Releases New, Free Audience Profiles Product; CEO Ogilvie Says Company Looking To Improve Efficiency For Search Marketers announced a new, free audience profiling tool aimed at search marketers. Read the release. CEO Tim Ogilvie discussed the new product and the company. Why is your new “Audience Profiles” product free?

TO: We’re making it free because it has such an impact on performance that we’re trying to get it as broadly distributed as possible. We’re trying to make it faster, cheaper, and easier for search marketers to be successful with display. The marketers we talk to are excited about the opportunity in the ad exchanges, but are often confused about where to get started or have been burned in the past by under-performing display. Audience Profiles helps them uncover the data segments that are going to deliver performance before they spend their money. This also helps marketers leverage the data from their existing search campaigns by understanding the users that are converting.

In my first Displaying Search column, I outlined a three-step roadmap for search marketers getting started in display. Audience Profiles makes it much easier for marketers to execute on this play. We lead them along the way and do the work for them.

In addition to audience targeting, is placement important to your customers and how much transparency do you offer them on placement?

We focused first on uncovering the audience segments that convert because it tends to be more “portable” data. Marketers can do lots of things when they know that their customers tend to live in urban areas, make more than $100K annually, and have kids. We help them launch highly targeted ads, but they can also design more effective creative and landing pages, or better segment their product offerings. Contrasted with knowing that a user visited or in the past month, it’s much more useful. But we plan to launch tools that make finding placements that will work later this year.

On transparency, we’re struggling with the rest of the industry to find the right balance between complete transparency and respect for the publisher’s direct sales efforts. We currently provide site-level detail to select clients but don’t provide the same transparency through our self-serve interface. Others in the category have been more aggressive here, so I expect we’ll follow their lead and provide full transparency.

What else are you seeing from AdBuyer customers today? Any trends you can share? Are your customers 100% search marketers, for example?

Our core customer is typically a top 5000 search marketer, but that’s not 100% of our customer base. In many cases, our customers are finding that their marginal ROI from search isn’t as high as it was in the past and they’re looking for new opportunities that can help them keep growing. There’s a lot of interest and excitement around ad exchange buying, but a lot fo confusion about the right way to approach it.

Can map a single user cookie across multiple exchanges and publishers today?  Do search marketers understand why this is important? Or is it still an education project on your end?

While we can do this, I’m not convinced the details matter much to our customers. Our core customers are principally concerned with whether their advertising is making the cash register ring. As such, our education efforts are focused on helping advertisers understand which audiences and sites they should be targeting, and how to incorporate that spend into a marketing portfolio that includes their existing search spend. That’s why Audience Profiles are a big deal – we make it incredibly easy to understand what’s likely to work without effort or spend.

Finally, on creative, what is doing to help with the display ad unit – not a strong suit for search marketers I would think?

This is a real problem for search marketers. We offer an ad customization tool that allows users to easily create variants of headlines, ad text, call-to-actions, and animation. Advertisers can use our 100+ ad templates or develop their own for customization with our tool. But I do think there’s more to be done here and will be an important part of any long-term winners.

By John Ebbert

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