You’ve seen them — social media ads that have absolutely NOTHING to do with your interests. Useless ads on websites are everywhere online. Even places like Pandora and Facebook, which know more about us than we realize, consistently serve up irrelevant ads.
At CES today, the “Transforming Contextual Advertising and Media Platform Relationships” panelists spent little time on “contextual advertising.” What context they and the moderator talked about was really “location-based” ads.
The panelist from the outdoor media (read “billboards”) company touted the theoretical ability combine the data feed that a person drove by a billboard with a subsequent decision to use a mobile phone to buy the advertised product as a measurable that advertisers want. Forget the fact that a printed ad may have actually been the first time the buyer learned about the product and its benefits, with the billboard simply being a reminder and the mobile phone the way that consumer always buys products online.
Another panelist lamented the inability to deliver “measurables” on TV ad viewership and actions that viewers then took based on the ads. Another panelist said that the use of the high-tech interactive TVs to respond to ads is much less than with social media because of lazy viewers.
No one mentioned the possibility that viewers do not act because they are not actually watching the irrelevant ads.
The TV is on but the viewer is tuned out.
Compelling content makes people watch or read. The more personalized the content — content that is truly personalized and addressing me in a meaningful way — the better. Context-enriched content helps, yes, but it must be more than location. Context-enriched content must also include what we already know about the customer based on past transactions.
And therein lies the rub . . .
Digital displays (phones, tablets, laptops, PC monitors) can present content that is location-based but not based on historical buying patterns. Customer communication management software, used to create print and digital communications like personalized bills and junk, er, direct mail, has access to your historical buying patterns but doesn’t know what you are doing at that moment.
A chasm exists between content providers who focus on historical, transactional data and those who focus on data based on where you are and how you got there.
The result is overwhelming irrelevant ads in printed and digital media. Junk Mail and Junk Social, if you will.
Marketers must stop concentrating on measurables and begin focusing on context-enriched content.
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