Myths About Addressable Advertising

Addressable advertising and the loss of cross-publisher IDs are hot topics. In this blog, we talk about some of the most common myths…

There is a ton of confusion swirling around the topic of addressable advertising at the moment. Specifically, there’s confusion around what can replace the loss of cross-publisher IDs. Fortunately, it’s easy to make sense of the chaos. In this blog, we’ll explain how each alternative will support marketers’ advertising effectiveness. 

Contextual targeting

Let’s begin with contextual targeting. 

The notion that contextual offerings can replace the loss of IDs for addressability is misguided. Contextual targeting is very useful in improving how marketers match content to consumers. But it offers nothing in the way of measurement. If marketers can’t accurately measure their campaigns then they can’t do their job. 

Contextual targeting only delivers on engagement, making it an incomplete replacement at best.


A second proposal often mentioned is the use of encrypted emails. Many large publishers require people to authenticate or sign-in to their web properties. The email associated with “logging-in” can be used to generate a consistent, cross-site identifier. The problem with the alternative is that it doesn’t scale across the web. 

Sure, some of the larger publishers like the New York Times or the Washington Post will be able to use authentication because they are established brands with sizable existing audiences. 

But what about the small publishers who make up the long tail of the web? Well, they’ll get crushed operating under an authentication model. As the New York Times’ Senior Vice President of Ad Innovation, Allison Murphy, notes:

“While a differentiator and I’m thrilled about it, this isn’t a path available for every publisher, especially not local who don’t have the scale of resources for building from scratch.”  

More importantly, an authentication approach won’t work for most major brands. As an example, consider Nike, one of the most iconic, consumer-facing businesses in the world. Nike won’t require visitors to type in their email address. But without that email identifier to provide view-through attribution, Nike can’t measure their campaign results across publishers, even if they use authenticated targeting on the publisher sites themselves. 

Marketer’s only get to see what’s working and what isn’t in a world where cross-publisher IDs exist. In that world, Nike can conduct addressable, authenticated, people-based targeting across publisher websites, then measure campaign performance in an unauthenticated, “logged-out” state. 

In summary, authentication remains a partial solution. It will not help with measurement or optimization without the existence of cross-publisher IDs.  

Aggregate reporting APIs are often mentioned as a replacement for the real-time feedback loops marketers’ programmatic buying platforms use today. Some OS providers suggest providing reporting APIs with a built in 24-48 hour delay. Yet, given marketers will be wasting their spend proportional to any delay in feedback, the longer the time delay the greater the reduction in effectiveness which leads to lower publisher CPMs.


Last but not least, there are those who would like to replace marketer-specific audiences with generic clusters or “cohorts.” 

Cohorts assign a single audience segment to the browser, while today most browsers belong to thousands of marketer-specific audiences. 

Given millions of people will be in any cohort, they do not offer marketers the ability to understand if any of the people in a given cohort who saw advertising ever arrived at their website or store. 

Cohorts also cannot answer reach, frequency, or effectiveness questions. Marketers need those answers to allocate their budgets or change the prices they pay. The “95% claim” often repeated in the press resulted from a cohort experiment where the real-time machine learning of the DSP was allowed to use cookies to determine when to talk to a given browser belonging to a specific cohort in a given context as well as to calculate what price to pay. 

The truth about cookies and cross-pub IDs

Cookies aren’t perfect.

There are discrepancies between the buy side and the sell side related to counting systems that create problems. 

A common cross-publisher ID will eliminate these discrepancies. It will make life better for both buyers, sellers, and consumers. It will do all this by making it easier for auditors to hold bad actors accountable. 

Leading this charge is the Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media. This organization was created by the Association of National Advertisers (which consists of the world’s largest brands such as Procter and Gamble or Disney). 

PRAM and ANA support Addressable Advertising

Those advertisers are concerned about their ability to engage consumers without cross-publisher IDs. Instead of being able to reach consumers through any number potential publishers, they’ll be forced to choose to go through walled gardens. 

To learn more about this issue, please read Zeta’s blog: Explaining the Turbulence Around Addressability.

Why Relying Too Much on Existing Customers Is Dangerous

Marketers love existing customers, but do they love them too much? Here’s why you can’t overlook the acquisition of new blood.

Blog title card

When it comes to growing a business, many marketers are quick to focus on existing customers. If ‘a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’ as the old expression goes, it should be easier to squeeze additional value from previous purchasers by way of reactivation, category expansion, or an accelerated buy rate. 

However, the appetite for growth that most companies have exceeds what existing customers can satiate. Here are five reasons why relying too much on existing customers is dangerous.

They get lured away by competitors

Brand loyalty isn’t what it used to be. About half of all consumers will switch from one brand to another, if the new brand can offer them better service, better pricing, or a customer experience that better suits their expectations. Unless a brand can create a massive moat for its products and services, it’s bound to lose retention and reactivation opportunities to competitors willing to slash prices or offer a more appealing customer experience. 

They have less to spend

Cart sizes are shrinking and average order values aren’t what they used to be. According to a McKinsey study, up to 40% of consumers decreased spending on discretionary categories in the last 12 months due to financial concerns that won’t likely be relieved for several years as the global economy struggles to recover from the impact of COVID-19. Constrictions on disposable income limit what consumers can do for a brand. It means they’ll be less likely to increase their buy rate, less likely to try new (or more expensive) products, and less likely to reactivate if they’ve lapsed. 

Existing Customers have less to spend

They get tired of being pushed

At the end of the day, consumers aren’t numbers on a balance sheet—they’re people, and people can get tired of being pushed. When customers are constantly peppered with promotions to buy more (or buy new) products and services they’re bound to grow cold at some point, and when they do, they won’t be able to contribute to revenue growth. 

They start spending time elsewhere

Consumers aren’t static and they can’t be expected to stay active on one channel forever. If a brand isn’t set up to reach them no matter where they go (desktop to mobile, social to email, brick-and-mortar to ecommerce, etc.), and do so in real-time, its connection with them—along with the consumers’ loyalty for the brand—will wane. As the connection withers, it will become more and more difficult to entice current customers to spend more or step into new categories.

They’re gone for good

All customers lapse, but not all customers lapse for the same reason. Some lapse because of economic circumstances (e.g., job loss). Some lapse because of personal reasons (e.g. kids are finally potty trained). Some lapse because of a negative experience with a brand, and it’s these customers who are all but impossible to reactivate. About 90% of customers who have a bad experience with a brand will never come back, and if a customer won’t come back, they can’t contribute to revenue growth.  

You can lose Existing Customers to competitors

Want to learn more about growth, existing customers, and acquisition?

Read our Micropaper, Why Does Real Growth Always Come Down to New Customer Acquisition?

Explaining the Turbulence Around Addressability

Addressability is a hot topic right now in digital marketing circles. In this article, we’ll dig into the issue and highlight what’s at stake.

Addressability consists of three components:

  1. Engaging an audience.
  2. Measuring what happens following engagement.
  3. Improving the engagement process using the results of the measurement.

The 3 layers of addressability

To power all three of these critical functions, marketers require a consistent cross-site identifier. 

Think of the identifier as the address on the outside of an envelope: 

Addressability with identifiers as the address on an envelope

Just as the address enables the mailman to deliver an envelope to the right house, the identifier allows marketers to deliver content to a given browser (or any other web-enabled application). 

Thus this identifier (or “ID”) helps the marketer deliver their message to the right audience.

  • With email, the identifier/ID is an email address. 
  • In a browser environment, the identifier/ID is stored in a cookie. 
  • In a mobile app, the identifier/ID is a mobile advertising ID (MAID). 

Identifiers differ not just in which application or device they’re associated with. They also differ in whether they’re directly associated with a person (a.k.a, personally identifiable information) or a web-enabled device (a.k.a., pseudonymous identifiers). 

The main distinction between these two is whether there’s a way to keep a real-world identity hidden from the organization using the identifier. 

Marketers use pseudonymous identifiers for most advertising, so they don’t know the real-life identity of their audience. 

This is a critical distinction: 

Pseudonymous IDs do not equate to known identities. 

A marketer using a pseudonymous ID might know that a nameless, faceless consumer is visiting But they don’t know this consumer is named John Q. Smith, aged 47 years, living at 789 Main Street. Returning to the previous analogy, the identifier is the label on the envelope. It is how a marketer’s message (e.g., “Buy this product!”) reaches a given consumer. It is not the why

The why is explained by the “letter” inside the envelope. The letter contains the consumer’s demographics, interests, buying history, search history, and more. 

This inside-the-envelope information is what powers segmentation and audience construction. It explains why a marketer wants to engage one consumer more than another. 

A hypothetical example 

Pretend middle-class males, living in California, with gray hair, and a history of visiting Apple stores are good prospects for OtterBox. 

It’s not that being a middle-class male, living in California, with gray hair, and a history of visiting Apple stores directly ties to interest in OtterBox. Rather, it just so happens that when consumers with said characteristics look at marketing content, in a certain sequence, and at a certain frequency, they’re more likely to make a purchase from OtterBox.  

So, when a consumer uses Google Chrome to visit, OtterBox drops a cookie to create a directly identifiable ID of the visitor. 

The ID is reviewed amidst the larger set of people visiting the company’s digital properties. This includes pools of current and prospective customers. OtterBox’s marketers want to find audiences within these pools that resemble their existing customers. 

In other words, OtterBox’s marketers are going to look at the “letters” inside the “envelope.” They are going to use cross-device graphs or lookalike modeling to ascertain the likelihood of someone becoming a customer. 

Addressability is here to stay

Addressable marketing isn’t going away. 

No one is threatening the ability of walled gardens and internet gatekeepers to offer addressable marketing. 

The largest publishers will retain the ability to offer addressable advertising. 

But will the gardens and gatekeepers allow marketers to advertise across multiple publishers? 

Moreover, will they allow them to do so with the speed and competitiveness of today?

That remains to be seen, which is why the debate over addressability is NOT one of privacy. It is a debate over the future of the internet.

Consumer privacy isn’t the issue

It doesn’t matter if the cookie lives or dies, walled gardens and internet gatekeepers will continue collecting consumer’s digital activity. Moreover, they’re going to associate digital activity with the consumer’s identity—something most marketers don’t currently do. 

The walled gardens attempting to position themselves as the guardians of consumer privacy are unintentionally obscuring the truth. Walled gardens will continue to collect consumers’ personally identifiable information. They will also keep offering that information to marketers looking for real-time addressable advertising. The only thing that will change is the number of rivals the walled gardens are forced to compete with. 

Put another way, the loss of cross-publisher IDs allows walled gardens to wipe out thousands of competitors in one fell swoop.

What happens next?

The future isn’t set in stone. Many individuals and organizations are working hard to preserve the existence of an Open Web that isn’t dominated by a few walled gardens. To learn more about Zeta’s position on addressability and its impact on the future of the digital space talk to us today!

5 Hidden Costs of Incrementality

Do you know the 5 hidden costs of incrementality? Understanding these costs can be the difference between success and failure for your brand.

Do you know the 5 hidden costs of incrementality

Everything in marketing comes with a cost. But while known costs are acceptable because they can be planned for, hidden costs wreak havoc on campaigns. Therefore, it’s your responsibility as a marketer to do everything you can to avoid them. In this blog, you’ll learn about the 5 hidden costs of incrementality. Specifically, you’ll learn how they’re inherently tied to the construction of control groups, so you can use your budget in the most efficient way possible going forward. 

Opportunity cost #1 — Wasted moments

To deploy incrementality properly, your control group needs to mimic your test group. If it doesn’t, the results of your measurement will not be considered applicable to a broad audience. 

That means your control group must consist of people you WANT to talk to as a marketer under normal circumstances—just like your test group. 

For example, pretend you’re planning to advertise a product to a group of 100 ideal prospects. To evaluate your advertisement using incrementality, you also plan to withhold 10 of said prospects as a control for the test. 

That’s 10 ideal engagements you’re going to sacrifice.

In other words, your opportunity cost to use incrementality is 10%, because only 90 out of the 100 ideal prospects will see your ad. That means you’re losing $0.10 on every dollar just to measure the effectiveness of your campaign—a steep price to pay.     

Opportunity cost #2 — Lost-forever engagements

When you create a control group of ideal prospects, some of those prospects are one-and-done in the bid stream. Which means if you use incremental measurement regularly, you will likely miss your one and only chance to engage with these “great-fit” consumers. At scale, these lost engagements lead to lost sales—sales you need to boost your bottom line.  

Opportunity cost #3 — Incomplete testing

Just because an ideal prospect ends up in your test group, it doesn’t mean they’ll actually be tested. All too often, marketers assume every consumer in their test group gets exposed to the creative (e.g., a paid search ad) being tested. Unfortunately, the truth is, not everyone within a test group is reached. 

For example, assume you’re marketing a skin cream that’s popular with women between 40 and 65. These women live in sunny climates, earn more than $50,000 a year, and are browse websites related to health and wellness. 

Based on these parameters, Rachel, a 40-year-old living in Palm Springs, CA with an annual salary of $88,000 who reads and would be an ideal prospect for your campaign.

But so would Judy—a 64-year old woman in Boca Raton, FL with an annual salary of $112,000 per year who occasionally visits and 

Judy, who’s 24 years older, spends far less time on the internet than Rachel.

Rachel checks her email 3 times a day and visits her favorite websites at least once per day. Judy only checks her email and visits her favorite websites once per week. 

Both women are ideal prospects for your brand, your products, and your marketing. However, Judy’s lack of frequency when it comes to using the internet will taint whatever incremental evidence you’re trying to tease out of your measurement. 

Opportunity cost #4 — Non-representative audiences

Most marketers think they need to randomize and split their audience into a test group and a control group before measuring the lift that’s created by a given campaign. This assumption is mistaken.

Assume you create a small control group to mitigate your exposure to lost ideal engagements (opportunity cost #1). In this scenario, the sparsity of available data will make your control group overweight in one area.

For example, 50% of your control group might contain people who visit your website once a week. Whereas only 25% of your test group is composed of once-a-week individuals. If there’s a correlation between website visits and purchases—and you’re measuring for incremental lift in sales—your results are going to be inaccurate. 

Avoiding such an issue requires equal representation (ages, genders, incomes, geographies, etc.) within both audiences. That can’t be done when control groups are kept disproportionately small.  

Opportunity cost #5 — Deploying a 50/50 split

The easiest way to ensure equal representation between the test group and the control group is by taking your list of randomized ideal prospects and splitting it straight down the middle, 50-50.

This will solve for the issues raised in opportunity cost #3 and #4.

However, doing this requires sacrificing half of your ideal audience for your test. These are people you know will be a great fit for your products and services. 

You won’t be able to talk to or engage any of the consumers who fall into your control group. 

Are you willing to sacrifice  contact with ideal prospects just to measure the effectiveness of your creative or campaign?

Incrementality in summary…

Why do so many marketers do incrementality this way? Why are they OK eating these unappetizing opportunity costs?

There is no point to dividing people into buckets before running an incrementality test. They can be split into a control group and a test group after the fact.

To learn how, read our whitepaper: The Costly Mistakes Marketers Make With Incrementality Measurement.

Need something else? Talk to one of the measurement experts at Zeta.

Trends CMOs Must Prepare for in 2021 and Beyond: A Webinar Recap

The marketing industry is on the precipice of radical change. In this webinar, hear two legendary executives share their perspective on what it will take for CMOs to stay ahead of the curve.

Trends CMOs Must Prepare for in 2021 and Beyond: A Webinar Recap

The COVID-19 pandemic pushed consumers to adapt digital channels at an unprecedented pace and increased their expectations for a personalized brand experience. In this New York Times-moderated webinar, former Apple CEO and Pepsi President, John Sculley, and Zeta CEO David A. Steinberg, discuss the trends CMOs must prepare for to achieve success in 2021 and beyond. 

Read the blog below to see some of the highlights from their 45-minute conversation, or access the full-length recording of the session here

The big shift 

Marketing used to be reactionary. You delivered a message with reach and then you measured results over time.

Today, it’s proactive. You achieve success by taking massive amounts of data, developing personalized messaging, and optimizing that messaging in real time as individual consumer opinions move.   

Soapbox marketing is no more

The days of marketers standing on a soapbox to present their brand’s products and services to the world are over. You no longer hold your brand up to the world.

Instead, you create an experience that brings the world to your brand, and—association—the world to your products and services.  

Consumers think differently about the facts

People think differently about the same set of facts. They’re molded by both their previous experiences and current situations.

This reality is why brands and marketers must do everything they can to understand how individuals, not just audiences, see the world. 

Saying the right thing isn’t enough

It is no longer enough for brands to say the right thing. Truly great companies will put their money where their mouth is going forward. Their inner workings will reflect the external message they’re projecting.

Consumers will no longer accept brands that say the right thing outwardly, but fail to do the right thing inwardly. 

Append and expand to grow

First-party data is crucial because it’s owned information, but it can’t drive the growth most CMOs are looking for on its own.

The key to growth lies in how a CMO appends and expands upon their first-party data. Every CMO that isn’t focusing on the expansion of their first-party data is making a mistake. 

Adoption of the “new” is accelerating

The speed at which consumers are adopting new media and new technology is accelerating.

Case in point?—Disney+. The platform launched a little over a year ago, and in 15 months it’s  as big as Netflix. 

The future needs to be a balancing act

Digital media is in flux, and the pendulum is swinging too strongly towards anti-ad sentiments.

In the future, there needs to be a balancing act between permission, the delivery of customized advertisements, and the preservation of diverse content derived from a diverse set of publishers. 

Looking for more trends CMOs must prepare for?

Read our marketing forecast, or contact us here.

Addressing the Marketing Measurement Problem

There’s a problem with measurement that’s plaguing B2C marketers and their campaigns across industries. In this article, we drill down into what’s going wrong.

Addressing the marketing measurement problem

Marketers are sitting between a rock and hard place. Traditional performance metrics like clicks and impressions are losing their luster, but higher-value metrics like revenue and net-profit are  difficult to obtain. This is the essence of the marketing measurement problem.

As a result, getting budgets approved is becoming more difficult by the day. CFOs want evidence that marketing spend will create value for the company before making a financial commitment. 

That means the onus is on you—the marketer—to draw a straight line between your campaigns and the cash coming into company coffers. 

Traditional marketing measurement doesn’t paint a clear picture

Imagine spending $1000 on a Facebook ad that will be shown to 5,000 people.

In the week following the launch of the ad, your company records 10 sales derived from Facebook, each worth $500 (for a total of $5,000 in revenue).

Using a traditional evaluation metric like return-on-ad-spend (ROAS), you might tell your CFO that the ad campaign was a screaming success. After all, you spent $1,000 and generated $5,000—a 5:1 ROAS.

But this is where a classic marketing metric like ROAS misses the mark because it’s not telling the full story. 

ROAS assigns you and your ad 100% of the credit for each of the 10 sales.

But should you get all the credit? What if 9 of the 10 sales credited to your campaign would have happened no matter what? What if those 9 customers were planning to buy your product anyway, long before they were ever exposed to your ad? 

Examined through that lens, you spent $1,000 to generate a single, net-new sale worth $500. That’s a -$500 return-on-ad-spend. 

Is that a result you’d be excited to share with your CFO?—Probably not.  

Incrementality addresses the marketing measurement problem

Incrementality measurement is how you go about obtaining the true results of any marketing initiative you run (like the hypothetical campaign referenced in the preceding section). Using incrementality measurement, a marketer can determine the exact influence (i.e., the incremental benefit) in achieving their desired business outcome (e.g., more revenue). It measures the true lift of your campaign against your stated goals. 

Put another way, incrementality matters because it replaces inferior forms of measurement such as media mix modeling, attribution measurement, and panel-based measurement. 

(If you need a refresher on incrementality measurement, read this blog: What Is Incrementality Measurement and How Does it Work?)

Incrementality is difficult to do well

Most marketers eat hidden costs when it comes to incremental measurement. Most of these costs are related to the use of control groups. 

As just one example, imagine you have a group of 100 ideal prospects.

However, for the sake of incrementally evaluating your campaign, you withhold 10 of those prospects as a control group. 

That’s 10 ideal engagements that you’re sacrificing for the sake of your test. In this scenario, you’re eating a 10% opportunity cost because only 90% of your ideal prospects will see your marketing (rather than 100%). 

Put another way, you’re losing $0.10 on every potential dollar just to measure the true effectiveness of your campaign—that’s a steep price to pay for an experiment. 

The good news is, these and other costs can be entirely avoided through the use of always-on incrementality.     

Always-on incrementality

Every marketer wants to use their limited resources in the most effective, ROI-generating way possible—that’s why they try to use incrementality measurement in the first place. 

But even within the world of incrementality, there’s a right way and a wrong way to get the job done. The right way will help you make the most of your money and ensure you’re not paying expensive opportunity costs just to measure the performance of your campaigns. The wrong way will see you, your campaigns, and your brand get burned in the long run. 

Always-on incrementality—an ever-evolving feedback loop that optimizes client campaigns based on real-time inputs derived from regular incrementality measurement—is the right way.

To learn more about always-on incrementality, and how you can bring it to your organization, please ready our whitepaper: The Costly Mistake Marketers Make With Incrementality Measurement.

What Is Incrementality Measurement and How Does It Work?

Read this blog to obtain a clearer picture of incrementality measurement—what it is, how it works, and why it matters for marketing professionals like you!

What is incrementality measurement

If you’ve ever asked yourself what is incrementality measurement, you’re in the right place.  Incrementality measurement is how you determine the lift your campaign generates above existing consumer demand. 

Existing (baseline) demand is the demand consumers demonstrate for your brand when they’re NOT exposed to your marketing or advertising. It is demand that exists as a result of non-marketing factors like basic needs (e.g. thirst), established brand awareness (e.g. Coca-Cola), or external factors (e.g. a social media influencer like Kim Kardashian mentioning Coke Zero to her 192 million Instagram followers). 

With incrementality measurement, you’re trying to determine how much additional, non-native demand your marketing creates for your products or services. The difference between the native demand and the non-native demand generated by your campaign is the “incremental lift.”

Make sense so far?

Consider a hypothetical example…

Imagine your marketing team is running a campaign for Dr. Pepper. 

In the consumer market, there are a number of shoppers who faithfully purchase Dr. Pepper whenever they crave soda. These “brand loyalists” might be exposed to the messaging of your marketing campaign, but that messaging holds no sway over their buying decision. These people are going to buy Dr. Pepper whether they see your marketing materials or not—they love Dr. Pepper, period.

From an ROI standpoint, marketing to these Dr. Pepper fans (versus trying to attract new customers) will drive less revenue. These consumers don’t need to be persuaded to buy the product because they already have a case of Dr. Pepper in their shopping cart every time they go to the grocery store. 

Your marketing team shouldn’t incorporate sales derived from this “loyalist” audience into its campaign evaluation process. What your marketing team wants to do is measure the incremental lift in sales generated by your campaign (the “extra” sales from “non-loyalists” who would not have purchased Dr. Pepper if not for the hard work of your marketing team).

By measuring the background conversion rate of shoppers NOT exposed to any of your marketing (Group A), you can better understand normal consumer purchasing behavior for Dr. Pepper. You can then compare that behavior to the behavior of shoppers who ARE exposed to your marketing (Group B). 

The difference in purchases between the marketed-to population (Group B) and the non-marketed-to population (Group A) is the true measure of performance for your marketing campaign.  

If you can demonstrate an incremental increase in purchases for the marketed-to population, you’ll know your campaign worked. 

But if you can’t demonstrate an incremental increase in purchases for the marketed-to population, you’ll know your campaign had no impact.

Understanding versus execution

Even if you now understand incrementality measurement, there’s no guarantee you’ll use it correctly in your business for the simple fact it’s difficult to do. There are a lot of moving pieces to consider, including:

  • Determining what KPI to measure for
  • Determining how to measure the control vs the exposed groups 
  • Running a real-life campaign, exposing the test group to marketing creative
  • Measuring the incremental KPI lift that is either created or not created in the test group

To learn more about incrementality measurement and how you can use it successfully for your business, please read our whitepaper: The Costly Mistakes Marketers Make With Incrementality Measurement

Why Email Can’t Be Overlooked for Customer Acquisition

Even in the midst of an increasingly dynamic technology landscape, email is the backbone of modern customer acquisition.

Why email can't be overlooked for customer acquisition blog

In a world where consumers are being bombarded with ads and marketing messages, it’s getting harder and harder for brands to stand out from the crowd. As such, many digital marketers feel pressured to adapt new, unproven strategies to reach the right prospects and hit their customer acquisition goals. But is this wise?—Probably not. The truth is, it’s the tried-and-true methods of reaching people that still perform the best when it comes to converting prospects into customers. Which is why—even in the midst of an increasingly dynamic technology landscape, where consumers enjoy so many avenues to purchase—it’s email that still forms the backbone of modern customer acquisition.   

Email is ubiquitous tool for communication

Email is one of the most intuitive, inexpensive, and widely available modes of modern communication. It is as convenient for consumers to use (low-barriers to entry) as it is for businesses, and when it comes to marketing reach, it can be virtually limitless depending upon a brand’s access to first- or third-party data.

Email is effective—really, really effective 

As far as marketing channels go, none is as across-the-board effective at transforming consumers into customers as email. Email helps marketers reach people with timely messaging that encourages them to shop in-store and online. Moreover, email makes it simple for brands to stay top-of-mind with prospects, which not only increases the likelihood of direct sales, but it also broadens general consumer awareness (increasing the possibility of indirect or referral sales). It is that kind of efficacy that allows email to drive the best ROI of any channel available to marketers. 

Email acquisition is fast to set up, execute, and optimize

Compared to many other modes of new customer acquisition, email is quicker to set up, run, and optimize. Much of this speed is derived from AI, which makes personalizing email content content and product offerings based on individual interests, demographics, and real-time behaviors (pulled from continuously updated consumer profiles) a snap. Always-on predictive insights allow marketers to effortlessly optimize everything from the subject line and template design, to send time and send frequency. The best platforms for email acquisition will also accommodate enterprise-level volume, provide advanced sequencing, and offer continuous optimization so it’s straightforward to both acquire new customers and engage current ones.

Email offers marketers incredible personalization

Personalization greatly influences customer acquisition—the more personalized the message, the more likely it is to resonate with the consumer. And the more resonance a marketing message can create, the better its odds of transforming a consumer into a paying customer. In terms of reaching potential customers at scale and in a personalized way, few if any digital marketing mediums can compete with email. With email, marketers can personalize content based on a long list of factors including: content consumption, transaction history, location data, gender, age, and more, making it easy to provide hyper-relevant content to prospective customers at just the right moment in time.

Email is what people want

A personalized brand message or promotion is great—but if it isn’t delivered in the channel people want to see it, it’s going to fall flat. As far as marketing goes, the one channel consumers consistently prefer over all others is email. Why? Well, here are a few reasons. In addition to being flexible enough to adapt to the experiential preferences of an individual consumer (e.g., adjusting for dark mode), it’s easy to personalize, it isn’t restricted to arbitrary character limits (e.g., a sponsored post on Twitter), it requires more thoughtful consideration to produce than other forms of content (e.g. SEM advertisements), and it comes with certain protections (e.g., authentication checks, etc.) that make people feel more at ease it comes to engagement.

Email is more necessary than ever

One of the reasons digital is such an effective medium for customer acquisition is its connection to identity technology. This is especially true as consumers spend more time on an ever-widening array of digital devices and channels. Without identifiers, marketers would struggle to understand how their spend drives everything from engagement to acquisition to incremental revenue. The threatened loss of the cross-domain IDs (as announced by Google) and mobile-ad IDs (a.k.a. MAIDs, as announced by Apple) means marketers may soon be without one of their most effective weapons in the fight for new customers. So, where does email fit in the picture? Well, if cross-domain IDs and MAIDs disappear, email will be one of the few suitable identifiers left for marketers to tap into for customer acquisition. 

Using email as an identifier (as part of a broader, integrated acquisition platform) will allow marketer to be more responsive in their communication with prospects, provide more consistent messaging, and be more accurate in measuring results. Coupled with AI, marketers will retain the ability to personalize at scale, and more rapidly adapt to changing consumer engagement patterns. Would email be a perfect replacement for cross-domain IDs and MAIDs?—Of course not, but it will certainly help alleviate some of the pain marketers might otherwise feel.  

Customer acquisition is important. We’re here to help.

Talk to Zeta—Our experience using email as either a standalone acquisition solution or as part of a broader, omnichannel acquisition approach is second-to-none. Whether you need advice, actionable insights, or straight up results, the acquisition experts at Zeta are here to help.

Zeta Global Announces Successful Completion of Debt Refinancing

New term loan carries significantly lower interest rate, provides Company with additional capital and facilitates repayment of outstanding debt.

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NEW YORK, NY – March 1, 2021 – Zeta Global, a marketing technology company that leverages unique data and predictive AI to help brands acquire, grow and retain customers, today announced that it has successfully closed a $222.5 million loan facility to provide additional capital to pursue new initiatives. This new debt is a combination of Term Loan A and Revolving Credit Facility, which gives the company increased flexibility.

“We are pleased to announce this refinancing, in conjunction with our banking partners, which serve a number of long-term advantages for Zeta’s business,” said David A. Steinberg, Zeta Global Co-Founder, Chairman, and CEO. “This will generate significant savings by reducing our interest by less than half the cost of previous loans and provide us with additional capital, which will serve to further expand Zeta’s cutting-edge capabilities. As we continue to improve the Company’s capital structure, we are working hard on new initiatives and are excited about the next chapter of Zeta.”

Previously, Zeta’s loans have been utilized as working capital to complete successful acquisitions and integrations of companies including AI pioneer BoomTrain, publisher commenting platform Disqus, content intelligence platform Temnos, and advertising suite platform Sizmek. All have strengthened the technology and data capabilities of the Zeta Marketing Platform, making it one of the leading marketing technology platforms in the industry today.

Chris Greiner, Chief Financial Officer states, “The strategic refinancing is a proactive step that meaningfully improves Zeta’s overall capital structure and strengthens our liquidity, reduces our borrowing costs and provides us with additional financial flexibility. We appreciate the continued support from our banking partners who see an abundance of opportunity in the future of our business.”

BofA Securities, Inc. served as Lead Arranger and Bookrunner. Barclays, Credit Suisse, and Morgan Stanley Senior Funding, Inc. are also participants in the facility. Matthews South served as the financial advisor to Zeta.


Zeta Global is a data-powered marketing technology company that combines one of the industry’s largest consumer data sets (2.4B+ global identifiers) with results-driven artificial intelligence to unlock consumer intent, personalize experiences, and power business growth for Fortune 1000 companies, such as GM, Wyndham, Sprint and Progressive. Zeta has been recognized as a Leader in the Forrester Wave™ and competes with marketing cloud offerings from Oracle, SAP, Salesforce and Adobe as well as programmatic platforms including The Trade Desk. Founded in 2007 by David A. Steinberg and John Sculley, the Company is headquartered in New York City. For more information, please go to