Marketing optimization service provider Coremetrics recently released upgrades to what company executives are calling its key applications: Search 7, for pay-per-click marketing; Intelligent Offer 4, for product recommendations; and LiveMail 3, an application for automated email marketing management. The company didn't stop there -- between those launches, the vendor also released AdTarget, an application that allows marketers to tap into ad networks and analyze the behavior of Web-site visitors to enhance the relevancy of online display ads. All of these applications are integrated into the Coremetrics Continuous Optimization Platform (CCOP).
With the release of AdTarget, Coremetrics says its clients now have access to syndicated Web-visitor data across advertising networks, allowing users to manage and even extend their reach within a single, drag-and-drop interface. The networks Coremetrics has partnered with include advertising solution providers AudienceScience, Choicestream, Dotomoi, OpenX, and [X+1] -- all of which are now Coremetrics Connect certified partners. AdTarget also frees Coremetrics users from having to create ad-network tags throughout their Web sites; Coremetrics analytics tags that already exist will be optimized for this functionality.
"Companies are starting to say that [they need] more than reports and analytics," says John Squire, chief strategy officer at Coremetrics. "[They want] to take action." As companies shift more toward customer-centric marketing, Squire adds, reliance on Web analytics has steadily increased.
"The big challenge in delivering advertisements and targeted email is relevance," says Bill Gassman, a Gartner research director. Constantly bombarded by ads and marketing messages, both on- and offline, customers are more inclined to respond to those that are timely and relevant, he notes.
AdTarget, Gassman says, "improves [Coremetrics'] granularity of segmentation...and makes it easier to integrate with advertisement publishers and targeted-email packages." In addition to high-level dashboarding and reporting, the solution also tracks the relative success of a given display ad, including clickthrough and viewthrough Web-site conversions. This performance data can then be integrated into the entire marketing mix to provide what Coremetrics refers to as a "comprehensive, cross-session, multichannel view."
Users of AdTarget can customize segmentation to capture specific events across multiple networks, which then trigger the delivery of an appropriate display advertisement. Event-triggered functionality of this nature, Gassman notes, not only "eliminates the latency of batch-segmentation list downloads," but also aims for top-of-mind relevancy with near-real-time responses.
The CCOP centers around Coremetrics' Lifetime Individual Visitor Experience (LIVE) Profile, a database that aggregates a given customer's browsing behavior to incrementally develop a more-robust profile of that customer. The LIVE Profile is then used to deliver personalized campaigns through channels such as display advertising, paid search, or email.
Still, according to Gassman, owning CCOP -- or any ad-targeting platform -- is only half the battle. The Gartner analyst warns that many companies have struggled to make sense of the results produced by ad-targeting solutions and functions. Segmentation may be a laudable goal, he says, but many marketers don't even know how to define those segments, let alone determine which marketing campaign is best-suited for which group. In general, he says, providers of Web analytics solutions deliver more bells and whistles than the average marketer can ever hope to take advantage of.
Education, then, may be the biggest hurdle -- but those who do master the technology, Gassman says, may be very glad they did.
"As the economy changes over the next few years," he says, "those who exploit Web analytics the best will outperform similar peers who do not."
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