"Contextual Targeting and "Localization".
Search Engine Marketing is soooo June 2003. Contextual Targeting is the new buzzword that's on everyone's lips. Contextual Targeting refers to everything from text advertising to graphical advertising. It covers distributors of content like Sprinks and Looksmart to such controversial companies as eZula, Gator and WhenU. I tend to judge the buzz-factor surrounding an idea based on how many cold-call sales-calls I get related to a certain topic and this week I have already gotten 5 new companies Spamming my inbox with new Contextual Targeting opportunities.
Contextual Targeting is definitely the hippest type of marketing next to Search, but I somewhat question the terminology itself. Isn't all of the best marketing "Contextual"? Isn't the Internet all about "Contextual Targeting"? I am sure that someone can argue that not all advertising is Contextually relevant, but that it can be based on Demographic targeting as well. I will not dispute this fact, but it seems to me that we are overusing the term Contextual to encompass a number of different executional types of advertising. We need to be more exact when we detail the types of advertising because these types of vague naming conventions are what serve to confuse even the most-savvy of online marketers, forget the less-savvy ones.
Contextual Targeting should not be a term used to cover up a Pop-up. It should not be used for syndication of text (many times via a Pop-Up). It should not be used for Desktop Applications. Let's be honest, very few (if any) people download Desktop Apps that agree to turn every page into Times Square.
The other term that is starting to gain steam (and one that I am actually in favor of) is Localization. So far the web has not, from an advertising point of view, lived up to the hype for Localization). If you have ever tried to purchase inventory on a regionally targeting basis you will know that it the methodologies are flawed at best and are not capable of driving significant volume within local markets. There are a handful of sites such as CitySearch and the localized Portals that offer this inventory, but some of the most applicable tools (i.e. Search) are not capable of delivering localized advertising. If my clients want to target the San Francisco area via search, they may not be able to do so very effectively due to relevancy issues that limit the terms we can buy or the pure volume of localized searches. You would think that Search would be the perfect place to provide localized advertising, and potentially tap into that local market on a larger scale.
Localization and 1-to-1 marketing were the initial promises of the Internet, but 1-to-1 dropped off slightly as the Internet has become a mass medium and targeting is not as cost effective as we thought. Localization however is something that is certainly feasible and should be pursued.
So there you have my predictions for the biggest Buzz Terms for the second half of 2003. Do you agree?