I'm Being Followed Into Social Networks

OK, I'll admit it. I like to visit, look at designer clothes from Carolina Herrera and Nanette Lepore, and click on an item or two. But when I realize it's more than I want to pay, even with free shipping, I leave the shopping cart stranded in cyberspace and go about my weekend chores of grocery shopping and cleaning up the yard. I come back later in the day to go online again -- and there are the display ads from Neiman Marcus staring me in the face, begging me to click on them.

Score one for behavioral targeting technology. A few months ago I also began getting emails reminding me of my abandoned online shopping cart. "Don't forget about the items in your shopping bag!" the email read.

Frankly, I don't mind the emails and display ads. I would much rather see an ad for Manolo Blahnik shoes from Neiman Marcus than one for Goodyear tires on my Facebook or LinkedIn page.

I'm not seeing those kinds of ads on my social media pages today, but that scenario might not be too far off. According to John Squire, chief strategy officer at Coremetrics, several major unnamed advertisers (probably retailers, I'd guess), told Coremetrics in December 2009 they planned to keep budgets for display advertising strong. In exchange, they wanted a more targeted approach to reach consumers in Facebook, MySpace and other social networking sites.



So, Coremetrics built AdTarget, which launched Tuesday, to support brands that want to target consumers in social networks, among other places across the Web. Squire believes BT will help drive companies from paid search text ads into display on social networks, allowing brands to become part of the conversation that typically happens between friends on social sites.

A targeted ad in a social network where people act, well, social, gets better results. That's the idea, according to Jeff Hirsch president and CEO at AudienceScience, one of the Coremetrics Connect certified partners. "Behavioral targeting could decrease the amount of advertising a consumer is exposed to," Hirsch says. "If you don't know anything about the user, you will have to run a lot of ads until you find the ones that make them respond."

Fewer ads pasted across social networks? I'm beginning to like behavioral targeting more.

4 comments about "I'm Being Followed Into Social Networks ".
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  1. Thom Kennon from Free Radicals, June 10, 2009 at 5:28 p.m.

    Yeah, well, I dunno... There's an equally solid argument which holds that ads in FaceBook et al are even more invisible than units in places where you'd expect to see/ignore them, e.g. portals, email boxes, AdSense sites --- no matter how well behaviourally targeted they might be. How often do you - when was the last time - you clicked on one?

    It's still interruptive and the thinking is still firmly anchored in the old model of "impressions and clicks". Time to start moving our money - esp. our social marketing money - into "discovers and shares", two new, better metrics.

    BT is great, and should be applied. It's the old-school way of thinking about "media" that, I suggest, needs to change.

  2. Liz Pullen from Self-Employed, June 10, 2009 at 5:47 p.m.

    It's a delicate balance act. Social networks are a huge mass of potential consumers but they tend to leave social networks when the advertising gets to be too much. I know networks where the users cough up $20/year to the network owner in order to avoid seeing ads.


  3. Martin Russ from Freelance Technical Author, June 11, 2009 at 12:40 p.m.

    The 'December 2009' date is probably meant to be 2008...

    Thinking deeper, this typo might be behaviourally targeted to be noticed by people like me...

  4. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, June 12, 2009 at 9:08 p.m.

    A Neiman Marcus pal! I do the same thing. Know the merchandise well. The real temptation is when there is a 50% off the sale prices, not where I see the email promo. Actually, I am less likely, more like never, to click anything on on another site since I know I am being targeted and will be bombarded with bunches of junk. Something like Facebook would be the last place I would click. I do not like being a target, not even for Neiman's.

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