Alex and Ani CMO: Insights on Mobile Social Audience Targeting - eMarketer
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Alex and Ani CMO: Insights on Mobile Social Audience Targeting

June 3, 2015


Ryan Bonifacino
CMO and Senior Vice President, Digital
Alex and Ani

In the past year, advancements have been made in mobile targeting to help marketers better reach their audience. Ryan Bonifacino, CMO and senior vice president of digital at jewelry retailer Alex and Ani, recently spoke with eMarketer’s Rimma Kats about the advantages of mobile audience targeting and the pitfalls marketers should avoid.

eMarketer: When you’re interested in reaching specific audience segments on smartphones and tablets, which mobile ad inventory source do you find to be most reliable?

Ryan Bonifacino: If I were to get granular, it would have to be more of a paid social effort, like Facebook or Twitter.

eMarketer: What technology or capabilities make these publishers stand above the rest?

Bonifacino: On Facebook you are able to use management tools. We use a tool called Kenshoo, and there’s a bunch of other tools out there that are able to give brand visibility into the relationship between things like search and social specific to mobile.

eMarketer: What were you doing a year ago to target audiences on mobile with Facebook and Twitter that you’re no longer doing?

Bonifacino: We were probably doing the same things, but we have additional insights and analytics now. We have additional third-party data being [integrated] into our data management platform. That data brings a lot more insights in our strategy and what we’re willing to pay for that customer specific to that device.

“It’s really difficult to target audiences on Facebook or Twiiter the right way if you don’t have your data centralized in one place.”

eMarketer: Are there any pitfalls to avoid with audience targeting on Facebook or Twitter?

Bonifacino: Tons. It’s really difficult to target audiences on Facebook or Twitter the right way if you don’t have your data centralized in one place. A big piece of advice is to start with a data centralization strategy that runs in parallel to your audience targeting efforts.

eMarketer: Do you use a data management platform to help target ads to specific audience segments on mobile?

Bonifacino: We do. We wouldn’t be close to where we are right now if we didn’t have a DMP. We would have all sorts of the data sit with separate systems that don’t talk to one another, and this goes back to the strategy behind centralizing data. It’s absolutely critical for us to be able to get significant and measurable gain with mobile audience targeting, given the use of the DMP.

eMarketer: What data are you leveraging most from your DMP to target audiences?

Bonifacino: Our own data. We have it all in one place and are able to do natural matching on the records that we have, and then enhanced matching based on the third-party data that we’re bringing into the system.

eMarketer: Have you leveraged location data as a means of defining and targeting audience segments?

Bonifacino: We have, particularly when it comes to our in-store digital marketing efforts. We run campaigns that are pushing both new and existing customers to stores. Those are not necessarily the coupon-type campaigns; they’re more content-driven. We’re making sure that our current group of gift givers and direct purchasers have constant visibility into new products that we’re launching.

Like any successful digital marketing effort, you’re going to have some failures. It’s important to make sure you’re testing the right way and providing an optimized experience.

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