AARP Turns To Krux To Act On Its First-Party Data

Krux AARPBecause AARP serves a specific demographic – people over 50 – the magazine has long understood just how valuable it was to provide advertisers with a segmented audience.

But within that age bracket, there is incredible diversity of segments that the AARP knew would provide value to advertisers. So the team decided to use Krux to build its data-management platform (DMP), which would run across AARP The magazine section and as a whole.

Through Krux, the AARP could create segments on the site and offer advertisers audience extension. Internally, the site could use the platform to boost membership.

Since AARP implemented Krux more than a year ago across, the average CPM of run-of-site placements doubled with the audience data from the DMP added in. The site’s investment in Krux’s software gave it a return six times over.

Key to the success was the ability for the AARP to leverage its offline data, which had subscribers’ birthdays, household income, gender and other demographic data provided by the user.

The Advertiser Advantage

“Advertisers crave finding quality, declared demographic data,” said Mike Moreau, chief solutions officer of Krux. “A lot of the third-party data available is inferred. In the AARP’s case, you have people saying: ‘This is my birthday.’”

Krux enables AARP to combine that offline data with other behavioral data that might take place on the site, as well as third-party data Krux brings in from other providers. That gives advertisers plenty of options for how to use audience targeting.

Recently, a financial advertiser bought a run of site as well as a customer audience segment using the AARP’s data. In return for a 15% higher CPM, the advertisers received a 30% lift in performance.

“Examples of two-to-one ratio of performance over price tells me that something is working in regards to first-party data audience-based offerings,” said Scott Maison, director of digital advertising services at AARP.

Companies that use the AARP brand to offer products like life insurance or health insurance were the biggest beneficiaries of the Krux implementation. By knowing someone had already registered for a co-branded financial product, for example, “we could exclude delivery of ads” for that advertiser, so it didn’t waste marketing dollars on someone who had already converted, Maison said.

Advertisers that might have bought contextual placements to access people interested in diabetes medication or equipment, for example, could now buy across the site and not just in the health section by using Krux data, though Maison noted the AARP “stays away from anything too sensitive in the health space.”

Non-endemic advertisers who want to access just a slice of the AARP’s audience now have more opportunities to reach subsegments, like “mature wealth,” through audience targeting.

The AARP builds some of those segments by using data from its AARP Rewards for Good section, which allows logged-in users to accrue points for engaging with AARP content. They redeem these points for goods.

AARP uses this group as something of a sample population. A credit card advertisement that performs well among 50-to-65-year-old women who engage in travel content, sports equipment and  redeem their points for sunglasses, for example, can turn into a segment. The AARP can then suggest the credit card company target users like that across the AARP as a whole, Maison explained.

The Internal Advantage

“Because of the success we’ve seen with our external clients with these types of data-driven product sets, we have recently begun offering similar support services and targeting capabilities to internal groups within AARP,” Maison said.

The AARP’s offline data trove includes membership registration and expiration information, which the AARP uses for internal marketing.

An AARP reader who hasn’t been to the site for a while can be retargeted offsite and receive a banner ad encouraging the member to return.

“Subscription marketing is huge,” Moreau said. “Our clients that have the strongest ROI on Krux are using us in this way. To keep your members engaged, and have them generate more impressions has a big payoff.”

Using Krux, the AARP accesses conversion information about memberships, not just clicks on an ad, enabling it to build segments across every step of the conversion funnel. They could focus on higher-funnel ads at people whose membership was about to expire, for example.

Or they could remarket to people who went through a membership registration page but abandoned the process. Krux can also distinguish between members and nonmembers and people of unknown status, allowing for segmented targeting.

Audience Extension And Data Protection

AARP can drive member engagement across the web through audience extension.

Krux has basic DSP capabilities that allow publishers like AARP to buy media using their data without giving it over. “Many marketers and publishers are reluctant to send data to DSP because they wonder if the data can be used to inform other peoples’ campaigns,” Moreau said of Krux’s clients. “There is mistrust there. Companies feel more comfortable buying media through us.”

Krux’s DSP connects to major exchanges and can do real-time bidding, but doesn’t have the sophisticated optimization technology that DSP-first providers have, Moreau said.

To further protect its data, the AARP relies both on legal agreements and Krux’s Data Sentry technology. “We’ve taken the position that our first-party data is not available in the market,” Maison said.

“We go through great degree of steps to make sure we’re protecting that data, like having a data protection rider” and monitoring data leakage through the Data Sentry platform, Maison explained. “It’s more important for us to protect our data then go along with those that don’t.”

Protecting the AARP’s data protects its members, too. “My mother-in-law is a member,”Maison said. We are a nonprofit and a memberships organization, and that gives us a luxury others may not have. There’s a different connection to the user on than other publishers might have with their users, who aren’t members.”

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