Let's face it: there's quite a bit of negative sentiment surrounding ad targeting. It’s not uncommon for consumers to complain that collecting information from their individual browsing behaviors, such as page visits and searches, to optimally select which advertisements they see, is invasive and, some might even say, “creepy.” But we tend to agree with marketing blogger Eric Anderson's perception that ad targeting is actually good for both marketers and consumers. The reason consumers don’t realize this is because the targeted ads themselves aren't often designed with the consumer in mind.
So what can you do to make your targeted ads more effective? Here are the big 3 points you should consider:
1. Give Consumers Content They Care About
In his blog post , Anderson gives an example of poor ad targeting, explaining that after he bought fishing equipment from a particular company, he was continually bombarded with ads from that company about their fishing equipment. Clearly, he already knew that they sell fishing gear, since he'd already bought some from them. “By treating me like a slot machine that has to be fed quarters," he commented, "they’re missing a great opportunity to pique my loyalty with rich brand experiences, fishing tips, videos, destination ideas, etc.”
Marketing Takeaway: Consumers want new, fresh content . Instead of telling them what they already know, use targeted ads as an opportunity to provide consumers with new information and other offers that might interest them based on their previous buying and browsing behaviors. Make it clear to your customers that you care about them by giving them content that is carefully targeted toward what they would want to see in an ad.
2. Avoid Boring Creative
After all, the reason they call it “creative” is because it should be exciting, attention-grabbing, and anything but boring. Anderson exemplifies the viewpoint of the consumer as he explains, “I give up all sorts of personal data without hesitation when I install apps on my phone because the apps delight me. They’re fun. When was the last time an online ad delighted you?” We all know that ads are easy to ignore, so for a targeted ad to perform well, it has to really stand out from the rest.
Marketing Takeaway: Make your ads eye-catching . Do something different. If you’re going to spend time and money on your ads anyway, you might as well invest a little more to make sure they’re designed well enough to make consumers want to click on them and see what your offer is all about.
3. Set a Cap on Frequency
You need to remember that, while proper ad targeting should provide a benefit to your customers, too much of it will most likely have the opposite effect. Consider the perspective of a consumer (you are undoubtedly one yourself as well), and think about how annoyed you would be if you were constantly served the same ad on dozens of different websites.
Anderson demonstrates his frustration with such extreme ad targeting, saying, “It would be very easy, in any ad server, to set an optimal frequency cap to prevent this headache-inducing waste. Yet many advertisers seem willing to follow the same prospects ad nauseam, reasoning that it’s worth a little annoyance to eke out better performance.” The lesson here? It’s not worth it.
Marketing Takeaway: Don’t bombard your customers with ads . It’s the quality, not the quantity, that makes an ad effective. Use the tools in your campaign management system to limit the number of times a given ad will appear for each consumer. Your customers will be far less annoyed, making them much more likely to want to hear about what you have to offer them.
Combine these 3 tips, and you could dramatically increase the effectiveness of your targeted ads, simply by making your customers happier to see them.
What strategies do you use for designing targeted ads? Do you find that these strategies are effective for increasing click-through rates?