American Marketer


Finding in-market affluence

March 5, 2013

Tom O’Regan is chief revenue officer of Martini Media


By Tom O’Regan

As more opportunities emerge for brands to reach affluent audiences online, the choices of where and what to buy can become overwhelming: mobile, social, niche networks and a thousand ad units from which to choose, such as text and rich media.

Many ad networks and audience targeting platforms claim to reach in-market luxury shoppers, but how can you ensure your message will be there when purchase decisions are made?

Targeting is the key, and not many of the networks claiming to reach affluent consumers are actually doing it well.

Screen seen
To successfully reach these desirable shoppers, marketers must cross all screens.

A successful executive is probably on her mobile phone and in meetings more often than she is at her desk.

Retirees may be on the golf course or in a boutique, and younger affluent consumers might be on three screens at once.

So an online buy that is limited to the desktop-based Internet is only going to have limited reach.

Recent Pew research revealed that more than 60 percent of tablet and smartphone users earn more than $75,000 a year, proof positive that mobile is a great way to reach wealthier audiences.

Furthermore, since the content-to-ad ratio is still low in the mobile space, prices are lower compared to the desktop, share of voice is comparatively high, and high-impact, rich media ad units are becoming increasingly available on top mobile sites.

Truth to powwow
Mobile is a great way to reach luxury audiences, and it is also a great way to reach in-market shoppers.

Market researcher ForeSee found that 65 percent of luxury shoppers visit high-end retail Web sites via mobile devices.

Showrooming also supports this finding: Luxury items and consumer electronics are among the top items shopped in-store and purchased online.

Younger affluent consumers rely on their mobile devices when they are in-market.

To have an impact, it is key to place your brand at that decision point. There are growing opportunities in online shopper media that could put your product in a prospect’s path at that “First Moment of Truth.”

However, it is critical to reach shoppers before that moment to ensure that your product is in their consideration set before they ever set foot in a store.

The best way to do that is to make sure your brand is present at the awareness and consideration phases of the shopping cycle.

Top shop
Shoppers begin product research weeks to months in advance – even longer in categories such as travel and automotive. They engage in research activities including reading product reviews and manufacturer information online and gathering research from five to 12 sources before making their purchase.

To reach them early in the process, consider all the places that prospects might go to learn about your particular product category.

Whether it is Golf Digest or Cook’s Illustrated, invest in media on sites where your product is likely to resonate.

Often, a great place to start is deep within a niche, so you are targeting passionate audiences.

Selling ornate brass hardware? Victoria might be better place to start than a home improvement site.

High-end waterproof sports watches? Consider or, so you are reaching passion-driven audiences who may not have considered your product before, but are likely to really want it once they see it.

It is also critically important, as you plan your media purchase, that you select only high-quality environments.

Star struck
Context, in terms of both relevance and quality, is as important as the message itself as you purchase ad space, particularly in the luxury market.

Demand content of high editorial quality, and confirm that your ad is prominent and viewable. You are likely to be judged by the company you keep.

Once you have selected publishers, consider rich media over static formats as you create your campaign.

Rich media drives dramatically higher engagement rates – double-digits in many categories.

Moreover, because of its interactive nature, rich media becomes more experiential: a video tour of a Jaguar, a slideshow of rooms at a Caribbean resort.

We tout the Interactive Advertising Bureau Rising Star units frequently because they give advertisers access to this type of impactful ad in an oversized format that commands attention.

For the best possible results, embed high-impact ad units with premium content.

Recent research from MOAT has shown engagement to be four times better when relevant, high-quality content resides within an ad.

These ads may cost more in terms of production, but rich media ads are worth the investment.

FINDING IN-MARKET affluence takes some doing.

If you are devoting so much time, energy and budget to be in the right place at the right time, is it not worth it to have the right ad unit, too?

Tom O’Regan is president and chief revenue officer of Martini Media, New York. Reach him at tom.o'