Red Ping

All things digital...

  • 2nd September
  • 02

Does that little black dress follow you around the web?

After reading a Q&A with Struq CEO Sam Barnett (eConsultancy), a couple of thoughts on dynamic ad targeting began bouncing around in my head.

Before reading, my first thought with dynamic ads has been around the impending EU legislation with cookies (coming into play in 2012). How will ads continue to function accurately without the use of a cookie?

The AdChoices programme. This seems to be a great service for consumers who use the online channel frequently and want to opt-in or out of certain services.

So what is ad targeting all about?
According to Sam Barnett, it is about reconnecting with consumers with a creative ad that has been personalised to them.

But, are all ads re-targeting? 
In short, no.
Barnett briefly mentions PRE:Targeting, whereby a consumer is delivered an ad that they are new in-market users.

The concept of PRE:Targeting commonly works around search traffic, and identifies a new user by looking at what they are actively in-market for. This tends to be driven from searches within providers, and not at search engine level.

An example is a user looking at a hotel in Paris for two week on a travel comparison site. The user would then be served PRE:Targeting ads for just hotels in that area. A new user in-market.

So, that makes RE:Targeting only delivering ads to user that has already visited the retailers site and is actively looking at certain product(s).

To me, there are two main concerns surrounding targeting:

  • Privacy
  • Brand image 

Let’s look at these and see if really, they aren’t issues as such, but areas for monitoring.

Firstly, privacy.
It is very easy to see why a consumer who potential has far less knowledge of online marketing and ecommerce could see such ads as some kind of privacy invasion.

The way to quash this. Education and control.

Thanks to AdChoice, the consumer can easily op-in or out of such activity. Giving them the option to easily select their preferences for not just the machine, but based on the individual retailers can work wonders in smoothing the relationship. Struq found that of all opt-out’s, 10% choose to opt back in each month. 

Control really does provide re-assurance.

What about education? 
If a consumer knew that by blocking cookies, they wouldn’t be able to get their cashback (for example), it wouldn’t be long before they would be back permitting them.

So with delivering ads it’s just the same. Educate the user as to why it would be beneficial to see ads of products they specifically and actively are browsing.

With the knowledge of being able to control the ads by retailer, consumers can become much more comfortable with the way in which ads are selected and delivered.

Now, brand image.

What the retailer really doesn’t want is lower the brand image, but can targeted ads really do this?

Yes. Yes they can. If an ad is delivered too frequently or too far after the user has been in-market, this doesn’t portray the best consumer awareness. Nothing looks worse than showing the little black dress a few hours after they’ve bought it.

Barnett touches on frequency capping commenting that “advertisers know that their ads are only shown to in market users the optimal number of times to turn them into a post click conversion. As soon as a user exceeds the number of ads to be shown to convert them into a post click conversion, or that user is out of the market, the user will no longer receive ads”.

The critical cut off point for delivering ads ONLY while a user is in-market, and without bombarding them, will be the underlying success of the online ad targeting campaign and the continuation of your existing brand image.

With an increasing number of providers in this area, and rapidly improving technology, targeted ads are becoming increasingly more included within the online mix. Why should your little black dress stay at home?


  1. red-ping posted this