Introducing Trait Activation: improve advertising ROI with better match rates

Trait Activation empowers marketers to enhance audience match rates, personalize messaging content, and streamline identifier management, ultimately optimizing advertising ROI and reducing operational costs while ensuring privacy-conscious data use.

By Gandhar Tannu

Thousands of businesses leverage Twilio Segment to reach the right audiences and maximize their advertising ROI by personalizing ads at scale, creating multi-channel journeys with real-time data, and applying robust privacy controls. And to improve that experience, we announced Trait Activation, which enables marketers to build better audiences using first-party data and increase Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). 

With this new capability, in just a few clicks, marketers can use traits to improve user identification in their advertising platforms. This improves match rates, allowing you to build more accurate audiences for your ad campaigns. 

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Use cases

Trait Activation relies on three existing Segment capabilities. The first one is Segment Profiles, which gives you a complete view of your customer. Second is profile enrichment, which allows you to add contact information, device identifiers, or other personalized details such as LTV, churn, etc. using traits. And finally, Audiences lets you group users based on their behavior on your platform. 

Trait Activation puts these three capabilities together, and then serves that information to downstream platforms, making it easier to configure and enrich audience event payloads. The capability unlocks three key use cases:

  1. Increase match rates in advertising destinations

  2. Personalize messaging content

  3. Configure how identifiers are sent to destinations

Better match rates

Advertising platforms attempt to identify users in their platform based on data. Trait Activation builds on Segment’s ability to provide clean, consented, high-quality data to ad platforms. 

You can now configure and send first-party data such as contact information (phone number, email address), device identifiers, or platform identifiers to those advertising platforms. These traits improve the likelihood of identifying platform users you’ve interacted with, or those you want to reach. For example, a user may use the same phone number when signing up with you and the advertising platform. Improving match rates for paid social channels such as Facebook and Google Ads Remarketing List is critical in optimizing advertising spend, a major budget item for many marketing teams. During our Beta, customers that used Trait Activation saw match rates improve by up to 30%.


Personalize messaging content

Journeys, a feature of Engage, provides a way for marketers to personalize experiences by planning how and when to engage customers with the right campaigns and messages. Trait Activation lets you enrich traits for Journey payloads to ensure the most up-to-date, accurate data for personalization. We have built this capability with privacy in mind, supporting the capability to restrict access to PII data.


Configure how identifiers are sent to destinations

Segment Profiles can have many identifiers. For example, consider how many email addresses one customer might have – their university email, personal email, previous employer email, and current employer email. 

When a Profile enters or exits the audience criteria, one event is sent per identifier (in our example, 5 emails). If the same Profile is part of multiple audiences and journeys, the volume of events sent increases. If the Profile in our previous example is part of 3 audiences connected to 3 destinations, then 5x3x3=45 events are sent every time the Profile enters or exits an Audience criteria. This amplification could increase your operational costs. Trait Activation lets you choose a strategy for which identifier should be sent downstream, reducing amplification and cutting down on operational costs. 


Getting started

Trait Activation is an important capability to help marketers improve advertising ROI and ROAS and is available with Engage Foundations at no extra cost. You can get started in minutes, using our Trait Activation setup guide. We cannot wait to see what this unlocks for your organization!

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