People-based Advertising: The Next Chapter for Digital Media

March 13, 2016

Let’s face it. Digital advertising is at a crossroads. Marketers who hope to reach today’s fast-moving, always on consumers must be equipped with the right tools and strategies to reach them across multiple devices and channels and serve relevant ads efficiently.

The fact of the matter is that despite rapidly growing digital advertising budgets, consumers are fed up with receiving too many ads, most of which aren’t actually meaningful to their individual shopper journeys.

This is a striking reality in Australia: The International Advertising Bureau just released data that showed overall digital marketing spend in the country in 2015 reached $5.9 billion (AUD). However, Australian marketers risk wasting their ad dollars on fraudulent clicks – or on messages that aren’t relevant to the consumers who see them. In fact, 82 percent of Australians prefer tailored ads, which means businesses must overcome the challenge of changing consumer expectations through more precise targeting that recognizes individuals rather than cookies.

Scaling Addressability is Key

Addressable media, otherwise known as people-based advertising, is the key to tackling these challenges, and a new approach to marketing that will completely reshape the way brands connect with customers. This is perhaps the most important thing I learned when I was at Silverpop, where I realized the value of leveraging first-party data for one-to-one engagement with consumers through email marketing.

This exact type of meaningful, targeted interaction is why email marketing remains relevant today: With a projected 3 billion email users worldwide by 2020 and high performance levels (such as click-through rates of 10-15 percent), marketers are unlikely to turn away from this direct-response channel anytime soon. But email can only go so far, because eventually, another email will be one too many emails.

The good news is that brands have deep, rich data from their existing customers, or they can access it through trusted loyalty or retail partners. Today, brands are leveraging customer data using people-based advertising techniques within walled gardens such as Facebook.

But advertisers yearn to expand this new approach beyond the confines of those social networks.  So how can they extend this addressability – the ability to reach real, known customers, rather than cookies, with the right message at the right moment – across digital display, mobile, video and social advertising – and to all the places on the Internet where their customers are consuming content?

Signal has launched Australia's first independent people-based advertising solution.
Signal has launched Australia’s first independent people-based advertising solution.

I began to answer this question as the Head of Digital Operations for flybuys at Coles, when I started one of the world’s first in-house programmatic advertising solutions that focused on addressing real people on a one-to-one basis. Through this platform, we were able to engage in more meaningful ways with Coles flybuys customers across all media channels using the first-party data we already had available to us.

Paving the Way for People-Based Advertising

Last week,  Signal launched Australia’s first independent, people-based advertising solution, with Coles and flybuys as foundational clients. Through our open platform, advertisers now have the ability to extend the power of addressability beyond email into the world of digital media, and wherever their customers are online. I’ve seen firsthand the benefit of a brand applying that same precise, personalized targeting to display, mobile, social and video advertising, and I look forward to helping Signal bring these same capabilities to a larger audience through this technology.

Rather than wasting money targeting cookies and unidentifiable audiences, marketers are now able to tie their advertising to real people, targeting customers they already know with tailored messages about offerings they are most likely to buy. In my perspective, this marks a remarkable change to the world of advertising that benefits both brands and consumers.

This is an exciting time to work in the ad tech world, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to help Signal pave the way for people-based advertising in Australia and to work with advertisers to increase conversions, gain more loyal customers and ultimately, increase ROAS.



Michael Twomey

Michael is a thought leader and innovator in digital advertising who has extensive experience in direct and loyalty marketing. As Signal’s former SVP and Managing Director of People-Based Marketing, he oversees the company’s addressable media solution and helps clients improve the reach and performance of their digital media efforts.

Subscribe for Updates