Feature Focus: Targeting and Modifiers

MediaAlpha’s targeting and bid modification tools are essential to helping insurance brands pay the right price for every consumer

MediaAlpha's targeting and modifiers features help insurance advertisers pay the right price for every consumer.

Feature Focus is a recurring series where we highlight how different MediaAlpha features help our customers achieve their business goals. Today, we’re talking about the targeting and modifiers tools on the MediaAlpha platform.

Intelligent targeting and bidding is the bedrock of modern digital marketing. Indeed, if you’ve worked in the digital space for a few years, you likely have some version of the following mantra seared into your brain: “It’s all about reaching the right consumer, in the right context, at the right price.”

Our targeting and modifiers tools help insurance advertisers do just that. With a simple, intuitive user interface, our customers can create campaigns that precisely target granular audience segments and bid appropriately for every type of shopper. Here, we’ll take a look at how to use these features and share some best practices for how you can employ them to maximize your customer acquisition performance.

Targeting helps insurance carriers reach the consumers they want to connect with

MediaAlpha’s targeting settings are found on the second tab from the left on the campaign settings page of the platform. There, you can adjust which shoppers you intend to bid on based on a wide range of variables, including age, gender, homeowner status, accident history, browser, device type, and more. In fact, we’re always working with our customers to find out which new variables advertisers want to target against and how we can make sure our publishers are passing those variables through to our platform.

Advertisers can click the “add variable” button to create more specific target audiences by layering additional targeting criteria on top of one another. Meanwhile, clicking the “new group” button will create a new audience to target with your campaign.

Take the example campaign below. Here, our fictional insurance company—Acme Insurance—has set up a campaign with two target audiences. One group consists of all homeowners aged 40 to 90. The other is made up of all shoppers on our platform with excellent credit. In this example, Acme will bid on any consumer with excellent credit, but they’ll only bid on a homeowner if they are also between the ages of 40 and 90.

Targeting feature on the MediaAlpha platform.

Of course, this is a fairly straightforward example meant to illustrate how the targeting feature works—our platform gives you the ability to include as many variables and target groups as you like. And if you have a large number of variables and consumer groups you want to target, you can copy and paste them from an Excel spreadsheet by switching from visual mode to text mode.

Modifiers enable advertisers to bid the right price for each consumer

Modifiers are the natural complement to the platform’s targeting feature. After all, even among the shoppers you want to connect with, there will always be significant variance in how much you’re willing to pay to reach them.

For instance, if you find that a certain segment of your target audience converts at a much higher rate than other consumers, you’ll want to be able to bid higher than you would for shoppers who are less likely to buy a policy.

The modifiers feature is located right beneath targeting on our platform, and you can use it to bid a certain percentage of your regular bid price for different kinds of consumers. Similar to the targeting feature, you can refine your bidding by layering on additional variables to each modifier, and by adding multiple modifiers to each campaign. If that sounds confusing, take a look at the example campaign below.

Modifiers feature on the MediaAlpha platform

Let’s say the base bid for our example campaign is $10 per click. For the shoppers targeted by this campaign who are both married and have a master’s degree, we’ve decided to bid 125% of our base bid, or $12.50. If a shopper we’re targeting has been in an accident in the last three years, we’ll bid 50%, or $5.

But what happens if one of our target shoppers is married, has a master’s degree, and has been in an accident in the last 3 years? It’s important to remember that modifiers are combined when there’s more than one of them that applies to a particular shopper. So, we’d start out by multiplying our modifier for drivers who have been in a recent accident by our modifier for consumers who are married and have a master’s degree (0.5 * 1.25 = 0.625). Then we’d multiply this combined modifier by our base bid (0.625 * $10) to get a final bid of $6.25.

Expansive targeting settings allow you to acquire more customers—without compromising efficiency

When we work with our customers, we often advise them to be expansive in how they think about their target audience. For instance, even if a certain kind of shopper is among the least valuable consumer segments for your business, there is probably some price at which it would be profitable to bring them to your website. And if you analyze your historical consumer data—or allow us to do it for you—you should be able to determine what that price point is.

So rather than honing in on your most valuable sliver of insurance shoppers, it’s usually best to cast a wide net and use the modifiers feature to ensure that you’re bidding the right price for each segment of the large pool of shoppers you’re targeting. This way, you can acquire new customers at scale, without having to worry that you’re sacrificing efficiency.

Have questions about what you should bid for different kinds of customers? Want a refresher on how to operate the targeting and modifiers features on the platform? Your client success manager is always just a phone call away. And if you’re not a MediaAlpha customer yet, please do go ahead and schedule a demo with us soon.