Tech Targeting Failing? Yes, Say Researchers

Is ad tech in trouble because the industry’s ad targeting is failing? 

Outside of the undeniable efficacy of Facebook’s and Google’s targeting, some think this is a major reason for the problems the industry is facing. We note:

  1. Telemetry shutting down;
  2. Layoffs at AudienceScience and Rocket Fuel; 
  3. A report from Pinsight Media that 60% of age data on mobile exchanges is inaccurate.

We talked this past week to Kevin Jennison, chief technology officer at Gladly, who has a lot to say on this subject. Because ad tech targeting is so off base, Jennison thinks that one solution is to let users target their own ads. Of course, that’s what Gladly does. As they put it on their Web site: “Gladly monetizes your content with engaging and nonintrusive ads that users opt in to see every time they want to support your site.”

“The key is that ad targeting is failing users. Ad Tech has expanded, but users aren’t feeling any benefit,” Jennison says. “The user experience is still pretty bad. Most online ads are frustrating or not relevant. How can we let users have more control over what kind of ads they are seeing?”



Jennison wants ad tech to move towards systems that “let users have direct control” not only over what ads they see, but also how often they see them.

We mentioned last week a recurring ad we are subjected to online from a Jacksonville plumber, Metro Rooter. If I have seen this ad once, I have seen it 200 times. After a while, the last thing I’m going to do is reach for the phone to call Metro Rooter for our plumbing needs, even if its jingle is catchy. Actually, that’s part of the problem, I can’t get it out of my head.

Jennison wants opt-in options that allow users to limit the amount of times an ad will be shown them. We heartily approve of that concept.

He also points to Facebook’s ad preferences options as another type of opt-in option that users should have across the board online. This is an interesting point. One has to really look for this.

We found the Facebook Ad controls by clicking on the Privacy link. It wasn’t evident until we knew were to look. Then, another click is required to “Manage the preferences we use to show you ads.” Cleverly, when we pursued this, we were offered the option of seeing ads for the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (ABAA). As we are antiquarian booksellers, we were impressed that we had that option. Better ABAA ads than those from Metro Rooter. Another option was also book-oriented, for writer or “novelist” ads.

And Jennison says that with ad blocking on the steep rise, not moving towards these kind of options is more or less suicidal for ad tech.

Bolstering Jennison’s point is the survey by Pinsight, a subsidiary of Sprint. It reports that 72% of ad requests on exchanges omit age date, and 60% of that info is wrong.

“Inaccuracies tend to compound each other,” Matt Habiger, a Pinsight data executive, told Ad Exchanger. “And then hitting soccer moms of a certain age in suburban America suddenly becomes really difficult.”
2 comments about "Tech Targeting Failing? Yes, Say Researchers".
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  1. brad berger from aim high tips, January 18, 2017 at 6:29 p.m.

    Because there is so much on the Internet and because things go so quickly ad targeting does not work. The real targeting for ads is getting as many people as possible sent your ad by Google or FB so that the world can see your ad each day for a few seconds the only content platform ready for the world is the universal wisdom of the whoever purchases the Tips will rule the world with ads - please read this PowerPoint and you will understand why the is worth $ billions as compared to any other content platform 

  2. John Motavalli from Freelance, January 19, 2017 at 7:15 a.m.

    We will check out your product.

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