Common sense is still the best tool for online targeting.
Since the placement of many online campaigns can be so automated, it may be advisable to relinquish some targeting opportunities, in order to avoid showing your ad in the entirely wrong place.
Online targeting technology continues to evolve, with innovative ways to reach your target audience and make your information more relevant.
Before you jump on the next new way to reach your target audience, we urge you to take a step back and think about how this could actually play out.
1. Question New Technology
Express recently used a technology called “in-image advertising” with Yahoo! News. This allows an advertiser to promote their products when similar items are featured in a news story image. Pretty cool, right?
This could be an interesting opportunity if we were talking about the chance to “Get The Look” of a famous celebrity. Unfortunately, their new scarf was similar to one worn by an Afghan militant, in a story about a bloody attack in Afghanistan.
The problem here is that no advertiser, using this type technology, could avoid this situation. So, we don’t fault Express, because this is bound to happen when online efforts are not clearly defined.
If you are interested in using this type of technology, ask if there are ways to refine the campaign to only include certain types of news stories, like entertainment or only include certain individuals. If you can’t adjust the parameters, you may want to consider other targeting options.
2. Contextual Targeting
This type of blunder can also happen when using contextual targeting, which will allow an advertiser to include inventory that is contextually relevant to the company or the campaign.
The example below shows an unfortunate placement for an Olive Garden ad, presumably as a result of a contextually targeted campaign.
This often happens to car manufacturers and airline companies when their ads are featured in a story about an accident or airplane crash.
There isn’t any way to predict the news or foresee every possible situation. But, as you complete your online campaign contract, think about what this type of targeting actually means. Is it worth the risk of placing your ad in the wrong place, just to reach someone that is reading something possibly relevant? Maybe not.
Consider other targeting options like geographic targeting, behavioral targeting or re-targeting. Behavioral targeting will reach those who have searched for information related to your product, and re-targeting will reach those who have previously visited your website. These can be safer alternatives to a contextual campaign, with key words like your company name or product.
3. Know Your Site List
Finally, consider the sites you include. Treat your online buy with the same care you would with a traditional local media campaign.
In the example below, White Castle was promoting their new pork menu item. If this were a traditional media buy, they would not spend their money to sell this product in Jewish publications, so why include this group of sites in an online campaign?
Of course, when you are placing a buy with a large ad network, this could mean over 5,000 sites, and it is impossible to check every one. But, discuss the creative execution and campaign objectives with your sales rep. And, remove any categories or sites that do not fit your target demographic.
Ultimately, you need to keep your campaign objectives in mind while negotiating your online contracts.
Don’t get caught up in all of the targeting options and new technology, and don’t leave your common sense at the door.