In the last several years, IP Targeting has become a staple for enrollment marketers and a fundamental part of integrated marketing plans for institutions nationwide. The benefit is undeniable: IP Targeting matches a physical mailing address to its IP address and delivers Display advertising directly into the home. With this, ads can reach all devices running off the home IP, enabling you to connect with all stakeholders in the home (think parents!). It also helps you unite your traditional marketing (direct mail and email) to digital marketing, allowing you to expand your reach and further optimize your list.
But not all IP Targeting technology and providers are created equal, and there are some important “buyer beware” distinctions to consider. So, if you are planning to try IP Targeting for the first time or are currently running campaigns, here are five questions to ask your vendor about the IP Targeting services they are offering.
1. Is your IP Targeting actually IP based, or is it based on cookie ID?
Why it matters: This is one of the most important questions you should ask for these reasons:
- Cookie-based targeting is only linked to a specific cookie on a specific browser on a specific device, which leads to massive duplication across devices and thus artificially inflates audience pools.
- On average, cookie match rates yield only around 30%–40% of the unique individualsin your audience. So even if a provider is reporting much higher match rates, if they are cookie based, beware—they include the same people being targeted by different cookies multiple times.
- Lastly, with a cookie-based ID, the unique user match rates are obscured by the matching process. This means you can’t get insight into what matched before or after the campaign has run. Knowing what matched is important if you want to reach non-matches via a different channel, like direct mail.
2. Where do you get your IP data?
Why it matters: You should work with someone who has compiled and linked their own universe of homes and business information. They should be able to produce counts for you of unique users and IP coverage in your target area. Optimally the audience they onboard should be refreshed weekly, and the coverage of unique users will gradually increase based on new locations and device usage of the target audience. Coverage of both consumer and business location data is important for targeting a user at the right time and place.
3. What is your match rate?
You should expect a match rate of 85% or greater.
Why it matters: If your provider can only match 50% or less of your list, the implication is clear: you are missing half the opportunity to connect with that intentional audience online. It also likely means they have a limited pool of actual locations and people to match to. They could simply be targeting a broad geography and then using Retargeting. Ask to see the match rates and understand the methodology they are using.
4. Can you report on who was matched and who was not?
Why it matters: A vendor should be able to let you know what portion of the list was matched to allow you to reach out to the non-matched portion potentially in a different way.
5. Can you build a custom audience?
Why it matters: IP Targeting is a powerful tool, and if you are working with the right partner, they should be able to leverage their internal proprietary/owned data to supplement your data and third-party sources to create the most robust custom audience possible for you. We feel good with our 750+ consumer variables and over 130+million households available to help match and find your audience.
Whether you are about to execute your first IP campaign or your 20th, take a minute to ask these critical questions and carefully evaluate the answers you get to ultimately ensure success for your IP Targeting campaign.
Questions? Feel free to reach out!