North American Advertisers Increase People-Based Media Buys to Improve Digital Advertising Results in a Cross-Device World

First-ever survey of people-based ads highlights need for new addressable options to engage with consumers on more media platforms

CHICAGO, IL – Adoption of people-based advertising among North American brands and media buyers is rising quickly as they experience superior return on ad spend from addressable media campaigns. This is among the key findings of the first-ever North American survey on the topic of addressable media. The survey was conducted by Econsultancy and Signal, a global leader in real-time, people-based marketing.

The report, “People-Based Advertising: Evaluating the impact and future of addressable media,” found that the majority of advertisers and media buyers have embraced people-based advertising; nearly 7 in 10 advertisers reported that they have used Facebook Custom Audiences. A significant majority plan to increase people-based advertising buys even further in 2016.

  • 92% of media buyers said that they and their clients are increasing people-based media buys.
  • Nearly 1 in 2 media buyers plan to grow their people-based buys quickly.
  • 67% of advertisers plan to increase their spending on people-based campaigns.

The increased demand for people-based advertising underscores the need for new addressable media options that enable advertisers to execute people-based advertising everywhere consumers engage with digital media.

“People-based advertising removes the guesswork from digital media. When advertisers achieve the power of knowing who they are targeting, they can reduce wasted ad spend, show relevant messages to consumers, and ultimately improve return on ad investments. As brands and media buyers realize these benefits, it’s not surprising that they want to do more people-based marketing to reach customers with relevant experiences wherever they are,” said Mike Sands, CEO, Signal.

Advertisers are increasing people-based advertising because it solves the problem of knowing exactly who they are targeting across devices. The report found that early adopters of a people-based approach are reaping the competitive advantages of higher performance and return on ad spend.

  • 83% of media buyers report superior performance across their clients using people-based targeting, compared to traditional digital media buys.
  • 63% of advertisers report higher click-through rates with people-based ads.
  • 60% report higher conversion rates.

“In today’s cross-device world, where web-based cookies don’t work in many mobile and connected device environments, marketers need a way to reach known customers with personalized, one-to-one messages. Flexible, open addressable media solutions will provide the way forward for advertisers to reach their customers with relevant messages, at the right place, in real-time,” said Marc Kiven, Founder and CRO, Signal.

While people-based marketing is relatively new, it has caught on quickly; 68% of advertiser respondents reported that they are familiar with the concept. Not only are advertisers aware of this new strategic discipline, but they’re already putting a significant amount of budget towards it. One-quarter of media buyers report that their clients spend more than half of their budgets on people-based marketing.

The research confirmed that advertisers may be looking for addressable media options outside of closed platforms.  For instance, 78% of respondents are concerned with data governance when working within walled gardens, 74% are troubled by the customer data they’re handing over in the process, and 77% say that because walled gardens don’t give back user-level data, they are concerned about not being able to properly close the loop on attribution.

The report is based on an online survey of 350 senior North American marketers and media buyers with moderate to high online ad budgets. To download the complete study, visit here.

About Signal

Signal is a global leader in real-time people-based marketing. With one platform, Signal’s integrated technology combines data collection, persistent identification, data onboarding and media activation for real-time cross-channel engagement. By leveraging Signal’s platform, brands and publishers gain immediate knowledge of buyers, access to high quality audiences and a simplified activation process to engage consumers within minutes of recognition.

Today, Signal’s technology runs on more than 45,000 digital properties in 158 countries. The platform facilitates billions of data requests monthly, supporting top brands around the world that generate more than $1.5 trillion in commerce, including Allstate, Audi, Crate & Barrel, DeVry University, GAP, JetBlue Airways, Macy’s,, Starcom MediaVest Group, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, and many more.

Signal has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including being named the third-fastest growing software company in the country, and the 51st-fastest growing company overall, on the 2015 Inc. 5000 list. Visit to learn more and follow Signal on LinkedIn and Twitter.