Resonate Networks CEO Gernert On Attitudinal Versus Demographic, Psychographic Targeting

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Resonate NetworksAd technology company, Resonate Networks, announced today that in its own study, attitudinal targeting showed up to a 4x lift when compared to demographic targeting. Read the release.

Resonate Networks' CEO Bryan Gernert discussed the finer points of attitudinal targeting.

Where does attitudinal targeting fit within psychographic targeting (PeerSet, Mindset Media) and behavioral targeting?

Attitudinal targeting is similar to psychographic targeting in that we identify audiences based on personal characteristics, such as attitudes and values, which influence consumer purchase decisions. Targeting based on attitudes and values offers advertisers the opportunity to connect with consumers on a deeper more enduring level than demographic or behavioral targeting especially since behaviors can be fleeting while attitudes tend to remain relatively consistent. Online behavioral targeting today uses purchase intent and search data which is not scalable and doesn’t address the “why” – the motivating factors behind consumer purchase decisions, brand loyalty, etc. Without understanding the why advertisers would have a hard time developing brand advertising strategies to drive demand of specific brands, products or services. We do incorporate demographic and behavioral targeting in our methodology when it is beneficial to an advertisers strategy and goals.

Resonate is different from companies like PeerSet and Mindset Media in several ways. While some other players are focused on inferring psychographic information about individuals based upon keywords used or user-generated content, Resonate directly collects attitudinal information from individuals to drive our predictive targeting model. Our methodology includes continuous, large scale waves of consumer research. This approach allows us to get far more precise in understanding more sophisticated and nuanced attitudes, values and beliefs that would be too difficult to infer from online activity. Other players offer advertisers limited Prizm-like cluster segmentation models but Resonate offers advertisers the ability to define their target audience from a combination of over one thousand characteristics.

How does the increasingly real-time nature of targeting in online display work with attitudinal targeting?  Trying to understand why attitudinal works, in particular...

Attitudinal targeting is most effective when used for brand advertising vs. direct response because it enables brands to identify an audience based on attributes that define people on a more emotional level than price or product features. Our targeting engine enables advertisers to reach a highly targeted audience with audience-specific messaging which delivers effective ROI since the advertising is reaching the right audience with the right message as many times as desired (targeted reach & frequency). When you define an audience by attitudinal characteristics, as opposed to behavioral targeting on purchase intent for example, we’ve found that the online behavior of that audience changes slowly; so you can draw meaningful conclusions about how to find specialized audiences online by analyzing recent historical online behavior and applying this knowledge on campaigns in real time.

Resonate provides advertisers premium ad placement in brand-safe environments by buying inventory directly from publishers. Currently real time bidding is ideal for DR campaigns that leverage remnant inventory; these platforms are not particularly useful for executing brand campaigns that require premium placements from advertisers, which is why Resonate maintains its over 1,300 direct publisher relationships today.

What are the keys to effective creative when using attitudinal targeting?

As with any advertising - online or offline – creative, message and targeting are all critical to an ad campaign’s effectiveness. Resonate’s powerful analytic tools provide valuable insights for advertisers to better understand the needs and interests of their audience and leverage these insights for strategic creative and messaging decisions that help them connect with their target audience.

The most powerful aspect of attitudinal targeting is that most Resonate clients end up turning one target audience into multiple sub-audiences within a single campaign – Attitudinal Targeting allows you to begin to think in this more precise way, and develop messaging and creative that hit on the emotional motivations of each particular group distinctly.

You touched a bit on this in your release - What about blending attitudinal and demographic targeting?  Could this add a layer of improved optimization? Or does this inhibit scale?

Yes, when it makes sense we incorporate additional targeting attributes like demographic characteristics into our attitudinal targeting and audience delivery. Since demographic attributes are more coarse descriptors of audience than the core attitudes and beliefs, they can be useful in defining sub-audiences to target. For example, I may want to deliver one message to those Moms concerned about childhood obesity who are in their mid 40s – 50s; I may want to deliver a very different message to those Moms concerned about childhood obesity who are in their late 20s – 30s. Same attitudinal target, refined by a demographic to reach each sub-group in the optimal way.  Our goal is deliver the best audience to scale based on an advertiser’s goal.

By John Ebbert

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One Response to “Resonate Networks CEO Gernert On Attitudinal Versus Demographic, Psychographic Targeting”


  1. JB says:

    Again congratulations to Resonate for entering the online ad targeting fray. Peerset's strategies and philosophies are quite similar to theirs BUT we do heavily embrace ad networks, DSPs and exchanges as partners. They are critical to delivering our custom and standardized audience segments.

    Given that Peerset was mentioned I do have to correct a statement that was made about us. The Peerset platform targets users based both on explicitly stated interests and those that highly correlate to the target criteria. So the data is not just inferred. It starts with explicit information.

    We strongly believe that the information users generate in certain context in the social web speaks to their most sincere passions and interests and is well beyond the data that can be gathered in a survey. We have studied this data since 2005. The proof is in the pudding.

    JB, CEO, Peerset

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