All About Audience Suppression

May 5, 2021

Delve Goes Deeper: Retail Marketing

Deepen your understanding of Audience Suppression, a tactic marketers can leverage to make their data work smarter. 

This is the fifth post in our Retail Marketing series, dedicated to helping brands improve their marketing ROI and accelerate revenue growth by identifying and converting their most profitable audience segments.

Most recently in this series, we explored how Platform Audits and Bidding Automation help marketers improve conversion and lifetime customer value. Today we’ll DELVE deeper into our next tactic, Audience Suppression.

For retail marketers, audience suppression is truly the low-hanging fruit of marketing efficiency. It involves filtering data and using it to thoughtfully create target audience segments for your ad campaigns. 

It’s a common customer lament: I keep seeing ads for things I have already purchased. It happens because they were identified by the retailer or consumer brand as a potential target for policy product but once converted, the retail/brand marketer didn’t remove the person from the marketing campaign for that product. 

Buying ad reach that will never convert is one of the efficiency killers in paid media campaigns. In the case of audience suppression, this often starts by identifying those customers who have already made a purchase as well as existing customers who may be unprofitable. Once this segmentation is complete, you simply suppress those segments thereby excluding them from future campaigns. 

In some cases, an audience suppression strategy involves shifting existing customers to different retargeting campaigns—advertising complementary products or services they’ve already purchased to generate cross-sell revenue. This saves ad budget and also creates happier and more loyal customers since you’re not annoying them with ads for products they have already purchased.

“Audience definition depends on each marketing channel and can involve different types of actionable factors such as demographics, psychographics, zip codes, latitude/longitude, and behavioral attributes,” adds Svet Filipson, Head of Analytics at DELVE.

Audience suppression requires access to reliable data and analytics. Marketers who want to employ the technique for email marketing, for instance, would need to compare their email marketing database with their CRM customer database as well as any affinity databases. That data must be aggregated to create a single view of the customer based on who the retailer is trying to reach.

This is important not just to eliminate friction with prospects and customers, but also to improve your marketing/media budget efficiency. Reaching audiences that aren’t going to convert costs money and hurts conversion rate metrics. For example, if a retailer is sending out information about a sale on winter boots it may want to look at the aggregate data and exclude ad buys that might target prospects who live in warmer climates as well as people who recently purchased those items. 

There’s also real benefit working across platforms and properties. For instance, ticket resale retailer SeatGeek was able to save money—and stop marketing to existing customers—by syncing “their user suppression lists to media partners via API.” Changes were reflected automatically in near real-time, significantly increasing the efficiency of their spend on those platforms. “The strategy led to an up to 40 percent increase in marketing spend efficiency and a total savings of 15 manpower hours per week since manual reporting and uploading was eliminated.”

This is why it is imperative to ensure data is accurate, and why marketers must work to segregate prospects constantly. The process is not a one-and-done effort, either. Marketers must constantly be moving prospects and customers on and off of suppression lists, making changes based on up-to-date activity and interests. 

When done correctly, a customer who opts out of an email about toy sales will never receive a display ad that features dolls and trucks. It may seem obvious, but this example demonstrates how easy it is to mis-categorize a prospect if you’re not using your data.

In our next article in this series, we’ll DELVE deeper into Hyper-local Targeting – what it is and why it’s important in enhancing your marketing strategy.


Ready to take your ads, and your business, to the next level? Get in touch with the DELVE team today.

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