RealTime Media To Offer Real Powerful Ad Tracking

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By the second quarter, RealTime Media, an online and offline promotions company, plans to launch two new ad tracking components to its "Closed Loop" marketing solution. These components are designed to follow customers all of the way -- from the time they see an advertisement to the time they make an actual online purchase. Using this knowledge, the company will then launch highly targeted follow-up campaigns that target similar, qualified consumers.

"Ultimately, the only way online marketing is going to work is by understanding where customers are coming from, and creating a relationship analyzing the value of them as a customer and going out and finding more customers that are of value," Brad Magill, senior vice president of marketing and new business development at RealTime Media, Wynnewood, PA.

The first new offering, an as of yet unnamed "preference-based" e-mail marketing solution, should roll out within the next 30 days. This database-driven component presents an offer such as sweepstakes, discounts or free information that the end-user must register for to enter or receive. Consumers will be asked for a piece of profile information such as their interests or hobbies. Subsequent offers will factor into the new information and request additional information.

This branding technology will work to draw clear consumer profiles and build significant relationships, according to Magill. "The results of everything we do is to get the consumer to register to capture their name, e-mail address [and other information]. That's where it ends with most companies," he said. "We're going to use preference-based marketing that may take 12 months, but ultimately it will result in the individual becoming a customer."

The second component, which should launch within the next 60 days, will concentrate on tracking offline marketing efforts. To do so, "unique identifiers" are placed within radio, print and television ads that users must enter to get into the site. An example of a unique identifier could be an 800 number that is typed into the Web browser. The Web browser will not only take the consumer to the site, but also allow the advertiser to know which ad they were responding to, where it ran and at what time.

RealTime Media began as an online promotions provider of Web-based scratch-off games, but has since extended its offerings to include making online and offline ad buys for customers, back-end database management and banner ad tracking.

"We're concerned about what the cost per customer is," said Magill. "Whether it's [making ad buys] with Yahoo vs. AltaVista. We find the most effective cost comparison and then relaunch the campaign."

Beyond finding the most cost-effective ad buys online, the Closed Loop solution identifies the customers who are most likely to make a purchase. "Some customers are more valuable than others," said Magill. "We say 'now let's figure out which customers are most valuable for you and market to them.'"

This offering is all part of the evolution of the Web, said Magill. "First it was get the site up, then it was get eyeballs to the site. Now, it's 'let's gather registration information.' [And] That's all worthless unless you turn those people who registered into revenue for that Web site," he said.

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