After finding that a majority of its digital ads were not reaching its target audience of women between the ages of 24 and 55, Avocados From Mexico is pushing for digital ad sellers to guarantee its ads hit the mark 70 percent of the time, as measured by Nielsen. But that can be costly to ensure.
Last year, Avocados From Mexico began asking publishers and digital ad platforms to guarantee that at least 40 percent of its digital ads would reach its target audience after the food company saw that only 20-30 percent of its ads were being shown to that audience segment. This year, the marketer is trying to raise its minimum on-target delivery threshold to 70 percent, said Ivonne Kinser, head of digital marketing at Avocados From Mexico.
However, there’s a price to pay for improved accuracy in digital advertising. While publishers and platforms are able to guarantee that the ads reach their target audience — with Nielsen checking that they do — they demand more money in exchange. While Kinser declined to say exactly how much more digital ad sellers charge the brand for the guaranteed on-target delivery, “it’s a lot,” she said. “If it weren’t that much, we would go with 100 percent [guaranteed delivery] at once.”
“Not everybody can guarantee 100 percent [on-target delivery] and still be competitive. Marketers today in the digital space have to really get savvy in tweaking those media strategies,” Kinser said.
Avocados From Mexico’s attempt to cut the fat in its digital ad spending has led to some shifts in where it spends its ad dollars online. Facebook has been able to deliver the brand’s ads to its target audience 96 percent of the time, said Kinser. “They’re the best by far, so we may cut other platforms in order to move more money to Facebook,” she said.
Conversely, native ads, such as the sponsored placements in content recommendation widgets appearing beneath publishers’ articles, do not hit the mark often enough. “We had to reduce native,” said Kinser. Avocados From Mexico continues to buy native ads, but it’s had to come up with ways to spread around its native ad investment to improve the accuracy of its ad delivery. “Let’s say a campaign has six different partners. We calculate the weight of each partner [based on their on-target delivery] so that when we calculate them together that should give us 70 percent on-target delivery,” she said.
Avocados From Mexico continues to invest in native advertising because, while the ads may not deliver the brand’s target audience, they do deliver a good amount of traffic to its site. “The click-through rate of native is second to none when it’s well done,” Kinser said. So Avocados From Mexico tries to offset any off-target native impressions with impressions from publishers and platforms that have first-party data. The brand has found that those publishers and platforms are able to most accurately deliver ads to its target audience.
“Facebook helps a lot because it’s always over 90 percent. So we throw in Facebook and balance partners like native that are good traffic drivers but have a lot of spillovers” by bringing in off-target audiences, Kinser said.
Avocados From Mexico isn’t worried about guaranteeing in-target delivery for everywhere it advertises online. Search advertising, for example, is not part of the guarantee push “because even if someone is not in the target, [by searching for a relevant term and clicking on the brand’s search ad] they are ready to take action with a product or service, so we want to be there,” said Kinser.
However, Avocados From Mexico doesn’t have the budget to always have its ads show up when people search for relevant terms, said Kinser. So the brand has started to test out how it can make sure its ads appear at the right times, like immediately after its commercial aired during this year’s Super Bowl. The brand hired ad tech firm Advocado to tweak its search ads to reach anyone who may have seen its Super Bowl ad during the game’s telecast and searched for relevant terms within two minutes of the ad’s airing. “If we can at least own [those search results] during that micro-moment when our spot is out, then that is worth it,” she said.
Advocado’s technology tags TV ads with a watermark in order to know when their air. Then it plugs into Google’s search advertising platform to find out how much it costs to be the top ad placement on search results pages for queries that incorporate hundreds of relevant keywords. With that information in hand, Advocado then places bids to buy out that inventory for the two minutes after the TV ad aired.
According to Advocado CEO Brian Handrigan, 52 percent of traffic to Avocados From Mexico’s site following the Super Bowl ad’s airing “can be explicitly tied to the keywords we pumped up during those two minutes.”