No Pixel, No (First) Party

Recent years have been marked by a shift towards greater consumer privacy. The EU’s famous GDPR legislation – a trailblazer in its own right – has paved the way for an insurgence of data protection policies across the world. With California’s new CCPA laws for 2020, and Google’s upcoming 3rd party cookie ban getting under marketers’ skins, we are having to adapt to a whole new landscape.

While heightened data transparency and security is a big win in the eyes of consumers, you would be forgiven for assuming that these laws would restrict digital marketers’ access to granular data. To some extent this is true – perhaps the biggest impact of GDPR was its prohibition of the use of third party data, or Facebook’s ‘Partner Categories’. But this overlooks the potential for innovation, and crucially, fails to consider a tool far more valuable than Partner Categories: first-party data.

The Facebook Pixel

The age-old belief that companies are inundated with data (inundata’d, if you will) but are still searching for the best avenues to utilize it, rings true. In Facebook terms, the vast majority of this first-party data is captured on-site, by the Pixel. This is a piece of code placed on a website that, once given consent, registers events (content viewed, checkout initiated, etc.) that users take on a site throughout their path to purchase. It then syncs this data to a registered Facebook user profile, ready to serve them ads at a later date. This is how your favorite retailer is able to retarget you with that pair of sneakers you added to your basket 27 days ago.

What are Custom Audiences?

Facebook stores this event data in order to supply ready-to-build custom audiences within Facebook Business Manager (below). Most who are familiar with paid social are probably aware of these events and have seen great success from targeting these high-intent users, but not all are aware of their full capabilities. 

Screengrab of Facebook's readybuilt custom audiences

Below are three helpful examples of how custom audiences can be used to sift through your first-party data, unlocking nuances of user behavior otherwise overlooked by the standard events.

Purchase Value

You can overlay standard events (add to cart, purchase, etc.) with information in the URL of the specific page the user is browsing when the Pixel logs an event. This gives you access to various URL parameters like the product name or category to give you a much broader idea of specific user interest and intent. 

Overlaying a standard event with a category variable is perhaps one of the more common tactics deployed in custom audience targeting. All this means is serving sneaker ads to users who have recently been on a landing page on your website with ‘footwear’ in the URL. However, many ignore the potential to further refine these audiences by additional variables: namely, price. 

Screengrab of Facebook Ads targeting for purchases made in the last 90 days

When advertising products of a higher value, it is crucial to understand who is best to market them to. Suppose your customer’s average order value is $50, but you want to advertise your most valuable product range with an average product value of $250. Ads for these higher-value products may well mean wasted impressions on a typical past purchaser. Custom audiences allow you to refine these purchases by value, so that ads can be served exclusively to customers who have previously checked out a basket with a specified minimum value. Ultimately, this makes your ads more relevant.

Building an audience in this way still only utilizes a small segment of the abundance of first-party data businesses are sitting on, but in this scenario, this small segment represents a far greater potential for return on investment. These users also represent a valuable source audience from which to build a look-a-like audience from, enabling marketers to find new users that display similar behaviors to their big-spending customers. 

Time Spent on Site

The trusty Facebook Pixel not only logs the value and the events made on a user’s purchase journey, but it also tracks the length of these journeys by measuring overall active time spent on a website. Helpfully, Facebook groups all website visitors into percentile thresholds of their time spent on site, which can be used to build custom audiences. 

Screengrab of Facebook audience targeting for visitors by time spent

Many marketers seek to reach their most engaged customers by targeting users who have actively signed up to reward programs or within the CRM. While this audience tends to be the most engaged, it’s surprising to see the level of overlap with users who are spending the most amount of time on site. 

We’ve seen as little as an 8% overlap between the 5% of users spending the most time on site and those within the CRM, with a level of performance that rivals the CRM audience. Using these two audiences in tandem can allow marketers to reach a much larger group of high-intent users that, without the custom audience tool, would otherwise have been difficult to reach. 

Purchase Frequency

Our last example concerns frequency; the Facebook Pixel stores repeat purchase data from users that are readily available to be retargeted, if you know where to look. 

Screengrab of Facebook audiences by purchase frequency

This tool can be very handy for businesses that sell consumables. Should a business ever wish to promote these in a 3 for 2 deal, then understanding which customers already frequently purchase, and therefore may be likely to capitalize on a sale of this nature, can make all of the difference.

Alternatively, there is also value in understanding which of your past purchasers have failed to make a repeat purchase in a given time frame. Users within this audience may well warrant bespoke promotional targeting to prompt them to make a repeat purchase. Where there is data, there is opportunity.

Make the most of your own resources

Nothing in digital ever stays still. In an era of unprecedented concern for data privacy, laws such as GDPR and CCPA will continue to be introduced across the globe. As marketers, it is more important than ever that we are reactive to these changes that threaten to challenge routine. 

We have only scratched the surface of the targeting opportunities that are available with the apparatus provided by Facebook’s Pixel and custom audiences.  These examples should be used as motivation to explore new innovative avenues to maximize the utility of transparent, first-party data. Granular targeting is still very much possible, but instead of seeking external help, why not consult your own resources? Innovating with your own first-party data is a hugely rewarding exercise in terms of the performance it can drive.

NMPi Shortlisted at this Year’s SBC Awards

It’s with great pride and pleasure that we are announcing our most recent shortlist at this year’s SBC Awards for Marketing & Service Provider of the Year (Sports & Casino).

The awards are known for “recognizing expertise and innovation in the betting and gaming industries,” and it is truly an honor to be shortlisted for this award after having launched our iGaming services just over 2 years ago.

Our digital strategies bring a fresh and innovative approach to the iGaming industry, which can be seen through our work with our clients such as Hero Gaming.

If you’re interested in learning more about our strategy, check out our latest Whitepaper on the iGaming industry, which provides specialist insight on the US Sports Betting market. 

Place your bets on NMPi, Winner to be announced 3 December 2019.

Masterclassing New York: The Emotional Journey of Connecting with Customers

You can never underestimate the power of great experience in driving performance, and that great experience relies on connecting with your customers. It’s an emotional journey to get from the moments of wonder to the “I Do”, but in our recent Masterclassing roundtable with sister company Joystick, we gave practical advice for navigating that customer journey.

Making Emotional Connections

It can be hard to think about digital marketing beyond its impact to the bottom line, but we should be striving for truly great marketing that makes us feel something different: be it wonder, curiosity, excitement or fear of missing out. It is those feelings that create an emotional connection with your brand and ultimately establish customer loyalty.

But you aren’t going to make that connection with Paid Search ads that say the same thing or with retargeting ads that follow you around for months regardless of who you are, or emails that clog up your inbox. What we should be doing is putting the romance back into marketing: connecting over time to develop a solid relationship.

Lucky for us, Forrester is predicting that 2019 will be the year that marketing “gets sexy again”. The report claims that CMOs are the executives most responsible for customer experience, which has stagnated year after year. Forrester expects that, in order to combat this, companies will undergo bold brand transformations. They won’t need to rebrand, but Forrester instead predicts that they’ll need to refocus on branding so as to catch the eye of the consumer.

Let’s Start Dating

It all starts with the customer, doesn’t it? And that customer is searching for something. You’ve done your research, pulled your insights but first, you have to meet. So what’s your opening line? How do you stand out from the crowd? You have to meet your customer at a time when you are relevant to them, so pique their interest on Search. They’ll swipe right when they’re ready.

Once you’ve got them interested, it’s time to add some sizzle. With high impact creative you can create excitement.  If you’re a retailer, create an environment which allows them to browse shoppable products set within a real-life setting. By creating these real-life environments you can establish your branding and resonate with the consumer.

You then need to spend some quality time together with personalized dynamic creative. This is where you focus on each other’s interests, build loyalty, and extend your relationship. Say a customer put a tennis racket in their basket but didn’t purchase – target them with a discount code on that racket to encourage their conversion. If they have previously purchased a racket, instead target them with related products like tennis balls.

After you’ve spent some time in a relationship, it’s time to get engaged. Make sure it’s a great experience; frictionless like the iPhone. Make it convenient, such as Warby Parker. And always look for moments to make someone feel special like Eileen Fisher.

If you get the whole thing right, they’re sure to say “I Do”.

Want to view our presentation? You can download the slides from Masterclass on Slideshare.

NMPi Wins ‘Most Innovative Strategy’ at IAB Programmatic Awards

We are thrilled to announce that NMPi has won in the “Innovative Strategy” category at the first IAB Programmatic Awards in The Netherlands. Advertising industry specialists looked forward seeing this year’s groundbreaking entries, and we were excited to be counted among the prestigious nominees for our case study: Real-Time visibility of Snow Heights for Transavia.

The IAB Programmatic Awards are important because they are voted on by industry experts in recognition of agencies that deliver outstanding results.

NMPi Netherland’s Managing Director, Gerard Moussault, commented: “This is a real testament to the excellent work done by the NMPi team. Over the next year, we are going to continue to grow and push the limits of digital innovation.”

Transavia’s Direct Sales Manager, Nick Brandts commented, “Our campaign team is always looking to reach our audience in a better, more relevant way. Together with NMPi, we investigated the (technical) possibilities of creating an innovative campaign. In our partnership we have a shared goal: to challenge each other to create new innovative elements for every campaign. It is wonderful to see this effort pay off with positive campaign results. The Programmatic Award for ‘Most Innovative Strategy’ for our Wintersport Campaign is recognition we are very proud of!”

NMPi Netherland’s Head of Consultancy, Quintijn van Kessel added: “The IAB Award recognizes our work over the last couple of months in close cooperation with our client, Transavia. It’s great to see this acknowledged with this Innovative Strategy win”.

This award comes on the heels of NMPi’s RAR+ (Recommended Agency Register) win for ‘Best Search’.

The second half of 2017 is set to be even more exciting, with this award acting as a springboard to further success!

NMPi Wins Best Search Award at RAR+ Digital Awards

NMPi is delighted to have won in the “Best Search” category at last night’s RAR+ Digital Awards.  The RAR+ award is especially important because it recognises agencies who deliver outstanding results as voted for by clients on a measure of overall satisfaction, rather than being judged for a single campaign case study.

NMPi’s CEO, Luke Judge, commented, “I am immensely proud of our brilliant team at NMPi; their hard work and passion for doing outstanding work with our clients has been deservedly recognised by this important award win. I am also grateful to our clients for their kind survey feedback in supporting us”.

Director of Biddable, Sophie Harkness added, “We have always prided ourselves on going the extra mile for our clients, so it’s great to see this acknowledged with this Best Search win”.

Head of Performance Marketing, Max Flajsner commented, “I believe our client happiness, and therefore this recognition, is a direct consequence of the high levels of innovation that we have brought to our client’s campaigns over the past twelve months”.

This award win follows closely after NMPi was ranked in top place in the Drum’s UK Elite Media Agency rankings. This kicked off an expansive year for the company, which has so far seen the launch of three new NMPi offices in Zurich, Sydney and Cape Town.

The second half of 2017 looks set to be even more exciting, with this award acting as a springboard to further success.