risk Audience Acquisition Sources

  • Sign-up forms on your website or via your mobile app: Sign-up forms on your website are a common way to tap into visitor interest. When capturing sign-ups, use CAPTCHA and other tools to deter bots that typically target these forms. Small animations such as an animated CTA button can help with visibility, which can increase sign-ups as well.
  • Lead gen forms: These forms are popular for gating reports, videos, webinar recordings, and other valuable content. It’s best to give customers the option to opt out of promotional messaging when they register to access any gated content. Use a prominent pre-checked or unchecked opt-in box so that customers clearly understand what they’re signing up to receive and be sure to sell the benefits of receiving further promotions.
  • Event and webinar registration forms: When signing up for an event, people typically expect multiple messages, which means they’re more likely to share accurate information. Be sure to leverage both pre- and post-event messaging for opt-ins to convert these customers into subscribers and followers.

High-Risk Audience Acquisition Sources

  • Giveaways, sweepstakes or discount registrations: Giveaways can attract a high volume of new customers looking for free offerings, but they’re not the best vehicle for keeping an audience long-term or growing brand loyalty. When using these methods, choose incentives and prizes that are closely connected to your brand, and deliver incentives and winner notifications to the contact information provided.
  • Manual or verbal opt-ins that happen during an on-site event, conference, or tradeshow: Events and conferences are great places to build an audience and establish an in-person connection with customers. However, transcribing handwritten and verbal information is highly prone to errors, making this method high-risk. To ensure minimal errors, ask people to confirm that you accurately collected their information before they leave. Switching to a digital collection method such as a tablet, QR codes, or short URLs can empower your prospects to use their own devices to subscribe and reduce data errors. Also, be sure to follow up with any contacts you make during an on-site event or conference immediately following the event to help with engagement.
  • Sponsored placement and co-registration for partner events or content promotions: Sponsored content opportunities are a great way to build brand awareness, but the audience they attract isn’t likely to be familiar with your brand. To build familiarity and trust with contacts gained via sponsored content, send a welcome campaign or messaging that’s optimized for the specific audience. The goal is to help these contacts become more familiar with your brand offerings and the value you provide.

Regardless of the audience acquisition source, there are a few general best practices for collecting customer data. Always follow permission-based requests and consumer privacy laws. Avoid asking for sensitive information or unnecessary customer data. At the end of the day, your customers are what makes your brand go round. Be sure to sell your prospects on the value you provide and give them a reason to opt-in to brand communications. The better they understand exactly what’s in it for them, the more likely they are to subscribe.


Learn more about the various audience acquisition sources and Contact Oracle Advertising to learn about how Oracle Advertising Activation and Measurement solutions can help optimize your ad campaigns.

Autumn Black

Content Marketing Specialist, Oracle Advertising and CX

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