Conversant is a marketing company that helps marketers connect with their ideal customers. They deliver targeted marketing to customers that benefit from seeing a client’s advertisements. This increases ad performance and the return on investment for a company’s marketing budget.
I had the pleasure of speaking with John Ardis, the Senior Vice President of CRM Solutions at Conversant, about the evolution of performance marketing from clicks to action and how Conversant is a pioneer in the field.
What Is The Story Behind Conversant?
Conversant began about 20 years ago as a performance-based ad company. Displaying ads for revenue is similar to what Google does to earn money. Today, Conversant is focused on consumer actions and tracking behaviors through anonymized data.
In December 2014, the company was acquired by Alliance Data for $991.5 million and 4.6 million shares of stock. Alliance Data is a leading global provider of data-driven marketing and loyalty solutions. With the acquisition, Conversant operates under the Epsilon division. This allows them to offer “a unique end-to-end marketing services company that will empower clients to more effectively market to their customers across all channels.”
Why Move Away From Click-Through Ads?
As Conversant realized that bots could manipulate the click-throughs on display advertisements, they shifted their strategy to focus on consumer interactions with ads. These actions include applying for a credit card, making a purchase, booking a reservation, or downloading a brochure.
Conversant was the first performance-based ad company to make the switch to focus on consumer actions. They have been the industry leader ever since.
Their focus is on “humans over hype.” This means that Conversant prioritizes people over buzzwords and industry jargon.
How Does Conversant Work With Clients?
When working with clients, the most important approach is to understand their end goal. The client determines a marketing budget, then Conversant delivers a custom-tailored campaign that turns that investment into something much greater. The goals might include increasing their affiliate channel, signing up members to their loyalty club, or bridal registries. No matter their goal, Conversant has a solution to match their needs.
Conversant clients are almost exclusively enterprise-level companies that are names you would recognize. And the portfolio of clients touches almost every industry, from travel to retail to financial services to dining.
With Conversant’s help, clients are able to more effectively track ad campaigns. Rather than “think” a campaign was successful, now they have reports showing if it was. And if a campaign is not delivering the desired results, the client now has the power to make adjustments on the fly.
For example, convention and visitor’s bureaus (CVB) spend taxpayer money to promote their city, region, or attraction. They need to prove that their efforts are driving more interest and visitors to their destination. Before teaming with Conversant, this was difficult to prove. Now the CVBs can determine if that anonymous targeted individual actually showed up in their geography and spent money. And if they did, the CVB will know how they spent, where, and when. This is truly powerful data that can dramatically increase the effectiveness of a marketing campaign.
What is CJ Affiliate?
CJ Affiliate is one of Conversant’s companies. CJ Affiliate is the largest affiliate marketing company in the world. Thousands of companies work with CJ to increase their sales through affiliate marketing and targeted ad campaigns.
Affiliate marketing is how many of the websites you visit get paid. These websites provide content to consumers and businesses and include links to these companies in their articles, social media, and videos. In return, the websites provide a commission back to the affiliate when a website visitor performs a specific action. This can include anything from awareness to engagement to sales.
How Does Conversant Protect Consumer Information?
Data privacy is a major concern. Conversant does not receive names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, or any other personally identifiable information about any individual. All personal data from partners has been stripped away and replaced with a unique identifier.
Through their data collection, Conversant knows a great deal about a given person, but they don’t know who any specific person is. All they know is that when this anonymous person shows up, here is what they are interested in and what they like to see.
This effort creates a better user experience when shopping online and through apps. Retailers can target people that actually like their products and consumers see ads and offers for products and services they actually want to buy.
How Are Mobile Devices Changing The Industry?
Marketing companies and their clients have a big challenge when it comes to mobile devices. Clients want to know if someone views or clicks on an ad on their computer, then purchases through a mobile site or app, that this is the same person. Without this ability, it is impossible to properly measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. Being able to track campaign performance across multiple devices requires a significant investment in technology.
Conversant is able to create an identity graph by stitching together signals with external party data with 96% accuracy. Regardless of how a customer is interacting with a brand, Conversant can track marketing performance and put the right client message in front of the desired customer. Guessing equals waste and inaccuracy. Conversants’s mission is to eliminate that uncertainty to bring clarity to the industry.
If you would like to find out more information about Conversant can improve your marketing campaigns and increase your return on investment, follow this link to connect with John and his colleagues.