The Smarter They Get, The Dumber They Are

I have a message to “online marketing specialists,” just because the media that you are dealing with is different from traditional outlets doesn’t mean that human beings aren’t still human beings. This MediaPost editorial (free registration required) expressing surprise at the results of out-of-context placements is simply ridiculous.

Serving an ad in an editorial environment with NO relationship to the product may seem counterintuitive, but it is becoming hard to ignore. Case studies too numerous to count are showing surprising results from the targeted delivery of “out-of-context”online ads – delivering ads to qualified consumers within content areas that are “out-of-context” for the offer. For example, serving automobile ads to “auto buyers” in a site’s sports section, rather than in auto content. Quite frequently, the out-of-context ads will outperform those that are delivered in-context, sometimes dramatically so.

Imagine selling people cars within sports content – newspapers and TV have been doing it for years so why is this somehow amazing and unexpected? It’s called mass marketing and assumes that people with an interest in one thing are likely to have an interest in others – straight-forward demographics, people!

Whatever the reason, as more research and more case studies are developed in this area, this phenomenon could have a very significant impact on the online ad industry.

Marketing is a statistician’s wet dream and the levels of minutiae available for measurement and study online are close to infinite (depending on how much programming you want to do). But in marketing it always comes down to two things: the creative and the offer. Placement is really secondary because as we have seen if the creative and offer are strong enough your market will go viral in an Internet heartbeat. So measure that, stick it in your pipe and smoke it!

Author: terry

I am a socially liberal, fiscally conservative Berkeley grad who loves words and makes my living manipulating people with them. In short, I am a marketing consultant. Straight, married, white female with a healthy appetite for good food, fine wine and great times with friends and family. I've got a thick skin, a sense of humor and I am absolutely without shame or political affiliation. I don't do religion, though I do believe in God. I am a true believer in personal responsibility, personal privacy and active philanthropy. My personal philosophy: Live with integrity, love passionately, fight bravely and never give up! So, go ahead, challenge me, my opinions, my facts - I'm looking forward to it.