One of the bigger problems inherent to modern online marketing and advertising isn’t so much that web ads are obnoxious, as it’s entirely possible to hit a happy medium where there are enough to be effective, but served in a way and quantity that don’t irritate the user to hell and back. No, the bigger problem is the randomness of ads on websites. This is where behavioral marketing is a key solution, but many people are unfamiliar with this concept, or how it works.
Well, before we get into behavioral marketing, let’s look a little bit at the actual problem before us, first. The issue is that most ad systems are completely random, or contextual based on the content of a site specifically, either as a result of content analysis algorithms, or by the administrators and advertisers selecting a specific range of contextually-relevant ad types that can be rendered in the spaces provided.
Oh, this randomness or pseudo-relevant randomness, depending, can be somewhat effective, but not to the level we’d ask for if impossible wasn’t a word, naturally. One of the dreams of marketers has always been to find a less than obnoxious advertising presentation mechanic that somehow can present specific advertisements to an individual based on their interests, walk in life, and whatever they’re, at the moment, doing or researching.
This was never possible with old advertising models before the web, and even thereafter, the technology just wasn’t there for a long time. Now, however, it is possible to do this. Google is pretty famously one of the first companies to apply it, before it was really even considered a thing. Notice that when a Google search is performed, advertisement spaces in the results target specifically what was searched for. Well, that’s easy for them to do, right? They have the search input to go on. How the heck do you target behavior within your site?
Well, a number of analytic capture technologies available for website integration, and a number of ad services, can work together to achieve this. As a user navigates through specific sections or spends time reading specific articles etc., click stream systems and analytic trackers then surmise, based on keywords, meta data and the like, the specific overall topics, within the general website context, that the user is interested in. It can then refer this data to the advertisement provision system which will summon up specific relevant ads.
This concept helps to make sure that your product or service is marketed specifically to people looking for what you have, not people who stumbled across irrelevant results due to misused searches, or people with an interest only in the overarching topic that your product and thousands of other, semi-related ones do.
As far as setting these systems up go, well, for the web designers it’s just a matter of placing keywords and meta data that present the right parameters for contextual patterns on a micro level. For advertisers, it’s just a matter of picking a provider to distribute your ads who knows how to use this technology. Designing your own system for this, for your own sites is entirely possible, but that’s a project.
Behavioral marketing theoretically answers the problems of getting over vague targeting and randomness, and gives us an idea of how to do that specific, per user targeting we’ve always wanted to do but were technically unable to before now.