AdMedia’s Jeff Alderman On True Contextual Advertising And The Opportunity To Diversify Marketing Investments
Jeff Alderman and his team help brands fight David vs. Goliath-style battles every day. The difference, he says, is that the giant is often named Google.
As the SVP of Sales & Marketing at AdMedia, Alderman provides clients with a range of performance-based media services that connect advertisers to consumers in an omnichannel manner. This includes PPC, search, shopping, native, contextual, mobile, video, and email. In doing so, he is trying to help brands diversify their investments beyond Google and Facebook to ensure media saturation doesn’t have an adverse effect on ROI.
Part of AdMedia’s success is having such a long track record. Whereas many ad tech startups first launched less than a decade ago, AdMedia’s history stretches back more than 20 years when Danny Bibi founded it. That not only means the company’s tech stack is built on a solid foundation but that the team has the depth of expertise necessary to tackle complex problems.
“It’s pretty fun when you look to the left and look to the right, and your senior executive team that has 15 years experience on average,” Alderman told Brand Innovators. “Danny was the architect across a lot of our products, which means we have our own proprietary technologies and are not dependent on anyone else’s. That’s how we’ve been able to build a lot of really cool patented technologies that agile marketing teams can pick up and scale at any point in time.”
In September, for example, AdMedia launched Contextual.com, which uses proprietary algorithms to determine the most likely pool of individual buyers based on high-value user shopping interest signals. These could include search terms, contextual mapping, or behavioral activity. AdMedia can then place specifically targeted ads personalized for customers at the ideal moment. AdMedia says this will increase conversion rates, revenue, demand generation, and overall return on investment.
As Alderman pointed out, AdMedia is coming out at a time when many marketers are still worried about the demise of the third-party cookie, despite Google moving the deadline back to the year after next.
“2023 is coming, whether people are ready or not,” he said. “It’s just a matter of what are you going to do about it? We want to be very upbeat about the change because we’re well armed and helping our clients be ready for when the change happens.”
Alderman offered some additional tips on how brands could set themselves up for greater success in 2022:
Don’t Take ‘Contextual’ Claims At Face Value
Alderman has noticed everyone from service providers to other adtech firms suddenly branded as contextual players. He advised CMOs to dig deeper into what “contextual” really means before forming any partnerships. At AdMedia, for example, the company couples a crawler technology with more than 225 data points to improve targeting capabilities.
“We can actually go after who the top-performing audiences are, but also identify the lookalikes against those people,” he said. “We can also suppress existing customers if that’s needed, as well. So we’re truly incremental and net new.”
Brands Should Feel Empowered, Not Afraid, To Diversify Their Investments
Some marketers are looking beyond Google and Facebook over concerns around brand safety. Others are concerned about the transparency in how those platforms handle data. And still, others are responding to what Alderman calls the cost of inflation for the marketing spend. The problem, of course, is that the pandemic made making any moves feel even more perilous. AdMedia dealt with that in an unexpected way.
“During COVID, we actually threw out our monthly minimum as a company,” he said. “We wanted to remove that risk for brands. So that therefore we could do a proof of concept with the brands so they could test with confidence, and we could have enough data to do that.” Since then, he said, AdMedia has been beating out the Googles and Facebooks of the world in campaigns the vast majority of the time.
Focus On The Experience And The Outcome, Not Just The Channel
Should CMOs focus on marketing to consumers through social media? Should they be making plans for how they’re going to function in the “metaverse,” whatever that means? To Alderman, these aren’t necessarily the right questions to be asking. Instead, he suggested that marketing leaders focus on how consumers behave that will remain constant and adapt their strategies accordingly.
“It’s no longer about just about doing a search on a search engine and then finding out through a million pages what to buy and who to buy from. Now, sometimes we just say that search query out loud, and the newest device picks it up from somewhere around the room,” he said. “It might be a phone, a laptop, or another device, but we always expect the same thing: immediate, relevant results. That’s not going away, and that’s not gonna slow down anytime soon.”
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