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How To Cure Consumer Mistargeting

By Michael Olson | Posted on May 23, 2013

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As marketing practitioners in the digital age, we’re facing a stark reality – 98% of people receive information and offers that are simply not relevant from brands. This type of mistargeting has manifested itself in interesting and often humorous ways. Solve Media and HubSpot, for example, have facetiously pointed out that people are more likely to climb Mt. Everest than click on a display ad. Ouch!

That isn’t a statistic on which most digital marketers would like to hang their hat. Just for the sake of comparison, how long would an NFL kicker stick around if he missed 98% of his field goal attempts? How about an attorney who loses 98% of her or his cases? It doesn’t require an advanced degree to figure out that a physician who misdiagnoses patients 98% of the time will probably earn a one-way ticket to the Island of Misfit Doctors.

As marketers, we can and simply must do better. One common reason why brands miss the mark is because, often times, consumers visiting their website are anonymous. Some brands have set up sophisticated targeting methods based on a user’s IP address and website behavior, but that information will only get you so far. It doesn’t tell you who that visitor truly is, nor does it provide information such as a name, verified email, confirmed location, gender, date of birth, interests or hobbies.

Why Registered Users Are More Valuable Than Anonymous Site Visitors

It’s difficult to target potential customers without first understanding who they are. A person’s identity, as discovered online through a registration process, is the foundation for effective customer engagement. Just how valuable is a registered user on your site? Research tells us that registered users:

How Social Login Improves Customer Acquisition

Now we know that registration is paramount for brands seeking to acquire users and customers online. But most site visitors remain averse to the process. Research shows that 86% of consumers may abandon a site when asked to register by filling out a traditional form from scratch. Why? None of us enjoy entering a bunch of redundant information about ourselves on a form. Nor do we delight in remembering yet another username and password combination for each website that we frequently visit.

Social login solves this challenge. It enables consumers to quickly and securely register and log in to sites using an existing identity from networks such as Facebook, Google, Twitter and LinkedIn, while eliminating the need to remember yet another site-specific password. And 77% of consumers prefer social login to traditional registration, making it a win-win both for digital marketers and consumers.

What benefits do companies experience after deploying social login on their websites? Read on for a sampling of results:

How User Profile Data Closes The Targeting Loop

If we assume that a lack of deep customer insight is the primary cause of mistargeting, then getting people to register and provide personal information is the cure. As evidenced, social login plays a large role in improving user acquisition. Now that you’re signing up new users and collecting user data, the question becomes – how do you utilize it to better market to your audience?

In an era characterized by short attentions spans and fierce competition for consumer mindshare, your marketing needs to reach the right customer at the right time with the right message. Developing a true understanding of an online consumer makes this possible.

Social login provides permission-based access to a rich set of demographics (age, gender, location, relationship status, political and religious views, etc.), declared interests and friends – in other words, the information that people maintain on their social profiles. Leveraging this profile data within your online marketing initiatives can dramatically improve results. Let’s take a look at a few example results:

Content Personalization and Product Recommendations

  • Personalized product recommendations lead to a 30% increase in purchase conversion rates and a 10% increase in average order value for a sporting goods retailer
  • Personalized product recommendations lead to a 79% increase in purchase conversion rates and a 25% increase in net revenue for an apparel retailer
  • Personalized content based on location demographics results in a 100% increase in conversion rate, a 100% increase in revenue and a 167% increase in new customer acquisition

content personalization

Email Segmentation

email targeting


ad targeting

Many digital marketers know that they can do a better job of micro-targeting consumers with content and offers that are more relevant. For a long time, their ability to effectively segment online audiences was constrained by immature technology and insufficient access to reliable, accurate consumer data. That paradigm has now changed. With the emergence of technologies such as social login to acquire registered users online and solutions to store and activate rich user profile data from social networks, the cure for mistargeting is at our fingertips.

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About the author

Michael Olson

Michael Olson

Senior Product Marketing Manager

Michael Olson joined Janrain more than five and a half years ago and has experienced the explosive growth of the digital marketing technology landscape. Previously, he managed demand generation programs at Janrain. Currently, as the Senior Product Marketing Manager, Michael drives go-to-market strategy for product launches as well as positioning and messaging to communicate the value of customer profile management solutions to companies. Michael's writing has been featured in publications such as GigaOM, Adotas and iMedia Connection.

View all posts by Michael Olson