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Connect your ads to audience online browsing behavior with Inferred Brand Intent

In our world of screens and distractions, getting audience engagement in advertising is not easy. Less than 1 percent of global users on the open web will ever click on an ad, and with formats like Connected TV (CTV) and digital out-of-home (DOOH), there’s no way for a user to click on an ad even if they wanted to. That means if you only use clicks to measure the success of your campaigns, you’re missing out on part of the story.

At the same time, ads still have the ability to influence people — but how do you measure that? You need better signals to understand how your audience is moving from awareness to consideration and conversion, especially as people use different devices to discover new brands, research products, and make purchase decisions. Our Inferred Brand Intent (IBI) is a free, first-to-market solution that can help you to connect those dots to better understand how your ads are influencing your audience’s online browsing behavior.

It’s all about the keywords

Setting up Inferred Brand Intent (IBI) for your campaigns on our platform starts with defining a short list of keywords that are closely tied to your brand’s product, service, or industry. To bring this concept to life, here are some examples of IBI keyword strategies by category:

  • Entertainment: A movie is usually well represented by the title and key actor name.
  • Auto: A car manufacturer might use a car model and the brand name.
  • Travel: A national tourism agency might use the name of a country or region with the word “visit.”

Whenever someone is exposed to your ads on certain websites, IBI analyzes the URLs of the webpages that they’re visiting and looks for the keywords you have selected. IBI first looks at whether a user has visited a URL with at least one of your keywords one hour before the impression. If they have not, IBI counts all visits within the first hour afterward as conversions. IBI uses an hourlong window because depending on how your frequency caps are set, having a window longer than one hour creates the potential for overlap with other impressions served to the customer. To avoid this, we try to isolate the impact of that single ad on customer browsing behavior.

To illustrate how this works, let’s say two different customers are exposed to an ad for a new electric vehicle. Customer A, who was already researching articles on electric vehicles, might be served an electric vehicle ad based on their browsing behavior. If Customer A continues to research electric vehicles in the hour following exposure to the ad, they would not be counted as an IBI conversion. Customer B, who started researching articles on electric vehicles within the hourlong window after they received the electric vehicle ad, would be counted as an IBI conversion. In the case of Customer B, we can infer that the ad exposure helped drive intent.

Inform campaign strategy with unique insights

IBI can give brands the ability to infer customer intent based on whether they’re researching sites with related keywords after being exposed to omnichannel ads, from desktop to mobile to Connected TV (CTV) and more. Although IBI was initially developed to measure consideration and intent after ad exposure, you can also use it for awareness or performance goals.

Here are some use cases:

  • Measure lift in consideration and intent. Gain a new perspective on brand lift by identifying customers who search for the brand after ad exposure.
  • Drive qualified audiences to conversion. You can also leverage our AI, Koa™, to use IBI to further drive qualified audiences down the funnel to final conversion.
  • Gain insights about your audience. Identify relevant viewed inventory to understand the websites your audience is on to inform your future strategy.
  • Retarget customers with a specific strategy. Create custom audience segments based on people who have viewed websites with certain keywords, and retarget them to execute different strategies.

Let’s dig into one example of the audience retargeting strategy using our hypothetical electric vehicle advertiser. This auto brand could include competitor electric vehicle brand keywords as part of their IBI strategy. Then, they could create audience segments based on users who are researching their competitors, and retarget those people as part of a conquesting strategy.

Build audiences and gather insights

Here is how you can gather data on your potential audiences:

  1. Create custom audiences based on specific IBI conversions or focus on conquesting strategies with more competitor keyword activity.
  2. See results throughout the campaign to optimize and retarget people who demonstrated intent or consideration in specific geos or on certain websites.
  3. Identify more relevant websites and competitor keywords after the campaign completion with the IBI conversion details report, giving you data to make future decisions.

Employ best practices

Your account manager at The Trade Desk can help you create the most effective keyword strategy. Generally, we recommend three categories of keywords:

  1. Relevant brand keywords
  2. Competitive keywords
  3. Relevant industry keywords

Going back to our electric car example, that brand might choose the following keywords:

  1. The auto brand name and the name of the electric car model
  2. Names of other competitive electric car brands
  3. Relevant terms like “electric car,” “electric vehicle,” etc.

We also recommend blocking certain keywords to prevent false positives. For example, a fitness club advertiser that blocks “game,” “masterclass,” or “golf” to capture closer intent to the brand.

Please note that sensitive keywords are prohibited and include terms and advertisers related to tobacco, vape, CBD, cannabis, and gambling. Work with your representative at The Trade Desk to make sure your list of keywords is approved.

Get started today

Inferred Brand Intent measurement with the Trade Desk can give you a more holistic view of your customers, access to actionable insights throughout the campaign, and the ability to target custom audiences that demonstrate intent to drive performance.

To learn more about measurement with Inferred Brand Intent, reach out to your account manager at The Trade Desk today.