Marketing’s Weekly Dose of the Truth

Ken Magill

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Vendor Spotlight: Fluent

5/26/15
 
By Ken Magill
 
The folks at cost-per-lead customer-acquisition firm Fluent claim they can deliver quality opted-in email addresses at high volume.
 
The company boasts a network of just over 500 websites where people register for things such as sweepstakes and fantasy sports.
 
“Fluent helps B-to-C [business-to-consumer] marketers acquire their best customers with precision at a massive scale,” said Jordan Cohen, Fluent’s chief marketing officer. “We’re spear fishing, not net fishing, but we’re also able to do this at a tremendous scale. When we do presentations, people lean in when we talk about the numbers that we’re driving. That’s what differentiates us in a somewhat crowded marketplace.”
 
Cohen added Fluent has some retail clients for whom the company is driving north of 20,000 email opt ins per day.
 
“Acquiring new customers is the top challenge marketers face,” he said. “It can be extremely costly and complex.”
 
He also said while most performance-based advertising solutions tend to focus on a single vertical such as finance, Fluent is vertical agnostic.
 
“We believe we are the leading integrated one-stop solution for performance-based advertising,” he said. “As long as you’re selling to consumers, we can help. What we don’t do is B-to-B [business-to-business].”
 
Fluent has advertising partnerships with premium publishers such as Hearst, but the company also operates its own media properties, he said.
 
“They are very commercial in nature,” Cohen said. “They are designed to appeal to consumers who are looking for samples, coupons, loyalty rewards and sweepstakes. They’re in a mindset where they want to interact with brands.
 
“The properties are not designed for entertainment, like ‘The 10 Cutest Animals with Hats’ where you see an ad for Southwest Airlines,” Cohen said.
 
“When a consumer comes to a website for, say, samples, we ask them to register,” he said. “At that moment we’re able to see if we already know this person. We have first-party data on approaching 100 million North American consumers. We have geographic, HHI [household income] age, gender presence of children, all sorts of things.”
 
Fluent uses its consumer data to determine if those registering match the profiles of its clients’ best customers.
 
“We marry what we know about the person with survey responses, and this is where we get more to real-time intent,” Cohen said. “It’s one thing for a consumer to meet a marketer’s profile. It’s another for that consumer to meet that marketer’s profile and also be in the market right now for that product. We might ask ‘Do you own a car? or ‘Are you planning on taking a trip in the next three months?’”
 
Fluent then delivers offers based on the consumer’s profile and his or her intent, said Cohen.
 
“It could be consumer-packaged-goods coupons, an application for insurance or a credit card, or sign up for emails from retailer A, B or C,” he said. 
 
If the consumer responds by handing over an email address, Fluent validates the address using email validation firm BriteVerify and delivers the address to the client’s email service provider in real time along with a signal for that ESP to send the new subscriber a “welcome” message, Cohen added.
 
Fluent also has the ESPs de-duplicate addresses so clients aren’t paying for customers they already have, said Cohen.
 
Fluent solicits feedback from clients on which addresses are performing best based on metrics the clients care about most, Cohen said.
 
“It could be conversions or who is clicking the most. Whatever KPIs [key performance indicators] are most interesting to the advertiser,” he said. Fluent then uses the feedback to adjust its ongoing campaigns, Cohen said.
 
“It feeds into how our media team targets users so we’re targeting lookalikes of people who actually converted,” he said. “This is another key differentiator for Fluent. We’re optimizing based on individual consumer profiles where the legacy approach is to optimize based on sources. … This approach allows us to reach any good profile based on who they are as an individual as opposed to what URL they’re on at the moment.”
 
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