Targeted Video Ads Point Way To Ad Tech's Future

In the early 1990s before the Internet took hold with the launch of the Mosaic browser, cable television executives predicted there would be 500 channels of television in the future.

What none of those cable executives predicted at the time was the transformative impact of the Internet. Five hundred cable channels now seem laughable. How about 500 million cable channels? Still, the effectiveness of traditional advertising technology will continue to drop due to ad avoidance technologies (DVRs, etc.). If advertisers and brands can’t reach consumers via these traditional channels, they want to reach them online.

With free and easy publishing tools, high schooler can now create a high-traffic site within months. And with low-cost video capture and publication tools, enterprising publishing entrepreneurs can create their own video content channels. If those entrepreneurs focus on a specific niche, they can find an audience and income and profits quicker than most media execs ever imagined.



The holy grail for advertising technology is to deliver personal, relevant, and laser-targeted advertising. Again, we're in the very early stages of this type of targeting. All you have to do is look at the retargeting ad "failures" in your own Web searches to see how these initial efforts are very crude. For example, if you research and buy a specific child's car seat online, and then for weeks and months afterwards, you're targeted on multiple sites with car seat ads. That's a crude attempt at personalized targeting -- but it's a failure. Why? A car seat purchase is something you'll do one time and may never repeat. Yet, the advertising algorithms are retargeting you with car seat ads as if your research indicated you'd be making regular car seat purchases.

Targeted advertising in the digital video space is still very new, and we admit, initially it can startle some people. In a personalized video, a person can hear and see his name in a video ad tailored to that person with specific details - for example, a coupon for a nearby retail location or directions to their closet retail location, etc.

We think that people's initial skepticism will eventually wane just as Gmail users have become comfortable and used to seeing automated ads targeted based on a person's email discussion.

There are online privacy advocates who vehemently fight any type of targeting, especially micro-targeting or personalized targeting. We happen to disagree with those folks. Advertising-supported content is the model that has developed to support most commercial publishers, who aren't nonprofits, and can't produce high-quality content for free. We think privacy can be assured with technologies that allow consumers to receive highly relevant, targeted ads based on their specific interests.



5 comments about "Targeted Video Ads Point Way To Ad Tech's Future".
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  1. Howie Goldfarb from Blue Star Strategic Marketing, May 12, 2014 at 4:11 p.m.

    I don't agree with you Jack. I think you are leaving out the opt in/opt out that people want. I don't want to be tracked by any third parties. If I am on your site track me. It's your site. Put a cookie on my browser so you can rack me elsewhere and I want to cut your spleen out. I quit Facebook over the DATR cookie.

    I think if consumers are presented with transparency and choices it will go better.

    Not sure if you ever read (though dated) the SSRN Study on tracking. It should open your eyes.

    Put it a better way. Are you ok with a business looking over your shoulder as you watch TV in your bedroom...or sit on your porch reading the newspaper? No you aren't. So why would you want this online?

    There is the big fraud in advertising that if the ads were better or we had better platforms we would want to engage with brands more than we do. You forget we can engage with any brand we want RIGHT NOW THIS SEC with social media or their websites or brick and mortars...and yet we aren't. Why? Because we don't want to.

    Yes relevant ads are a good thing. But to be honest...we really don't care about advertising. It ranks at the bottom of our daily activities. Buried at the bottom.

  2. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein, May 12, 2014 at 6:19 p.m.


  3. John Grono from GAP Research, May 12, 2014 at 8:20 p.m.

    I would have thought that the 'holy grail' of advertising was unavoidably compellingly creative advertising content that built a brand. Think Coke, Nike swoosh, Apple etc. In the media buying business there is a saying - great media placement can't make a bad ad good ... but bad media placement can make a great ad bad. If more marketers focussed on the former we'll get on with the latter.

  4. Jack Cohen Martin from Dynamix, May 14, 2014 at 5:06 p.m.

    John, you’re absolutely right. Stellar advertising creative has built many brands -- Nike, Apple, etc. — and will continue to do so. We happen to think that personalized video could be a part of the mix of stellar advertising creative campaigns. Imagine one of Nike’s powerful ads that specifically referenced you or that presents additional information that you as a potential consumer can benefit from. We understand that personally targeted video ads might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but in the hands of creative ad agencies and thinkers, we think they could be a potent part of the advertising mix moving forward.

  5. John Grono from GAP Research, May 14, 2014 at 6:52 p.m.

    I do imagine that scenario ... it's like being stalked by a corporation. Unless I have a relationship with that entity I find it invasive and creepy. Personalisation and targeting are very different beasts!

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