Staines has nearly 20 years of experience in digital advertising. He’s fallen in love with the industry by witnessing the growth of its “sharing” economy.
“It is an amazing space, continuously evolving and changing, we have evolved based on what we share. The more we share and the faster we become, the more ubiquitous that sharing behavior comes across different devices. In turn, our business and commerce must become more purposeful in engaging with and understanding this shared content in order to create more customized messaging.”
Programmatic Advertising.org: Horse racing enthusiasts are a very specific, nuanced segment. What is your approach to locating the die-hard fans and tracking them across devices?
Rupert Staines: If you take the sharing ecosystem, which is any piece of content on the Web, it fundamentally has to exist as a URL destination. It exists as a line of code that can be wrapped and tracked. We use a URL shortener called Po.st, which is like Bitly, to generate, curate and store information about what people are sharing.
When you consider The Jockey Club, think of all the areas across the Web where they would push their content, i.e. Google Plus, Facebook, email, blogs and YouTube.
The Jockey Club content exists on a variety of touch points because horse racing is so popular here in England. In the mobile space we use apps to track user behavior. We then push those data points into our data management platform and use an algorithm called Share Graph to determine the user’s closest social connection. Depending on who the content was shared with, we can determine the relationship between individuals and their degree of affinity to the content. We score and measure the connections using metrics, such as the context of the share, usage of relevant terminology and how frequently the individuals share information with each other.
PA.O: What are some of the challenges of this approach?
Rupert Staines: It is impossible to track content that is not shared via social media. We call this “dark social.” Dark social is twice the size of Facebook; basically, it describes when someone copies and pastes a URL and sends it to you via email, text or instant message rather than using the embedded “share” links in the content.
PA.O: How do you track content and analyze relationships while keeping users confidential?
Rupert Staines: We are still in the ad business, and that means data is anonymized. We don’t know who you are. We are not permitted to create any form of identifier for content shared within Facebook or taken from Facebook to another source. We would never be able to breach security in terms of accessing any personal information. If you are on Facebook and click on a shortened link that takes you to a new destination, it is only then that we can drop an identifier on you.
Programmatic advertising is all about using message enhancement to increase reach and impact for advertisers, which will encourage users to engage more with the client.