Recently, advertisements have become a little too personal for some casual web browsers.
While on a social networking site, people may be assaulted with ads such as "Only (insert age here) and Already Fat? Get in shape!" I'm not sure that creates much positive energy for the product they are advertising!
It might seem like overkill, but it represents a growing trend of targeted advertising and much more useful banners. With traditional advertisement platforms, such as radio, television or newspaper, there is no way a company can completely predict the age or gender of the person who is exposed to an ad.
Sure, there are ways to create probabilities and distributions when buying traditional advertising to determine the aggregate number of a particular demographic. However, the ads cannot be customized to every customer.
Web based advertisements are different in this regard.
They can target a particular segment of the market efficiently and consistently. There are no eighty year-old web surfers getting pop up ads about extreme snowboarding, and no thirteen year olds getting ads about blue pills.
In this regard, the content is more appropriate for the consumer. Even television can create discomfort in some viewers with the ads that are shown. Web ads circumvent this problem.
How far is too far? With the recent mergers of several powerful online companies, including Google's $3.1 billion acquisition of Doubleclick this year, online ad space is becoming more coveted and targeted.
In theory, Google can now use an individual's search history, which give detailed insights into the consumer's interests, to display very targeted third party text or banner ads. Although privacy laws must be adhered to, it opens up all sorts of opportunity to provide customization in online ads.
What does this mean to a small business owner? It can mean a variety of things. First off, online advertising and having an online presence is becoming increasingly important in targeting generations X and Y. Start up firms can experience exponential growth with such a wide base of customers as exists on the Internet. The problem has usually been attracting these customers to new, unproven web sites.
Using targeted advertising as a tool to increase traffic can help businesses of any size.
Small businesses rely on increases in traffic as their primary driver of revenue. This means if the company can efficiently use targeted advertising to increase traffic, they will create an advantage over other small business owners.
In today's market, every little advantage helps.