Creating a quality intent-driven content marketing strategy is contingent on personalization. Use these tips to engage users and ultimately orchestrate successful campaigns.

Today’s customers have more content at their fingertips than ever. Because of this, it can be challenging to draw their attention with digital ads.

Intent marketing is a great way for brands to cut through the excess content, but the key to a truly effective intent marketing campaign is personalization.

Personalization is a powerful tool, but it is complicated and so must be handled with care. It needs to be applied strategically in order to generate the best results. The following four insights can help you take full advantage of the power of personalization.

1. Gathering the right intent data

As any analyst can tell you, data by itself is really just numbers in a spreadsheet, but putting that data in the right context and aligning it with the right use case transforms numbers into extremely valuable resources.

This is how the best marketers view intent data - not just as purchasing or search history, but as pieces of a story that paint a picture of who this user is and what they’ve experienced.

Picking the right data to use at this stage is crucial because if you're just using search history, then you could end up sending ads that are irrelevant and inevitably cause customer frustration.

2. Determining ad delivery and display format

The next step is to determine the method of ad delivery that will be most likely to drive an engagement.

Customers are becoming much more indifferent to banner ads, so if you notice that a user has engaged with a banner ad or two recently, you should definitely consider that a priority. Otherwise it’s important to keep in mind that many people remain focused (Read more...) the actual content on which they’re browsing.

Pre-roll ads are usually a great way to drive engagements, but it’s important to note the kinds of video your target customers prefer. If they only watch short videos on YouTube, it’s crucial to align any pre-roll ads to those content preferences. Sending them a 30 second ad that goes before a 45 second video will most likely garner a negative reaction.

3. Determining the context of ads

Context is also a critical element you need to be conscious of when running an intent-driven campaign with personalization at its core. Delivering an ad that is relevant to a customer's personal experiences is good, but if it's delivered on a site that is completely irrelevant to the product or service it's advertising, it will stick out like a sore thumb.

Additionally, it is important to deliver ads that match the content a customer is consuming; otherwise it will disrupt their experience. Imagine being out on a hike through the woods with friends.

Each time you ask the group about which trail they would prefer to take, one person continuously suggests you all go to the movies instead. Random, right?


Likewise, providing ad content that doesn't correlate with that which is being consumed can confuse and even alienate customers - it can make them think that you're not willing to make the effort to appeal to them personally. Instead, it appears as if you're just using things you know about them to service your own needs, which will reflect poorly on your brand.

4. Retargeting

Knowing how much to retarget is perhaps the most important skill of all. Much of the customer frustration surrounding ad tech comes from being bombarded with ads.

Whether they are relevant or not, when a customer receives the same ad for weeks at a time, it makes them feel as though marketers don’t appreciate their lack of interest.


This causes them to have a negative association with the brand and perhaps even the publishers they frequently see these ads on.

To truly demonstrate a personalized effort, you need to know when to retarget and when to scale back. Though it might be tempting to take the “spray and pray” approach, but any legitimate marketer can tell you that what you might gain in CTR you will lose in brand perception and trust.

Being selective in retargeting efforts demonstrates to customers that the brand respects them enough to not want to constantly get in their face with the same ad. It also provides a helpful reminder of your product or service at select intervals, which shows customers that though you would still appreciate their business, you are considerate enough to not want to ruin their browsing experience.



Following these steps isn’t the easiest thing to do, but customers today are more empowered than they have ever been. Therefore, marketers have a responsibility to represent brands in a way that creates a dialogue between customer and brand. Personalization is the key to ensuring that this conversation is a good one that flows in both directions.

Article images via Flickr. 

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