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EBay exec: Merge user ID, customer insights to drive marketing efficiency

During the session, “How eBay is using identity to help partners target users where they are, when it matters most,” the executive discussed the need for holistic solutions across mobile, tablet and desktop to gain meaningful customer insights. Typically, marketers know the identity of a user but have very little information about his or her shopping habits or they have a lot of data about a user’s behavior but cannot tie it to an identity.

“What is the consumer journey throughout the day,” said Taylor Burton, manager of advertising solutions at eBay Enterprise Marketing Solutions.

“I am looking at news, weather, checking emails, checking Gmail,” he said. “If I am marketing to myself, you want to follow me throughout that journey and you want it be efficient.

“If you are siloing the way you reach that consumer, you are overspending. I have already messaged that consumer today – I know because I am tracking the UDID.”

Mobile Marketing Day is a Mobile Marketer event jointly hosted with the Direct Marketing Association.

Meaningful experiences
Effectively merging user ID with customer insights can help marketers be more efficient at influencing purchase intent and actual purchase.

One way that marketers are using data to create more meaningful experiences on mobile is by overlaying user data on top of location.

EBay is currently working with KFC on a campaign that involved geofencing all of its locations and overlaying different purchase indicators for who makes the ideal KFC customer. In rural areas, the geofence extends out to five to 10 miles from a location while in an urban area, the outer limit is between one and two miles.

The effort enables KFC to target messages to consumers urging them to come to a nearby outpost of the chain based on purchase data, demographics, lifestyle traits and more as well as location.

When users click on the ad, it shows them a map directing them to the nearby location.

Dynamic creative
For an effort such as the KFC campaign, it is important to have dynamic creative, as a static banner will not stand out. The goal is to make the ad feels as specific to that consumer as possible.

“A lot of the advantage is that a QSR will get is off of promotions and new products,” Mr. Burton said.

“We looked at how can we have an always-on campaign, not a set budget specific to that campaign,” he said.

As the amount of data available about consumers grows, it is important to remember that not every piece of data is important. The key to separating out the meaningful data is to test and learn.

In the fast-paced mobile space, marketers need to consistently test, as what worked six months ago may not work now.

Mr. Burton also addressed the interest in beacons, which was a hot topic at the Mobile Marketing Day conference.

Merchants are buying into the idea that beacons can provide a benefit for customers and help them grow their businesses.

One key piece that is often missing from beacon deployments is making sure that the consumer knows about the strategy and how to engage with it.

Driving adoption will be dependent upon the ability of marketers to provide a compelling use case.

One of the simplest ways to drive beacon adoption will be engagements that address how consumers are already interacting with Bluetooth in their everyday lives. For example, Mr. Burton said that he recently saw an apartment with music speakers that interact with the tenant’s smartphone via Bluetooth technology, enabling the tenant to turn on music upon entering the apartment.

“I think things are going to get really exciting and beacons are going grow in the next 18 to 36 months,” Mr. Burton said. “Or it could turn into next QR code.”

Cross-channel solutions
A number of companies provide cross-channel solutions for marketers, including Google, Facebook and eBay.

While eBay is in the process of spinning off alternative payments provider PayPal as an independent company, the two remain “close friends,” per Mr. Burton.

As part of the spin-off, media, display and data monetization business functions were offloaded from PayPal to eBay as a way to create a holistic solution and close the loop on search and purchase on the backend.

In light of the spin-off, PayPal has recently begun advertising to consumers again after a long hiatus, indicative of how PayPal will be more consumer centric going forward, driven in part by the increased competition now that Apple Pay is in the space.

PayPal saw its mobile payment volume double year-over-year to reach $27 billion, underscoring how mobile payments are beginning to catch on with consumers.

While PayPal’s core business is payments, eBay is more about enabling consumer purchases, including product search and discovery.

EBay has robust transactional data. The merchant sells a pair of shoes every two seconds, two pieces of jewelry every second and a car is purchased on the eBay Motors app every five seconds.

“At eBay and PayPal, we call it the purchase pretzel – which is how the consumer is going to come to the decision of making a purchase,” Mr. Burton said.

“You have to understand that users can gain awareness in one area like a magazine and then make a purchase via a mobile device,” he said. “How do you track that?”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Marketer, New York