Digitas VP Estebanell Says Social Targeting Driving Awareness With A Mix Of Audiences

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DigitasNicole Estebanell is VP/Group Director, Media at Publicis' digital agency Digitas.  Estebanell discussed data and social targeting's impact on her agency's client strategy as well as its use of social ad network 33across.

AdExchanger.com: How is the agency dealing with the challenge created by “big data” in media?

NE: I think the challenges we're seeing it create has to do with media fragmentation and cross‑channel attribution. And because of those two factors we are really required to, even more so than ever, drive ROI and accountability for our clients. So if we look at media fragmentation fueled by digital channel and device adoption growth, we're required as marketers to develop a well‑defined owned, earned, and paid strategy to support our client's marketing objectives.

When we look across the importance of measuring cross‑channel attribution ‑‑ and we've been having so many discussions as of late as to the importance of that and the importance of quantifying the incremental value that digital media drives ‑‑ it becomes paramount, especially as we look to reach new consumers across PC, mobile, tablets, et cetera.

So, our approach overall is to create campaigns that reach consumers across all channels. It's not about marketing to just one device or one platform. It's an integrated brand agency.

What are some of the key metrics you're looking at on behalf of clients with social targeting – and beyond just ROI?

Ultimately, the performance metrics will vary by client. Some clients measure sales, measure leads, cost‑per‑lead. At the end of the day, that's how we quantify the impact to the business. What we're looking at, and what we view social targeting enabling, is a broader set of metrics to evaluate overall program performance and impact that will then help inform planning around the overall bottom line. So, social indices that go beyond just click and impressions, but rather focus on influence and connections. By measuring influence and connections in addition to message volume and sharing, we can develop actionable insights that can help drive growth across our clients' owned and earned media. Digitas believes that when we effectively leverage owned and earned as starting points, we deliver stronger ROI for our clients. Paid is certainly important, but should be part of a holistic strategy.

In partnering with 33Across for social targeting, the intent is to identify high‑value targets and new prospects - and continuing to grow our program. We're building brand graphs to identify and reach our targets.  By analyzing the brand graph data, we can identify prospects and understand their social habits.  Then, using these insights, we help inform our targeting and messaging strategies focused on audience growth and program expansion.

When we activate the brand that connects with consumers and delivers value to their day‑to‑day lives, we’re looking at the way data enables brand activation. Or "active branding," as we call it.

Do you really try to get into very small segments, as opposed to something more broad and scalable?

We look at the current segments that a client might have. So, for example, we're looking at who is actually coming to the client’s site and the composition of the traffic. What are their behaviors? And what are some insights that can help determine how we should be messaging to these audiences.

It’s all about driving that utility and engaging with the brand in order to drive the most impact. It's not about finding the "one" audience, it's about finding the mix of audiences and then allowing us to tailor the messaging strategy and customize how we're engaging to elevate the brand and drive as much value as possible

In the digital ad industry as a whole, attribution has really seemed to pop up this year as an important buzzphrase in the past year. Has something changed?

It’s actually a challenge that we've been addressing for quite some time. I think the reason that it has popped even more is that media fragmentation is at an all‑time high.

Does social targeting today go beyond just display?

I think social targeting is not just about display.  In fact, everything we talk about when we look at digital, we're looking at it holistically. Social, done right, allows us as marketers to understand our audience, listen to consumer sentiment, understand intent. And then on behalf of our clients activate the brand in a way that connects in a meaningful way and delivers value to their day‑to‑day lives.

How are you handling creative with social targeting?

Understanding the audience informs great messaging.  Tying in those insights to our creative strategy is based on actual audience and real‑time data on how consumers are interacting with the brand.

We're always asking ourselves, “How do we evolve and grow a program on behalf of our clients and activate their brand?” It’s a constant evolution which grows the client’s program overall.

By John Ebbert

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