By JOE MANDESE.  Published by MEDIA POST on 8 April 2020.


“HVAs,” an increasingly popular new acronym being used by marketers and agencies to describe methods of targeting only “high value audiences” via various identity-based data schemes, appears to perform better than conventional methods of targeting media audiences, especially Madison Avenue’s stock-in-trade: the demographic. That’s the conclusion of a rigorous test conducted by IPG Mediabrands’ Magna and IPG Media Lab units.The test, which utilizes IPG’s proprietary research panel, as well as proprietary HVA segments created via its Kinesso platform (the data platform that leverages IPG’s Acxiom unit), conducted various controls to measure the effects of common advertising KPIs (key performance indicators) such as ad recall and purchase intent, and in every case it demonstrated that utilizing HVAs performed much better than demographics, contextual targeting, or even a mix of demographics and contextual targeting.

Contextual targeting utilizes the nature of the medium and/or the content that consumers are accessing as a proxy for their interests and intent as consumers of a brand’s products and or advertising messages, and according to Magna Senior Vice President-Group Director of Intelligence Solutions & Strategy Kara Manatt, the findings indicate that HVA targeting is more valuable than the premiums often paid for contextually-targeted audiences.

“I don’t thinks it has changed what we think about contextual,” she explains, noting, “In many cases, I would say contextual is worth a premium. But for most brands you cannot run your entire campaign on contextual, because there’s not enough inventory.”

In theory, utilizing HVAs enables brands and agencies to tap an unlimited array of media and content based on where those high value audiences index best.

Manatt emphasized that brands “should not spend a lot of money” using the method without also “doing a lot of testing and vetting it out.”

While IPG’s Kinesso has proprietary data and methods of identifying HVAs, the concept is available to any brand, agency and data management partners who can associate identity-based audiences with a brand’s highest value consumers.