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Boost Digital-Ad Yield by Knowing Your Audiences and the Content They Read

by John Shomaker  |  
January 7, 2011

In this article, learn how …

  • Targeting to well-defined audience segments increases digital-advertising yield
  • Allocating digital advertising across many digital channels can reap the most benefit for marketers

As most marketers know, digital advertising is no longer a secondary channel in the chief marketing officer's arsenal. Once a bastion of simple banner flipping and annoying pop-up ads, display advertising is rapidly overtaking traditional media as the preferred channel to drive targeted awareness and the customer pipeline.

Innovations in rich-media creative, integrated video advertising, and in-app mobile ads are enabling a level of production quality and user engagement formerly not achievable until now.

Yet with all the advancements in digital formats and devices, the dramatic shift to digital advertising is more likely a function of data—the explosion of anonymous online databases categorizing individual Web users based on their demographic attributes, surfing and purchase behavior, and content preferences.

When the data is synthesized, faceless Internet visitors become categorized into well-described market segments that can be targeted on an impression-by-impression basis.

The data segments elicit questions such as the following (for example): Does a time-share marketer such as Marriott achieve better results by placing media on travel-centric websites or by advertising on a broad set of websites, where it can limit showing its ads to visitors profiled as "affluent" or "frequent travelers"?

With that debate in mind, AdJuggler ran a controlled test* during the summer of 2010 to understand the incremental yield to advertisers—if any—of the type of content users are reading when the ad is shown.

We then assessed how yield improves by targeting ads to certain audiences (in this case, user data highlighting a user's demographics, financial affluence, and credit and purchase history). The analysis was based on 872 million digital-display impressions across more than 6,000 advertising campaigns.

The analysis demonstrates several important insights for marketers:

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John Shomaker is the CEO of AdJuggler, a leading SaaS-based digital-ad-serving and management software platform, serving nearly 300 publishers, ad networks, agencies, and advertisers. Email him at

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