IgnitionOne’s Margiloff: ‘Marketers Have Yet To Figure Out The Best Use For Their Data’

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Earlier this month, when Google decided to combine its paid Product Listing Ads and its “free” shopping-related results into a single paid format, digital marketer IgnitionOne was one of the first ad tech firms to say it would immediately integrate the new Google Shopping results into its own remarketing channels. We spoke with IgnitionOne CEO Will Margiloff about Google’s deeper dive into the e-commerce waters and about the ultimate questions pertaining to first- and third party data.

AdExchanger: What was the significance of last week’s partnership with Google? Was that an extension of an existing partnership or something completely new?

WILL MARGILOFF: Google is moving and evolving their product listings. These types of new features help us integrate what they’re now doing at Google Shopping right alongside search and display along with the traditional search display on Facebook.

We’ll be able to allow e-commerce companies and online retailers to combine the optimization tools that we offer today in a new channel – namely Google Shopping. Whereas before Google Shopping was a free listing service, now marketers will be competing for listings with other Google Shopping products.

How is this Google Shopping deal similar or different from your other partnerships with companies like Amazon?

What our partnerships reflect is a kind of reversion back to the Shopping.com days, when paid listings were very common. More and more folks are going to try and figure out how to monetize products that traditionally have been free services, as long as they can maintain the proper quality.

That’s the goal. It seemed to take Google so long [to turn to paid product listings] because they want to make sure they have the right system in place to maintain the integrity of the listings themselves.

You’ve talked about “getting it right” in remarketing and retargeting by doing it “smarter” than the competition. How does IgnitionOne define “smarter remarketing?

There are many ways to do remarketing, and remarketing isn’t a new concept, right? Having people go to a marketer’s page and then saying that user must obviously be interested in my product or service – it just doesn’t make sense. There are so many people that click on ads who may or may not be naturally interested in what they see on that page. There’s no reason to deliver them an ad later on just because they have been there once.

What we have tried to do with our smart remarketing product, is to take a look at an age-old formula, which tracks recency, frequency and monetary value. We view those things in conjunction with several additional things, including time spent, duration of visit, types of statistics, and quality of inbound traffic. We also factor in where did the user come from? We ask if the user is arriving from a quality source? On top of that, we look at another set of factors to determine if that user has a propensity to buy something or to convert.

Once we’ve gathered all of the various data points, we then score the consumer and truly understand, first and foremost, if they are interested in buying something. If they are, what is their true interest is? What is the product that they are truly interested in? In combining that with dynamic creative and other neat things you can do with technology, you start to have this incredible one to one delivery in a much smarter way to drive sales, conversions, leads, et cetera. That’s the nuanced approach that we’re taking.

You mentioned creative advertising as part of that formula. How does IgnitionOne manage that part of the equation?

By scoring a consumer you can know that they’re interested in product A or product B, right? We can use dynamic creative technology that we bought with our AdJug acquisition last year. That technology can be used to create a template for displaying one, two or three products.

You could decide that consumers who have a certain score are usually more influenced by a percentage off as opposed to a specific dollar discount. There are all kinds of different ways that we can influence the creative by looking at the score. It’s not only the product that you show within the banner ad itself, but it’s about the message.

You recently opened a Brazil office. What’s the state of ad tech and programmatic buying in that country?

We’ve got global clients that are in that part of the world and we are servicing them there and have been for some time. It got to a point where we believed that we would need a local team there too, not only to grow our global client base. Brazil’s a tremendous opportunity, not only for us but also for other folks who enter the right way.

We think we help educate the market on ad technology.  I think we can help them eliminate a lot of the trial and error, a lot of the testing that’s has gone on in more mature markets like North America, like Europe, like Asia, where you have seen an abundance of technology. Smart marketers have had to spend years and years testing all these different things. Brazil has the opportunity to eliminate a lot of that trial and error and compress that learning. Instead of understanding data driven display over the last three years in the U.S., they could do it in a year.

How do you approach gathering data?  

From a remarketing standpoint, we use first party data -- just the marketer's data. Since we have amassed a large client list, we’re able to work with each brand and get permission from them to see if they would like to deliver ads to a non-competitive set of advertisers against their data.

We’ve got ways that we work with people, all with the marketer’s permission first and foremost.  For instance, we might have a luxury retailer that would allow us to have a high-end auto manufacturer serve an ad to somebody who has been tagged on the luxury retailer’s site. We don’t pass the data between them, but we can target luxury cars, the luxury apparel or vice versa, if there were a match there.

Data is pervasive, it’s everywhere. I don’t believe that marketers have even figured out 10 percent of what they can do with their own data. I question why they’re running around trying to use third party data.

Are you saying there’s no real value in third party data?

There’s definitely value in third party data. I think people have gotten way ahead of themselves. I think marketers need to really figure out how to leverage their own data to the best of their ability and make those incremental advancements in terms of conversation or delivery of ads or whatever it may be.

We have had data exchanges, aggregating data, and all this data all over the place for several years now. It’s kind of weird we have talked about the use of third party data before we talked about remarketing, which relies on first data party. It really is kind of flipped on its head; the conversation should have been the other way around. The discussion should be on how best to use first party data to optimize conversions on a website or optimize the delivery of media like remarketing.  That should be the marketer’s number one goal in terms of use of data.

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