It use to be much different. I remember all of us (mom, dad, my three sisters, my two brothers and I) sitting around the TV in our living room in the early 70’s as we watched whatever my parents allowed us to watch: The Waltons, Sanford and Son, Batman and Robin, The Bob Newhart Show!
The demographic make-up of the audience ranged from my 4-year old sister to my 45 year-old Dad. And the ads that came across the screen were the stalwarts of a day: Almond Joy’s, “Sometimes You Feel Like A Nut”, Coca Cola’s “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing”, Rice-A-Roni’s “The San Francisco Treat”, and who can forget Life Cereal’s “He Likes It! Hey Mikey!”
Not much audience targeting capability back then. It was all branding. No audience slicing and dicing like there exists today. And the buzz words, phrases and acronyms now… Audience Modeling, Look-a-Like Modeling, Keyword targeting, Location Tracking, OTT, SEO, API, RSS, SEM, CPC, DSP, … Stop it!!! Just Stop it!
Ok…Today, media targeting technology has advanced to the point of no return. You can’t hide from it. We all walk around with targets on our backs. Consider this. We are delivered ads to get us to go to a store. We are delivered ads when were are in the store. We are delivered ads as we leave the store. And we’ll be served ads for weeks if, god forbid, we didn’t buy anything from this store. And to top it off, because we showed interest in this store, our anonymized digital footprint was captured and sold to other marketers of similar products so that we can be served more ads from other stores.
Back in the day, there was no retargeting or sophisticated “Al-go-rithm” designed to corral you back in. You simply put the bowl of mangled, greasy Ruffles Potato Chips down your brothers and sisters already rummaged through, got off the couch and turned the TV off. Back then, once you shut the boob tube (as many of our parents use to call it) off , it was up to the power of the creative. Images and tunes had to be catchy enough to bounce around in our heads long enough until the next impression could be served during an episode of The Waltons or All In The Family.
It is incumbent upon us in the industry who place ads to be aware of this consumer messaging overload. The old adage, “Just because we can do it, doesn’t mean we should do it” applies here. Yes, we at EDP are guilty of using the latest technology to serve targeted ads for our clients. But how we go about manipulating these advanced ad tactics really matters.
For example, we put throttles on how many retargeting ads we delivery to someone in a week. And after so many impressions without a conversion, we move on. We don’t impression-bomb a market just because the impressions are cheap. We recommend spending a few more dollars by using both first-party and third party data to target consumers based on relevancy and not CPM (Cost Per thousand: referring to the cost to serve 1,000 impressions in a market). In the long run it’s actually cheaper to spend more on targeted impressions, and it creates a better consumer experience because then people are served ads for products/services they are interested in!
Finally, always remember — creative is still king! Awesome creative is the best form of retargeting and beats any “Al-go-rithm”. It stays with you forever! Don’t believe me? For all you 70’s and 80’s junkies — Remember “Where’s the Beef!” 1984. Remember, “I am the Frito Bandito” 1971. And finally, probably the greatest marketing achievement of all time that somehow made Diarrhea mainstream in 1978, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing!”