July 25, 2016

Advertising Is All About Targeting

  • Subline: Please stop wasting my time and money, good sir
This ad, on the KELO website, targets KELOLAND readers who are located in the areas of eastern South Dakota serve by Prairie Lakes Healthcare System. This ad, on the KELO website, targets KELOLAND readers who are located in the areas of eastern South Dakota serve by Prairie Lakes Healthcare System.

For the first 150 or so years of advertising in the U.S., companies used their giant megaphones (radio, television, outdoor) to tell you why you should buy, consume or take part in whatever product, service or experience they were selling. However, advertisers have realized this method creates a ton of waste and, considering the technology available today, that clearly shouldn’t be the case.

Take for example, a national television ad that can run well into the six figures. This blanket megaphone approach means advertisers may well be reaching their core target audience with their message, but it also means they are paying a whole bunch of money to reach a whole lot more people who may not have any interest or need for their product or service at all.

And that just seems silly.

Aim for your target

Digital advertising has the advantage in that you can specifically target consumers on a variety of factors, including age, income, gender, location, hyperlocation, marriage status, browsing interests and many more defining characteristics. This is one of the big reasons (along with people spending more time online than all other forms of media, combined) digital media buys are skyrocketing. Traditional forms of media are suffering. Digital advertising is projected to account for 35 percent of total marketing budgets in 2016.

Businesses and advertisers want to be able to target their ads to people they can realistically convert into consumers. They don’t want to waste a bunch of time and money on those people they can’t convert.

Mass media playing catch-up

Traditional forms of media are now playing catch-up, offering solutions that allow advertisers to select who, when and where their ads run based on personalized data, not just age groups.

Likewise with digital, many advertisers are trying to better track how online advertising affects offline sales at traditional brick-and-mortar locations. Google and many other companies are developing tracking programs based on information in the cloud to determine better results.

Driven by data

At the end of the day, better technology means better data, and better data means advertisers will be able to better target ads to likely consumers. This is a good news for everyone. Maybe one day I’ll finally see my last ad for feminine hygiene products.