How Forbes Is Using Predictive Analytics to Refine Ad Targeting & Creative
In May Forbes announced a major partnership with 6sense, a predictive analytics platform for B2B marketing. The goal of the partnership is to provide deeper insights to B2B advertisers about prospects viewing their ads on Forbes and identify what stage of the buying process those prospects are in. Forbes will offer advertisers targeted media programs, including display, programmatic, and native ads that are aligned to the predicted buying stages 6sense identifies. Forbes announced that Dell will be the first B2B client to participate in the predictive-powered media program.
Forbes Media chief revenue officer Mark Howard explains that this layer of predictive analytics provides “a level of visibility into the target audience that had not previously been accessible.” Howard sees this technology not only influencing display ad placement and creative, but also the content within native advertising campaigns.
Howard anticipates that advertisers will gain the most value from the insights gained from Forbes native platform BrandVoice, where advertisers are able to publish content directly to the Forbes website. Forbes can send reader engagement data from these native campaigns back to 6sense to further refine its predictive capabilities. “This ‘round trip’ is what will give customers the deepest level of insights and what we believe will continue to grow our revenue through the 6sense partnership,” says Howard.
Following Howard explains how 6sense uses predictive analytics to identify prospects and shares how he thinks predictive analytics technology will impact the future of the industry.
What sparked Forbes' partnership with 6sense?
Forbes is always looking for partners that will allow us to offer our advertisers a unique buying experience and an opportunity to maximize their investment on Forbes. Many of our B2B clients have already invested in 6sense because they understand value of predictive analytics, so the chance to leverage that on a media plan that results in highly targeted online engagements and quantifiable results was something we knew our advertisers would be interested in.
What new lead generation capabilities does 6sense technology offer Forbes advertisers?
With 6sense’s predictive intelligence platform, we are able to identify prospects within our B2B clients’ buying cycles and deliver to them media across Forbes.com that is perfectly aligned with their buying stage and product interest. Reaching the right audience is key to any marketer, and the 6sense-Forbes partnership offers a dynamic solution to delivering a relevant message that drives real results at every stage of the purchasing process.
Are there other ways that this technology can be utilized for advertisers?
Absolutely -- we see the partnership with 6sense as continuing to evolve into one that informs not only our display media programs but additionally for BrandVoice, Forbes’ thought leadership marketing platform. 6sense allows predictive signals to influence the native ad placements as well as the actual content creation. Marketers will be able to ensure the right content reaches the right audience at the right moment, allowing for both display and native campaigns that reduce waste and optimize ROI.
How does Forbes partnership with 6sense influence Forbes' overall advertising strategy?
We are able to leverage the 6sense partnership across our display, programmatic, and native business -- key pieces in our overall monetization strategy. For display and programmatic, we are able to create targetable segments from the buying stage and product level insights that 6sense collects via an advertiser’s first party internal data. That data is fueled by the advertisers’ web analytics, marketing automation, and CRM.
Our BrandVoice program, which has grown immensely over the past year, allows advertisers to publish their own content directly on our site, and we can pass this content consumption back to the 6sense platform to inform the analytics that were initially used to create the segments. This “round trip” is what will give customers the deepest level of insights.
Was new talent or technology required at Forbes to put predictive analytics to work for its advertisers?
Predictive analytics and intelligence is another step forward for the industry, one that places importance on providing visibility to advertisers and an end-to-end solution that consists not only of executing a media plan, but also of offering deep insights into the results of that plan. For years, Forbes has been investing in our analytics and operations teams in anticipation of a new set of skills emerging for digital media players that prioritizes data analysis and an understanding of complex technologies. By adding more resources in these areas, we’re able to navigate a highly dynamic industry and constantly evaluate and onboard technologies that keep us ahead of the curve.
Have other advertisers in addition to Dell signed up for this service or expressed interest in using it?
Yes. B2B advertisers are thrilled for the opportunity to utilize their already existing relationship with 6sense to execute more precise media programs across a premium publisher like Forbes. Marketers are recognizing this as a first of its kind experience and an end-to-end solution to reaching people in their buying cycles with the content or advertisement that aligns with their exact product interest. Many of the advertisers we work with are looking for this kind of personalization.
How do you envision this partnership evolving over the next two years?
The industry evolves quickly, and the partnership with 6sense no doubt will too. Predictive intelligence will continue to become more prevalent amongst marketers, and will continue to evolve into a buying strategy that influences the other growing pieces of our industry: predominantly native advertising. We believe that 6sense is on the forefront of a technology that Forbes will continue to support.
What advice do you have for other publishers looking to leverage their audience data to develop leads for advertisers?
Having a thorough and complete understanding of your data is key. Each publisher needs to take the time to deep dive into the insights they’ve gleaned in order to be able to leverage it for their marketers. Investing in the people, platforms, and technologies that specialize in data will absolutely have a positive effect on your bottom line.