By Barry Levine
Let’s say you launch a digital ad campaign targeted at fathers, aged 25 to 35, who make over $100,000.
How do you know you actually reach them?
That’s the key problem New Orleans-based Lucid — known as Federated Sample until August — is trying to solve with today’s release of its new digital marketing measurement tool called Proof.
Lucid provides respondents to marketing research surveys, as well as an exchange for the buying and selling of market research.
Through those resources, it has built up a database of more than 50 million anonymous respondents, each of whom has completed a survey on their demographics and other characteristics before they participate. For participating, they receive such compensation as points, miles or minutes.
Each of those users has also had a cookie deposited on their computer or their mobile device ID registered. In a participating ad campaign, a Lucid pixel is shown each time an ad is displayed. This pixel is tied to the cookie or the device ID of the 50+ million respondents, so Lucid can immediately report that this user — of such-and-such age, gender, ethnicity, general location or other characteristics — has seen the ad.
Elizabeth Brooks, Lucid’s acting chief marketing officer, told me that in her previous years in advertising, verification that your ad was seen by the targeted audience was often conducted by assembling panels of similar audience types or conducting a market research survey. Such techniques took weeks, she said.
“I never had a tool that, by the end of the day of an ad campaign, [I know] that I’m reaching maybe only 20 percent of my intended audience,” she said.
Lucid also related that during the beta testing, Proof was used to verify an ad campaign directed at African-Americans that promoted an unspecified movie trailer. A publisher had promised that demographic via its site.
But when Proof was enabled, Lucid said it saw that huge numbers of the audience were US-based whites or residents of India and Brazil. Lucid said the publisher, apparently unable to meet its traffic goals, had been reselling its traffic to others.
Lucid CEO and founder Patrick Comer told me that in any given ad campaign, Proof can match between .2 percent and 1 percent of the audience.
This, he noted, is “flabbergasting in the research space, [with] 20 times the people [we’ve] historically seen in panels.” If a campaign has a million ad impressions, for instance, the low end of .2 percent means 2,000 impressions can be matched to users’ profiles.
He noted that national US presidential polls with large samples generally have only about 1,000 respondents to make statistical judgments about a country with more than 100 million registered voters.
Comer said that no other ad effectiveness platform of the scale and immediacy of Proof is on the market. Potential competitors like Nielsen and comScore, he noted, are clients of Lucid’s exchange.
Ad agency Razorfish, part of the Publicis Groupe, has used Proof for more than 20 ad campaigns during the beta phase, Lucid said. Arun Kumar, Global Head of Analytics for Publicis One Team, said in a statement that Proof has provided “insights that have allowed us to both make large scale shifts in media budgets as well as pull the smaller levers on a daily basis.”
Comer added that this is his company’s first entry into providing an analytical view of the respondents who participate in the research made possible by his company. In addition to display or performance-based ads, Proof can also be utilized for other digital marketing, including branded content, native ads or YouTube videos.