The Oracle Data Cloud blog highlights the latest data-driven insights and trends in digital marketing and ad tech.

Avoid holiday campaign spending mistakes in 5 steps

This week’s guest blog post is by Nate Carter, Partner Development Lead, Oracle Data Cloud.

With as much as 30 percent of retail sales coming during the months of October, November and December, the holiday season is a critical time for marketers.

Major retailers, from Amazon to Walmart, have responded by increasing digital ad spend by as much as 224 percent (!) year over year in 2016.

During this period, data-driven marketing spend will continue to rise, with as much as 40 percent of advertising industry executives planning to increase spend in Q4 of 2017. The main driver: better business results.  

A troubling holiday trend

Despite this rosy picture for marketers, a troubling trend takes place every December. As advertising floods into markets during Q4 CPM, clearing inventory can be problematic.   

Coupling this with the “use it or lose it” budgeting process faced by many marketers results in a shift away from relevance in favor of scale.

With a move in programmatic to increase quality and platforms such as Facebook maximizing their ad load, marketers and their agencies can have trouble clearing advertising at CPMs they’ve budgeted for during their Q4 planning stage.

According to many Oracle DSP partners, it is common for advertisers to pull data from their campaigns during the back half of December. The thought process is simple: Data is limiting my audience and I’m under-pacing spend goals. I need to stop throttling my spend with data.

As a result, data-driven marketing campaigns are paused in exchange for sheer impression volume. The implications are worrisome—even as consumer spending continues to ramp up, campaigns are becoming less focused, less targeted—and essentially, less effective.

Avoid the trap

Fortunately, it’s not too late to plan to avoid this trap. By utilizing these simple steps, marketers can scale their budgets without sacrificing the benefits of an effective data-driven campaign strategy.

Step 1: Have a flexible, omni-channel data strategy

Marketers should have a data strategy that spans multiple channels, from display to walled gardens, to video and audio. If one channel is having trouble scaling against the target audience, budgets should be swiftly reallocated to channels that can scale.

Step 2: Use a tiered audience strategy to create Relevant Reach

This strategy should have both highly targeted audiences and broader audiences. Highly targeted audiences, while smaller in size, will enable you to focus dollars on those most likely to spend on your products.

However, having broader, secondary audiences will allow you to continue to scale data driven targeting, after your best prospects have been saturated with your message. We call combining these strategies, “Relevant Reach.”

Step 3: Leverage cross-device

Cross-device is essential to a quality digital marketing campaign. It enables marketers to better manage reach and frequency at a user level, meaning you will increase total reach against your audience. As an added bonus, cross-device or identity graphs expand data sets—allowing your spend to better scale against your target.

Step 4: Custom audiences

In a real-time bidding (RTB) environment, you can find yourself competing with hundreds or thousands of other advertisers when you leverage syndicated data sets.

Custom audiences from Oracle create unique bidding pools for your brand, lessening competition for key consumers and allowing for potentially higher win rates.

Step 5: Dynamic budget allocation

Enable your team to rapidly shift budgets from tactics that aren’t performing or scaling to ones that are.

By utilizing these simple steps, marketers can further scale data-driven targeting in Q4 and get a leg up on competitors who are serving up ads blindly as they focus on spend, not success.

Reach out to The Data Hotline team for data-driven answers to your holiday campaign questions. (What's The Data Hotline?)

About Nate Carter

Nate Carter leads Partner Development for Oracle Data Cloud on The Trade Desk. He is passionate about achieving better advertisers results through data, custom audience builds and homemade pizza.

Follow us @OracleDataCloud on Twitter and Facebook

Image: Shutterstock

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