Why Don't You Serve Me Sock Ads On An Electronics Web Site?

Have you ever read a comment by someone who wants to see advertisements that relate to a site's content? For example, a UPS ad might serve up on a specialty gift Web site, or American Airlines discount tickets on a hotel Web site.

On a publisher's Web site geared toward the electronic components industry, Rich Krajewski commented that he wanted to see airline and hotel ads, as well as employee referral services, warehouse services,and  training, tracking, and manufacturing tools.

It's probably the first time I have seen someone write in the comments section about wanting to see complementary ads on a Web site. I bring this up because in reminds me of pieces I wrote about Loteme's Goal-driven Optimized Audiences (G.O.A.L.) platform, which analyzes the behaviors of consumers each time they see or respond to a campaign; a service from Experian Hitwise that combines online and offline ad targeting data; and a service from eXelate that creates custom segments in real time.  

Krajewski (who describes himself in a blog profile as an electronics engineer, editor and amateur-radio operator) also wanted to know why he wasn't seeing sock ads on the electronics site. After all, supply-chain professionals need socks.

In answer, DoubleVerify CEO Oren Netzer said as long as the publisher sells out inventory, Web site visitors won't see sock ads. "The reason you might start seeing sock ads is when the site doesn't see out all its inventory and start brokering out some to ad exchanges and ad networks," he said.

Governing the delivery is the highest paying ad for the user. Many times that would be a behaviorally targeted ad, not a contextually targeted one. If they don't sell all their inventory and start moving to exchanges, that's when a publisher's site will start serving up sock ads.

Brands should leverage data and behavioral insights to take advantage of advanced targeting technologies and techniques.

Ad targeting platform providers have been analyzing how to best target consumers with compiementary ads. No, it's not an exact match, but think of the strategy of pinning related topics on a Pinterest pinboard. Ads for products or brands related to content on a publisher's Web site could stand out in the clutter.

To make it work, the ad industry or publisher may need to change the definition of conversion or how conversions get counted and paid. Rather than considering the number of times ads get served up and viewed, perhaps the industry needs to consider combining a click-through and purchase.

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3 comments about "Why Don't You Serve Me Sock Ads On An Electronics Web Site?".
  1. David Mcmurtrie from Google Media Platforms EMEA , April 11, 2012 at 2:20 p.m.
    This argument is not exactly new. In fact it is one that media planners have been wrestling with for the past 20 years or more in traditional media. I think the opportunity that data driven digital advertising delivers is not to narrowly focus on audience interest category definitions but to combine these with the type of data that TV and Print planners have used for years - Demographics, Income, Purchase Intent, TV Region, Brand awareness etc. This could mean delivering an American Airlines ad in a travel related environment but equally could deliver the ad in an environment which reflects everything we know about the consumer. And while we may all agree on the benefit of more consumer data leading us to more accountable pricing models don't forget that the Brand impact of seeing an ad out of context is also very powerful.
  2. Rob Schmults from Intent Media , April 11, 2012 at 2:30 p.m.
    Maybe the "answer" is to serve intent targeted ads. In other words, where you have clear intent in terms of what the visitor wants, serve them an ad that matches that intent, at that moment. Companies like my employer, Intent Media, are doing this on retail sites while others like TwelveFold Media and YieldBot are doing it on content sites. We're both stealing a page from the search engine world which found that ads that directly conform to a user's intent delivered at the time that intent is being expressed deliver the highest relevancy (and thus performance). Not to say BT or even contextual targeting are "bad," just that there often is a third option -- Intent Marketing -- that can outperform and/or augment either one.
  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited , April 11, 2012 at 3:20 p.m.
    As a buyer and a seller of traditional media in my last lives, David Mcmurtrie hits it on the nose. Being too specific yields opportunities missed and over-serving within the same categories deliver wallflower effects.