Reading this week’s news around Yahoo! purchasing Interclick is simply another example of the dynamically changing online advertising technology marketplace. Not a day seems to go by without some sort of announcement, many of them around new technology solutions to help drive relevance, effectiveness, targeting, insight or all of the above.
As a result, the whole world of targeting has become ever more complex. Whether it’s audience-based or behavioural, geographical, contextual, demographic, lifestyle, remarketing, what seems often lost is the fundamental fact: targeting is about reaching people. At the end of the day, it’s people who actually spend money and buy things – not locations, characteristics, cookies, sites, sections or technologies.
One thing I’ve noticed is that targeting seems increasingly driven by ‘audience profiles’ like ‘image conscious’, ‘risk taker’, or ‘adventure seekers’ which help paint a mental picture but are impossible to transfer into actionable targeting.
In a similar manner, criteria that may at first appear relevant (e.g. product X appeals to males 45-60) actually can limit potential. If a female in the 25-35 age bracket is interested in the same product, she’ll never be reached with the advertising as she does not fit the criteria.
By starting with ‘people’ – that is, those who are potentially interested in buying your product – you then can look for the right audience, irrespective of if they are male, female, young, old, cautious or risk takers. If you can find those whose online activities suggest a real interested in finding out more about a particular product, or even they are in buying window for it, then surely these are the people you want to reach? It’s fundamental but something that seems to be all too often forgotten.