Marketers still struggle to value actions-to-outcomes appropriately, which leads to poorly guided campaign execution and performance measurement. Take for example the long-debated “click.”
Many marketers deem clicks a proxy for interest and intent to engage with the ad/brand. But there’s a major flaw with this approach: not all clicks are created equal. Only a portion of clicks truly indicate user interest and/or intent, and those are human clicks that were made with intention. The remaining clicks (i.e. bots and accidental clicks or finger slips) simply bloat click volume, skew modeling and CTRs, and generally misrepresent ad performance and user value.
To overcome this, marketers need to identify users who clicked with intention, target or retarget those users, and suppress the other users (i.e. those who would have clicked without intention). It sounds relatively simple at face value, but there’s good reason this best-practice method isn’t commonplace within the industry (yet). Keep in mind that all programmatic processes like these must happen within a fraction of a millisecond, and this method is rooted in calculating intent, which requires sophisticated data science backed by powerful engineering and technology.
There’s only one way the industry will move beyond the flawed click model (for the foreseeable future). If marketers want to focus efforts on high-value clicks, they must embrace advancements in data science and artificial intelligence. It’s not a path than man can walk alone.
An AI platform can tackle the click problem head-on. It values and targets (or suppresses) each person by modeling post-click behavior and other relevant signals to understand the intent of each click, quantify its value, and score the user’s propensity to take action or convert. This predictive intelligence enables marketers to target users with true interest and intent, suppress individuals of little or no value, and continuously optimize bidding towards high-value outcomes.
It sounds complicated because it is complicated. But the beauty of AI is that marketers can rely on its brainpower and super-human proficiency to tackle the intricate mathematical and technological work. Marketers need only understand the theory and business application to set the strategy so the machine can deliver intended results.
Understanding the value of a click improves an AI’s ability to value marketing opportunities. Click valuation bolsters the predictive precision of an AI’s propensity scores, which are used to forecast the value of each ad impression during the bidding process. If the impression is valuable, AI determines the right price to pay for it based on the value to the advertiser (i.e. anticipated return and alignment to marketing objectives and budget). If the impression is not valuable, no money will be wasted chasing low-value opportunities.
Accounting for click valuation within propensity scoring improves forecasting, and thus the efficacy and efficiency of the value-based buying model.
AI understands click behavior in context of all other attributes collected for each user profile, like online behavior, purchase activity, and contextual factors. Together, this information is highly indicative of funnel stage, and can be used to better direct branding efforts. AI can determine how to best refine tactics at the individual level so marketers can engage each person in a meaningful way to move them down the funnel.
Let’s say an AI platform identifies a person that typically clicks, visits the site, and abandons after visiting 1 page. It can then identify the opportunity to reduce drop-off between actions and/or page views. In turn, it will identify marketing opportunities that influence the person to engage further and grow their visitation to 2+ page views.
A user doesn’t have to click for an AI platform to optimize ad delivery based on click behavior. Click behavior and valuation can be used for prospecting, even if an AI has never “seen” the person before. New users are valued based on its predictive look-a-like models, so it can create a strong hypothesis about the likelihood that a new user will click, or click and take further action (and to what degree). Once the user is engaged, the AI can leverage performance data alongside profile data to build-in new information about the user, and optimize accordingly to foster engagement with the advertiser’s brand.
Because click behavior is such a strong indicator of intent, AI can use it to predict immediate, in-market opportunities. It’s ability to learn quickly and conduct in-flight modeling enables marketers to quickly take advantage of the right opportunities (and leave non-valuable opportunities on the table). Without an AI platform, marketers would have to wait to see hundreds and thousands of activities and conversions before taking action. And by that time, it’s probably too late to act on the opportunity.
Exciting things are happening at Magnetic. Soon, our clients will be on the forefront of this journey, and realize the true value of a “click.” Our AI platform will advance their strategies beyond antiquated click models to achieve smarter, faster marketing.
We will help our clients strike the perfect balance between marketer and machine, and realize the true meaning of “efficient.” Stay tuned!
Magnetic is a digital marketing and artificial intelligence company. We use machine learning and AI to deliver smarter, faster, and more effective advertising. Our powerful AI platform continuously analyzes the attributes of 320 million live user profiles alongside real-time inventory supply and bid opportunities to deliver highly performant and profitable campaigns for our clients.