WhitePages to Offer In-Market Audience Data on eXelate’s Private Exchange

You're not just a face in the crowd - we know what you're searching for, and are making ads more relevant to you.

I’m excited to share that today we announced our new partnership with eXelate, an audience data exchange service. Using eXelate’s teXi:PM technology platform will be able to give premium advertisers access to our valuable anonymous audience segments (such as people who recently searched for an auto dealership) for their banner ad campaigns across the Internet, while still protecting our individual audience members’ privacy.

WhitePages is in a unique position in the online advertising marketplace – our contextual display ad offering is anchored in our users’ relevant business searches, which is a different proposition from the typical media property (like the New York Times or ESPN who sell advertising around specific content areas). There’s an enormous amount of consumer intent being conveyed on WhitePages when a person searches for Wal-mart versus reading about Wal-mart on the New York Times. Reaching our searchers when they do their search, as well as in later WhitePages sessions, is extremely useful for conquest ad targeting as well as contextual upsell and customer relationship management.

You're not just a face in the crowd - we know what you're searching for, and are making ads more relevant to you.

Because WhitePages is so different from typical online ad supported publishers we’ve known for a long time that we needed to truly understand our audience’s search behaviors and harness their explicit purchase intent for our advertisers by offering anonymous (aggregated) behavioral ad targeting to these users. In turn, we are able to deliver more relevant ads to our users. Offering access to these audience segments off of WhitePages is a natural extension of our investment in behavioral targeting capabilities as long as we can control the transaction, which eXelate allows us to do. As well, our existing advertisers will now be able to increase their reach to their target audience segments off of WhitePages.com – increasing their message frequency or retargeting particular, granular search behaviors.

At first, our primary goal is to provide advertisers access to our search-derived segments that we know have longer shelf lives, such as car shoppers or movers, since we are in test mode and we’re not sure how well shorter term search behaviors will perform for advertisers (e.g., grocery store lookups).

We know that real-time contextual targeting, and behavioral targeting upon return to our site, works for our advertisers in large part because of our audience composition and mindset. We’re just excited to learn more about how these segments respond when they are targeted off of WhitePages’ site. Could it be that a campaign targeted to our ‘new movers’ segment will work just as well when the person who searched for a moving company on WhitePages earlier that day is lounging around reading Slate.com? It’s possible, and we’re excited to see what happens.

Another advantage of the eXelate platform is that advertisers will be able to bundle the WhitePages proprietary audience segments with a multitude of audience segments from eXelate’s other data providers.

Most importantly, WhitePages searches are actual people who have performed business searches so they could go buy something – which we’ve always known was valuable to marketers and is impossible for a typical media property or search engine to replicate. We’re very excited about this new offering.

For more details regarding our partnership with eXelate and for more information on private marketplace data accessibility, please read AdWeek’s article from today.

Congratulations to Minneapolis’ interactive advertising industry group i612! Your recent “Going Mobile” event was a huge success.

i612

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of being one of three panelists discussing mobile marketing at an i612 event in Minneapolis, MN. Our host and panel moderator was Brian Broveleit, founder of i612, VP Digital Strategist at MRM Worldwide, and a strong advocate of the mobile Web and mobile apps as platforms for effective advertising. My co-panelists were John Hadl, Managing Partner and Founder of Brand in Hand (a mobile advertising agency) and Rob Sprungman, Director of Midwest Sales for AdMob (a mobile ad network recently acquired by Google).

The panel and the networking cocktails were fun, entertaining, and hopefully truly useful to the over 100 attendees who came out. Well before the official Q&A portion began (post panel discussion) people in the audience were shouting questions— a great sign that they were engaged from start to finish.

In preparing for the panel Brian let me know that the event attendees, on the whole, weren’t buying a lot of mobile media yet, so this panel was really designed to help dispel some of the myths of mobile marketing’s complexity and help people understand, from a practical standpoint, what they need to do now to test this new, exciting environment for their brands or clients.

 Here are some of the points that were raised on the panel:

  • REACH: The mobile Web and mobile apps provide a high reach, scalable environment for direct and awareness-generating marketing. For example, AdMob’s network reaches over 65 million unique users in the US every month.
  • TRACKING: While ad serving and tracking isn’t quite yet on par with traditional Web technologies, you can track unique reach/frequency cap, impressions served, click-thru-rate, and many types of conversions – especially those that are endemic to the mobile environment such as app downloads, consumer cellphone number acquisition, and store location lookups. It is also possible to run campaign impact surveys in the mobile environment, which can provide powerful insights especially if your campaign is running cross platform (Web, mobile Web, and mobile apps).
  • CAMPAIGN STRATEGY: Brand in Hand’s John Hadl told the audience that any mobile strategy needs to start with your brand’s target consumer – who is she? Does he use a smartphone? If so, when and where and why? From there, you design a mobile strategy. If your target consumer isn’t consuming mobile media, you may want to wait a bit before investing.I added to John’s “start with the consumer” approach by offering a complementary “media-centric” method. When designing a mobile campaign, you do need to know your consumer, but you also need to think carefully about the specific mobile property you decide to run on and craft a campaign with that in mind. In the mobile environment, more so than on regular Web sites, the advertising is very noticeable. If your campaign doesn’t consider the user’s mindset at that moment and provide value, the campaign hasn’t taken advantage of the platform properly. For example, if you’re running on a utility site like WhitePages, you will want to make sure your campaign provides some immediate, relevant utility within the mobile environment—and you should know that all large mobile publishers are willing and will help you build that utility into your campaign. For example, most of WhitePages’ recent top performing mobile campaigns let users find stores/hotels/dealerships near them (GPS or zip code enabled) or provides easy access to coupons or other promotional information. If you’re running on a news or entertainment site you might consider testing a sponsorship model around relevant content with a cool brand integration or rich media opportunity. The same consumers use Pandora and WhitePages, but they are definitely in different mindsets.
  • GETTING STARTED: Don’t hesitate to test mobile. Right now is a great time to reach out to mobile publishers and ad networks (both of whom have real insights re best practices) to help you build your campaign strategy, creative (approach and banner ad re-sizing) and functional mobile landing pages (custom, for your specific campaign). I know WhitePages is eager to work with more leading brands to develop mobile campaign case studies—we’ll even include a brand impact study as part of the media buy (as well as all of our ad creative and landing page development services – all bundled in to the deal).
  • NEXT STEPS: Have a great mobile campaign idea? Let me know and I’ll work to get you into the WhitePages mobile case study program asap. Whatever you do, don’t wait to learn more about mobile marketing!

Comments? imichelsen@whitepages.com or http://twitter.com/ingridmichelsen

WhitePages and Pandora Partner Up

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Along with fellow mobile application leader Pandora and mobile marketing pros from our ad agency partners MediaVest and Ignited, WhitePages’ VP Mobile & Monetization, Kevin Nakao, co-presented a wide-ranging series of mobile app and in-app advertising case studies in a “Master Class” session at this week’s iMedia Agency Summit in Scottsdale, AZ.

This master class, held the afternoon of the first day, was a complex team effort, bringing four co-presenters (and four case studies) together in one information-packed hourlong session.

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Brand Building: Making Money on WhitePages' Website

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Note: This post is the 8th in a series on Brand Building that highlights the approach that WhitePages has taken over the past 15 months to build and reposition its brand.

The following post was written by Ingrid Michelsen who is our Director of Advertising Strategy at WhitePages.  She’s been working tirelessly to ensure that all of our site changes enhance or at least don’t negatively impact how we generate revenue on thie site.  More information in the post below. Enjoy!

As WhitePages’ Director of Advertising Strategy and one of the ad sales department’s representatives on our internal Branding Committee, the company’s rebrand initiative posed a number of questions regarding how to stand for our new brand principles with 100% integrity for our site users, while also maintaining our advertising revenue streams (which, in turn, keep our service entirely free). A clean, user-friendly site isn’t necessarily at odds with advertising, but we were most likely going to need to make short term financial trade-offs in the hope that we would be able to drive long term customer loyalty and real marketplace differentiation—the best advantage an ad sales organization can have.

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Behavioral Targeting Really Isn’t Evil

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Ingrid Michelsen is WhitePages’ Dir, Advertising Strategy overseeing our search-derived behavioral targeting solutions, sales strategy, emerging technologies, rich media custom solutions and industry outreach.

Like many others in the online advertising industry I took a keen interest in Google’s announcement last month that they’re going to give users “transparency, choice and control” over their search and browsing behavior profiles—a very appealing message to privacy-sensitive consumers and legislators.

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