What You Need To Know About People-Based Search
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What You Need To Know About People-Based Search

  • 5 min read

What is People-Based Search?


Search marketers have long dreamed of connecting people-based marketing with search marketing.

If we were to define the two:

  • Search marketing is about acting on your prospects’ intent to buy. You’re targeting the precise moment when someone wants your brand or products.
  • People-based marketing is about marketing to the person behind the data. You’re targeting, personalising and measuring based on insights about real people.

Of course, each of these disciplines are hugely valuable individually.

But if you combine them, you’ve got an incredibly powerful new tool: People-Based Search.


What are the Benefits of People-Based Search?


People-Based Search is making all kinds of great things possible; it works to improve the timing and relevancy of ads and content to ensure more efficient spend, more seamless customer relationships and so much more.

With people-based search, marketers can:

  • Be more efficient and get a better return on ad spend
  • Maximise retargeting by timing it to customers’ intent
  • Re-convert lapsed customers
  • Make more effective cross-sell recommendations
  • Make search an extension of segmentation & customer retention strategies
  • Suppress search ads that could frustrate valuable segments
  • Have a smart way to attribute in-store and online conversions back to search

But while many search marketers have started to use some form of CRM matching in their search engine marketing (SEM), most have yet to realise the full potential of people-based search – it’s far more scalable and versatile than many marketers first thought.


(How to) Scale People-Based Search


In both people-based search and people-based marketing, scale is essential.

For one thing, you want to make it easier to reach more people in more specific ways that are likelier to convert.

But you also want to be able to use these capabilities in a number of different ways – expanding the number of use cases available to you.

The good news: people-based search scales well. As long as you can do two things:

  • Match that data to real people doing real searches/ amplify your reach
  • Upload your data quickly and easily

Let’s look at each in turn:


1. Match that data to real people doing real searches/ amplify your reach


When you upload something like a CRM file to something like Google Customer Match, you’re only matching against a single data source – an email. Typically, we see that produce a match rate of around 30%.

That’s a lot of people. But the higher your match rate, the better the result. Note: Your match rate is the percentage of customers in your list that match up with the online data sources you’re cross-referencing them with. The more matches you have, the more customers you can reach with people-based search. Why does this matter? Because the more people you can reach, the more value you can get from the tactic!

However, to get more matches, you need more data.

From your side, you want to maximise the number of lists you upload into people-based search tools.

Ideally, you want to have a range of different segments of first party data – from email lists, POS information, CRM data and any other relevant sources available to you.

The real gains, though, come from working with an identity resolution service. The idea is simple: you want to work with a company that has the broadest possible identity graph, giving you more ways to match with more people.

Liveramp has seen match rates increase by an average of 50% with this approach. Some even increased by as much as 6X or 600%.

So, if you can have a 40% match rate today with Google, you can increase this to about 60%. And if you have a 70% match rate, then you can get to 105%.

How is it possible to get numbers above 100%? Well, because identity resolution services have access to such a wealth of data they can append multiple email addresses to a record. So for every one email address you send to these services, you may receive two or three matches in return.

That’s the kind of scale you need to make the most of people-based search.


2. Upload your data quickly and easily


When you work with tools like Google Customer Match, you need to upload your customer segment lists manually, for every update you decide to make.

That’s not a huge problem if you only have a few segments that you upload once, but if you’re running campaigns for lots of different segments, you might have a lot of separate files. If you try to scale this, the process could quickly become unwieldy – especially if you have to work with an IT or analytics team to get your lists each time. Manual uploading also means your lists quickly go out of date.

Say you’ve uploaded your latest CRM files, then you run a campaign that gets people to join your mailing list. Chances are you’re going to have a lot of new people on your list in a day or so, and the file you just uploaded will be out of date – meaning you’ll have to go through the whole process again.

If you’re going to scale up your people-based search campaigns, what you need is a connected user interface that allows you to upload all your segments in one go. If that service can then distribute the matches out to all the other platforms you’re using for people-based marketing automatically, even better. It’ll save you slaving away over spreadsheet later, and it’ll synchronise your messaging across platforms too.


Making the Most of People-Based Search


Clearly people-based search offers great advantages for maximising your display and AdWords spend, and will help you target customers with content you know they want to see, when they want to see it.

To make the most of people-based search, the next step is knowing how to effectively scale the process, unlocking the ability to bring that relevant targeting to a wider audience. Do that, and you’ll unlock one of the most effective ways to market to your customers – and importantly, make your search spend work harder for you.

If you want to learn more about using people-based search – download our eBook here.