As digital advertising shifts from cookies to audiences, personal identifying data (email address, phone number, social ID#, mobile advertising ID#) hold the key between real life identity and your social footprint. When paired together, advertisers can serve very relevant ads to people assigned to actual identity vs. relying on 3rd party cookies. Facebook is leading the way with an array of audience targeting products that leverages this level of targeting through a term coined “People Based Marketing”. Twitter has developed similar products including website tags and tailored audiences. This represents a fundamental shift in how advertisers create, buy and most importantly measure digital media. Because people are generally logged into social networks on their mobile phones, desktop computers and soon to be many more devices conversion can no be tracked to an individual across multiple screens. Privacy advocates are sure to raise red flags here, but performance behavior is rolled up at an aggregate so there really is nothing illegal here as it’s a win-win for the advertiser, publisher, end-user.

The word “advertising” comes with bad connotations. Think of it as “personalized content” where businesses have to pay extra to get their message in front of the right people. I don’t know about you, but I would prefer to have ads served to me that are valuable vs. Spam. Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, had a very eye opening response to this when asked about privacy concern “In the late 90’s when caller ID came out, California actually tried to ban the technology at the state level due to privacy concerns. Nowadays, it would be considered strange to answer a call without knowing who is calling you.” The same holds true for advertising… As adoption of more and more connected devices grow, people will become accustom to this. If you’re still anti-personalized “advertising” then the other option is to pay a monthly fee to network socially on the web.


John Wanmaker’s famous quote, “I know that half my advertising dollars are wasted …. I just don’t know which half” will not be the case as measurement technology improves, advertisers will be held more accountable than ever. Age-old KPI benchmarks like CPC and CPM which were used to measure success of display media buys are long gone with publishers like Facebook providing their own means of tracking performance across devices. Using Facebook’s conversion pixel, all media buys to your site should have a clear measurement plan in place prior to campaign launch to assess performance. Key Performance Indicators like return on ad spend on a post-click, standard and post-impression attribution should be monitored throughout the lifetime of the campaign with adjustments made to meet goals. As video media buys go digital for brand, TV metrics like reach and frequency will still be used for paid social ad buys, but now metrics like engagement and sentiment can be applied. Smart brand advertisers will leverage both quantitative and qualitative data to monitor content in real-time rather than committing to costly commercial buys with long run-times and production turn-a-rounds.