High Fidelity: Audience-Based Targeting

By Gary Reisman Leap Media Investments Archives

When it comes to media, pure audience reach will always be important. Let's face it -- it's vital for marketers to get their message out there.  Reach provides value, but in today's marketplace where engagement is part of the currency equation, audience quality matters just as much.  This is sparking more awareness of the need for more than mere exposure; for more true value to the marketer from that quality, targeted viewer.

Unfortunately, too many times digitally developed audiences are "weak" and don't provide the brand lift and/or don't perform at desired levels. Sometimes this is due to building audiences based on older demographic base models.  Other times it is due to building models based on inferring who the target may be.  Still other times it's just due to the modeling and/or losing parameters to bump up the scale of the audiences.

Given the ever-expanding digital landscape that is moving toward brand focused, audience-based targeting, I contend that it is becoming increasingly important to understand and focus on the fidelity of the audiences developed for targeting.  Higher quality audiences deliver the advertising attentiveness and engagement that both buyers and sellers are seeking and create desired actions -- including brand utilization, increased loyalty and sales.

To understand why I've been talking about introducing the importance of fidelity into the discussion, we need to step back and look at what fidelity means.

According to Webster's Dictionary (happily now also in digital format) fidelity has two definitions: one is about loyalty, but applied to electronics it's about the degree of accuracy or exactness of which something is reproduced.  Remember high fidelity ("Hi-Fi") in music which promised and delivered much better sound quality?  The same goes for audiences.  Marketers and their agency partners should expect nothing less than high fidelity in their target audience delivery -- audiences that replicate individuals more likely to engage with a brand and their advertising messaging.  It is critically important, especially if your goals include attentiveness, engagement, completions, conversion and sales. And brand fidelity -- loyalty -- will follow!

Taking a closer look at the consideration process for the best media "buy" there are a number of important factors.  Certainly, for brand marketers content-to-brand alignment is important.  As discussed earlier, raw reach is important as well. 

But beyond content alignment and reach, we typically scrutinize, analyze and "whatever-else-ize" media in order to select media that is concentrated with more people who are more likely to engage with the brand and/or product message.  What we ultimately want is to really reach audiences completely aligned with this goal.  This is what high-fidelity addresses.

LEAP Media Investments develops audiences for marketers based on the level of emotional connection an audience has for a brand. We've proven that building audiences based on emotional attachment gives greater fidelity -- a higher quality -- to your target audience.  That's because these are the consumers who are enthusiastic about your brand and are more receptive to your brand's messaging.

Once audience seeds are developed based on a consumer level of emotional attachment, the LEAP seed audiences overlay and leverage big data sets by magnifying the attributes that replicate or build a high fidelity scaled audience.  We then work with our modeling partners to keep the model at a level of high fidelity. That means that they are predicted to be more responsive to the brand message and they significantly over-index general population stats.

We at LEAP Media Investments recommend a three-pronged approach to audience buying:

  1. Find people who already have some level engagement with your brand,
  2. Then model this audience, deploying the audiences in media that best reaches those audiences.
  3. Don't be driven solely by scale. Strive for quality. Too much of the industry is focused on audience size rather than superior, high-quality audience development.

Seeking high fidelity audiences will be music to your prospective buyer's ears and help ring the register!

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