May 15, 2012, 11:22 AM

StubHub uses customer data to fuel online ads

The ticket marketplace links customers’ interactions to display ads.

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Online ticket marketplace StubHub, a unit of eBay Inc., in January began using data it normally applies to e-mail marketing messages to help tailor some of its display advertising to individual consumers. The data, culled from records in its customer relationship management (CRM) database, enables StubHub to personalize the display ads consumers see based on all the data collected by the ticket reseller, such as which events they’ve expressed interest in, how soon before an event they make a purchase and what price range they typically buy at.

The technology that makes it possible for StubHub to systematically link CRM data to the display ads comes from Responsys Inc., a digital marketing services provider, which StubHub had previously used to manage its e-mail efforts. The technology is part of the vendor’s recently introduced Interact for Display service.

“We’re trying to leverage the best practices we know work for e-mail marketing and direct marketing over to display,” says Dan Morrill, e-mail marketing manager at StubHub. “Often so much of what you spend on display is on an unknown audience where it’s just hoping to catch a fan. With this display targeting process we know who they are and we know they are a user of StubHub.”

StubHub is testing different ways to apply CRM data to display . One form it is testing is to reinforce e-mail messages a consumer has responded to in some way. For example, if a consumer opens an e-mail message with a subject line about baseball, that same customer may see a display ad online during the following week about local baseball ticket availability on StubHub.

StubHub also is creating display ads based on consumers’ behaviors outside from e-mail. For example, if a consumer in Los Angeles bought tickets on StubHub to a Michael Bublé concert a year ago and StubHub has a lot of Bublé tickets to sell for his next concert in Los Angeles, that consumer may see a display ad noting that availability. “We’re focusing on how we can use our deep customer data to serve relevant messages on display,” Morrill says.

The latter example is one way e-commerce companies can leverage internal consumer data to market to lapsed consumers or those who don’t opt-in to get e-mail marketing, Responsys says. “Display is no longer just an acquisition channel,” says Scott Jones, general manager of display at Responsys. “It’s a new way for relationship marketers to effectively target known individuals across the web.”

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