Zoominfo Targeted Audiences (Part II)

Zoominfo launched their new Targeted Audiences service to support programmatic advertising against their universe of B2B account and contact data. [Part I]


ZoomInfo employs signature-block mining, natural language processing, machine learning, and email verification to build and maintain their Data Cloud.  They also recently acquired EverString to augment their firmographic depth and field fill rates for 95 million companies.  Targeting against the Zoominfo Data Cloud offers “campaigns with unmatched precision and enhanced performance.”

“Digital agencies and marketers typically face challenges in collecting high-quality, complete B2B audience data,” contrasted ZoomInfo. “Most widely available contact information for companies and their employees is either inaccurate, incomplete, or outdated, which means many digital agencies and marketers deliver their messages to the wrong people altogether.”

“What’s common knowledge to those in the industry — but not to a bright-eyed data guy like me — is that advertising audiences aren’t engineered to be precise.  Quite the opposite, actually: This space is all about volume and audience expansion through inferences, and modeled data has taken over.”

ZoomInfo SVP of Innovation and Data R&D Derek Smith

Marketers can also build custom audiences from over three hundred demographic and firmographic selects, including funding data, benefits data (licensed from GlassDoor), event participation, banking variables, technographics, and Fortune 500/1000 flags.  Biographic variables include function, level, and title/keyword.

Targeting is most effective for the North American market because ZoomInfo is limited in the number of legally gathered and stored identifiers for EU citizens due to GDPR.

“Our product is unlike any other for two reasons. First, we’ve amassed a treasure trove of emails, phone numbers, and titles. Second, we’ve architected our company data to let you identify companies with a level of granularity that significantly eclipses the competition,” said Derek Smith, SVP of Innovation and Data R&D. “Was this always intentional? Of course not.  But unbeknownst to me, our data became tailor-made for advertising activation as a result of other projects at ZoomInfo.”

As a new offering, Targeted Audiences should be viewed as a solution for building precise B2B audiences and activating them via LiveRamp.  With nearly 100 million targetable professionals, 500 million identifiers, and 300+ selects, ZoomInfo can build very focused audiences.  However, there are some gaps.  Targeted Audiences does not offer any campaign analytics, creative management, social marketing, retargeting functionality, or intent-based targeting.

“Targeted Audiences allows marketers to build strategic campaigns based on contact and company information and creates new levels of granularity in B2B audience data that have never before existed on the market,” said ZoomInfo CEO Henry Schuck.

Targeted Audiences is a standalone offering.  Marketers and agencies can test out the service on a few audiences before signing a volume contract.  The fifty off-the-shelf audiences are priced at $1 CPM ($1 for 1,000 advertising exposures).  Custom Audiences begin at $2.75 CPM, but the price falls with volume commitments.

Zoominfo Targeted Audiences

ZoomInfo moved deeper into the marketing and advertising space with the launch of Targeted Audiences.  The newly unveiled B2B data service “gives digital agencies and marketers the ability to target their ideal customers with unprecedented accuracy.”  Targeted Audiences are built from the ZoomInfo Data Cloud, which includes 500 million emails and phone numbers for nearly 100 million professional contacts.

ZoomInfo was in the advertising space in its early years but spun off its Bizo platform in 2008.  At the time, CEO Yonatan Stern said, “We realized our business information index allowed marketers to deliver targeted online ads at a level never before seen.”  

Since then, ZoomInfo has acquired a deeper set of contacts and richer firmographics, technographics, funding data, benefits plans, and event data, supporting superior targeting precision.

Unfortunately, Bizo was acquired by LinkedIn in 2014 for $175 million but folded 18 months later when LinkedIn balked at the integration cost.  

Targeted Audiences should be viewed as a new market entry for the firm, but one that supported a $175 million opportunity back in 2014.  The October acquisition of Clickagy fueled this market entry as Clickagy intent data is deployed programmatically via data marketplaces.

“With the team at Clickagy now on the ZoomInfo team, our familiarity with the advertising space accelerated from 0 to 60 mph almost overnight.  The combination of our massive Data Cloud with a select few experts in advertising data allowed us to quickly discover the path to making our data actionable,” blogged Derek Smith, SVP of Innovation and Data R&D.

ZoomInfo launched the programmatic service with over fifty pre-packaged audiences “built on advanced demographic and firmographic data.”  ZoomInfo offered several examples outside of their core technology and business services customer base:

  • Educational institutions can target individual contributors and managers employed by firms with tuition reimbursement.
  • Optometrists can market to employees of companies with vision plans.
  • Luxury brands can reach out to C-level execs at firms with more than one hundred employees.
  • Financial advisory firms can target director-level employees of firms that recently went public.

ZoomInfo is passing audience identifiers to the LiveRamp data connectivity platform.  LiveRamp maps identifiers to channels, screens, and devices for media activation.  Additional partner platforms will be brought online in the coming weeks.


Continue to Part II.

Demandbase Keynote: Three New Products

At Demandbase’s virtual Keynote on St. Patrick’s Day, Demandbase discussed the evolution of ABM platforms and three new products: Site Analytics, Data Stream, and Self-Service Targeting.

The first product announcement was around Site Analytics and improved web engagement metrics.  The functionality is not a replacement for Google or Adobe Analytics but enables an understanding of account-level interactions across the company website.  It also provides page-level intelligence concerning which pages matter the most, allowing marketers to promote and optimize high performing pages.

Site Analytics also helps uncover new audiences for sales and marketing outreach, such as verticals outside your current ICP.  It can also be used for understanding which accounts are demonstrating interest in a new product launch for SDR outreach, optimizing content based upon key account viewing activity, and monitoring trends to determine campaign performance and the impact of various marketing activities.

Marketers may filter by page, URL keyword, account filters (industry, revenue, and employment), page performance, and audience.  Marketers may also save filters and create new audiences based upon site traffic.

The second launch was Data Stream, which lets analysts push data from Demandbase into BI platforms for expanded account-level reporting.  Data Stream is designed for firms that have already invested in data modeling and reporting and that have a data team or data analyst working with a BI or reporting platform.  Demandbase data includes audience and account intelligence, campaign metrics, site analytics, and intent.

Daily, data is pushed into a data warehouse (e.g. Google Big Query, Amazon Redshift, Azure Synapse Analytics) or Cloud Storage (e.g. Google Cloud, Amazon S3, Azure Blog Storage).  From there, customers can load the data into reporting tools such as Tableau, Domo, or Google Data Studio and combine account-level data with other data sources.  This process provides an account-based lens to digital marketing alongside intent data and other corporate datasets.

Data Stream “helps you form a complete picture across your prospects and customers,” said VP of Marketing Phil Hollrah.  “Being able to deliver this data in an automated fashion with no manual intervention needed is a huge benefit to our customers.  You can set up your reports, you can auto-refresh this data daily, and then those reports are going to be up-to-date with the latest information.

Demandbase Self-Service Targeting Campaign Builder

The third release was Self-Serve Targeting for account-based advertising.  Previously, this was only available as a managed service, but now marketers can set up campaigns and creative, then modify and optimize the campaigns.  Self-Serve Targeting is supported by a five-step wizard that allows marketers to upload and change creative.  Marketers set up campaigns with budget, geolocation, duration, and audience.  And because it is self-serve, marketers can quickly adjust campaign budgets, scheduling, frequency, or creative, allowing them to make real-time changes.

The wizard provides a campaign forecast that estimates the max spend versus projected budget, estimated impressions against qualified accounts, and the likely reach across the targeted accounts.

Self-Serve Targeting supports multiple campaigns for different segments, whether performing 1-to-1 or 1-to-many advertising.

Site Analytics and Data Stream are generally available.  Self-Serve Targeting is available as part of an early adopter program.

Demandbase Keynote: Three Phases of ABM Evolution

Like other vendors that have canceled public events, Demandbase gave its ABM Innovation Summit keynote as a virtual event on St. Patrick’s Day.  This year’s theme was “ABM Next,” though CMO Peter Isaacson admitted that their annual conferences are always forward-thinking.  Demandbase also announced three new product offerings: Site Analytics, Data Stream, and Self-Service Targeting (covered in tomorrow’s blog).

Demandbase is a long-time champion of Account Based Marketing (ABM), having been a lone voice in the woods for many years.  Back in 2007, they began offering a visitor intelligence service that mapped IP addresses to firmographics.  Since then, they released a B2B DSP, account-based retargeting, website personalization, account-based chat, and an AI-based ABM platform.  In 2020, they are launching buyer committee targeting, though they did not provide any details on this roadmap item.

Demandbase contends that we are now entering the third phase of ABM. The “Evangelical” phase was aligned with the development of initial ABM technologies and “an awareness of the importance of the account,” said CEO Gabe Rogol.  The Evangelical phase shifted the focus of B2B marketing efforts from leads and individuals to accounts.  In late 2015, the “Early Adopters and Buzz Phase” began with crystallization around the term ABM.  Phase II included point solutions, the beginning of AI tools, and the first full-scale implementations.  While Phase II included significant topical buzz, there was not a great deal of consistency and best practices for ABM success.  Phase III is a definitional phase where “ABM is table stakes,” but “there is not a clear definition, yet, as to what are the core technologies that make ABM successful and what are the best practices that make ABM successful.”

Rogol offered three core requirements for ABM success:

Core ABM Platform
  • Core ABM Platform: A comprehensive ABM platform consists of
    1. A data layer containing first and third-party data that “provides a unified view of your accounts”
    2. A decisioning layer that manages planning, segmenting, orchestration, and measurement
    3. An actioning layer that supports advertising, site personalization and engagement, sales enablement, and third-party marketing activity integration
    4. An AI and machine learning layer which helps “understand which accounts are most likely to buy and what are the next best actions to take both as a marketing organization and a sales organization”
    5. An intuitive user experience
  • Account Based Audiences: Rogol called Account Based Audiences “the fundamental unit of B2B Marketing.  Much like a people-based audience that’s united by common behaviors and demographics, an Account Based Audience is united by the way it is behaving across your CRM, your website, [and] marketing automation.” It should be “marketed to in a similar way to drive through the customer journey.”  Account Based Audiences should be accessible to all customer-facing teams, including marketing, sales, customer success, and data and engineering “so that your organization can act in a unified way that amplifies the strategy and impacts the ABM.”  Finally, Account Based Audiences should be available through all marketing, advertising, and sales channels.
  • Control and Access: Although “AI drives the decision making,” B2B marketers still want access and control over their data.  “ABM is one of the most important categories in B2B marketing,” Rogol added, “but you need to be able to control and access the data.”

“B2B marketers are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of data available to us every day.  Being the control freaks we are, marketers are constantly frustrated trying to extract the right insights to tailor our campaigns and reach our target audiences,” said Rogol.  “We are launching new solutions that will empower all of us to take control of data to create tailored campaigns that will drive growth for their organizations.  These new solutions are a reflection of what’s coming next in the world of ABM.”

Tomorrow, I will be covering Demandbase’s product announcements on the virtual keynote.