The Right Data Can Sweeten Returns on Ad Investments
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The Right Data Can Sweeten Returns on Ad Investments

3 minute read
Tom Murphy avatar

All the data in the world won't increase the return on your advertisingexpenses by itself, but some clever ideas from a SanFrancisco analytics conference might.

In back-to-back presentations, attendees at PredictiveAnalytics World heard how to cut costs and increase output in today'slightning fast online ad networks and how to gauge return on investment in a much older medium:television.

Building a Model

Mahesh Kumar of Tiger Analytics provided the insights on advertising networks that -- within a half-second -- help a publisher recognize an online user, contact an advertising exchange, relay the request to an ad network, choose among participating advertisers, select an appropriate ad and deliver that advertisement to the user.

In part because of the sheer difficulty, the click-thru rate on such adsare often as low as 1:3000, he said.

To remedy that, he suggested counting all the successful clicks and thencomparing that to the unsuccessful attempts to create a model that will yieldbetter results. However, he noted the computation time needed to crunch thatmuch data would take too long, even with a supercomputer. Instead, he said youcan use a small sample of the unsuccessful attempts, reducing the computing timeby a factor of 100.

In a case study he shared, this helped reduce the cost of ad purchases by 20percent while yielding a 56 percent lift in click-thrus. In his second act, Kumar explained how Tiger transforms the unstructureddata of social networks into semi-structured data, and finally into structureddata that can score social media content from Facebook, Twitter, blogs andDataSift. For example, a simple mention of "travel" in a tweet can beassigned a number which, when combined with other clues, may suggest the socialmedia user is planning a trip.

The result, he said, is as much as a 25 percent reduction in cost peracquisition thanks to higher click-thru rates.

Learning Opportunities

Measuring ROI for TV Ads 

Thumbnail image for datarow1.jpg

Just before Kumar's presentation, Daniel Kissin, the senior analytics managerat Expedia -- one of the world'slargest travel companies -- offered some ideas on how to measure ROI for TV ads.In today's omnichannel world, where the results of other media can be measuredin a flash, it  can be difficult to understand the impact of TV ads.

Expedia has quite a bit of experience in television. And Kissin said one keyis to create connections between the TV ad and another action by urginglisteners to call in the next 10 minutes,  respond to a particular website oruse a coupon code. However it is done, the links can provide informationcomparable to click-thrus on the web by showing a particular ad drew aspecific number of responses.

He also said it's vital to inspect traffic in tiny increments of time,looking for sudden spikes at the times that commercials air. He acknowledgedthat with most programming, it is very difficult to discern a direct connection.However, he said with special events like the Super Bowl or the Oscars, a spikecan be spotted easily. Expedia found that out in February 2013 when itadvertised on the Super Bowl, he said. 

Title image by Tiger Analytics.