What distinguishes the internet is the extensive level of information
about ordinary people that it possesses. Facebook can reveal what people are
interested in, where they go online, what apps they use, and who their friends
are. Twitter can tell who they follow and what they follow. Google knows what
they search. LinkedIn knows their resume and their work life connections. The
makers of the operating systems of their mobile devices can tell what apps they
have downloaded, and online (as well as offline) retailers, know what they buy
and their credit card numbers.
Another key advantage of the net is the ability to personalize and channel advertising
to the individual (device). Unlike TV where all those watching a programme get to see the same
advertisements, on the net the ad server may direct different advertisement to
different browsers. This customization allows advertisers to finely target
their advertisements to increase the effectiveness of the ad.
Advertisers use the following approaches, among
others, to target viewers:
- Behavioural targeting: By collecting data about a viewer’s online
behaviour, across several websites, advertisers are able to create a picture of
the viewer’s interests, and direct advertisements that relate to these
- Retargeting (aka behavioural retargeting or behavioural remarketing) is online
advertising targeted to consumers, particularly those who, by their actions on the marketer’s website,
expressed interest but did not convert. Those relevant actions taken by a prospective user are captured
by means of a tag, which sets a cookie in the prospect’s browser. The advertiser can then “follow” the
prospect on the net and direct ads via an ad exchange.
- Demographic targeting.
- Geotargeting (geographic
location using for instance, the Internet Protocol [IP] address or a phone’s
Global Positioning System [GPS] receiver).
targeting: Advertisers may group viewers according to traits that allude to
their objectives. For instance landing pages, or traffic sources (i.e.
referring site), keywords searched, or event based (e.g. filling a form, or
buying something). This information may be used for delivering relevant
- Access to user profiles on social
networks allow for targeting based on a wide variety of interests, activities,
skill sets, behaviours and more granular demographics.
- Contextual/semantic targeting is used when advertiser choose to deliver ads that relate to the content of the web
page where the ads appear. Though on a large
scale this might not be easy, advertisers would be keen to place their ads in
brand-additive environments that are aligned to their brand’s core values. They
would also harbour concerns about brand safety. The appearance of an ad next to
questionable or inharmonious content not only detracts from the brand message
but can also have a detrimental impact on the brand image. For example, if an
ad for a chocolate runs next to news on obesity, the impact of the ad is likely
to be unfavourable. (Misplacement of ads is a problem that social media platform
are struggling with. In March 2017 a number of big organizations, including GSK,
Pepsi, Walmart, Johnson & Johnson, The Guardian and Walmart pulled their ads out
from Google after they appeared next to videos promoting extremist views or hate
- Interest targeting aims at specific audiences based on their self-reported interests,
abilities, activities, browsing history and so on.
audiences: On social networks, advertisers can target consumers known to them (i.e.,
sourced from CRM database) by suppling contact details such as email addresses,
phone numbers etc.
- Lookalike Audiences: Advertisers
may also target prospects that match the profile of some other group of people,
for instance, a high-value customer segment.
- Connection targeting: Access
to social graphs on social platforms, allows advertisers to target prospects
who are connected by page, app, group, or event.
Effective targeting increases the relevance of
advertising to viewers, thus improving the advertiser’s return on investment. There are limitations particularly when IP addresses
are employed for targeting audiences, or even when a cookie or web storage is
used. Social networks, however, are blessed with extensive information that
their users are prepared to share, and they do not need to rely on these
methods to craft the identities of their users.
Internet advertising is also highly transparent.
Advertising platforms allow marketers to track and measure the performance of
their ad campaigns by means of analytic tools that trace users as they click
the ad and traverse the destination site. Advertisers are able to gauge the
number of leads and increase in sales resulting from the ads.
Note: To find content on MarketingMind type the acronym ‘MM’ followed by your query
into the search bar. For example, if you enter ‘mm consumer analytics’ into Chrome’s search
bar, relevant pages from MarketingMind will appear in Google’s result pages.