Earlier this week, eMarketer forecasted “2010 will bring a return to double-digit online ad growth, with global spending set to reach $61.8 billion.” The online ad market will increase to nearly $100 billion by 2014. That’s amazing news for those who sell ad space. But is it the best way to spend your advertising dollars?
The goal of online advertising is usually to increase traffic on your own website so you can start a relationship with customers and prospects. That relationship may begin with the ad, but it requires relevant content and customer profiling to progress and grow.
You’re Targeting Ads. Are You Targeting On Your Site?
We know targeted ads work better than general, one-size-fits-all ads. By the same logic, targeting your website content works better than having one website for all your visitors. Why lure customers to your site with ads, if you’re not going to have relevant content for them when they get there? You spent all that money to have a wide mouth at the top of the funnel — why not do everything you can to widen the bottom of the funnel, too?
Customer profiling builds relationships
According to Forrester’s 2009 Global Email Marketing and Onsite Targeting Online Survey, 42% percent of marketers rely on unique user profiles to increase relevance, and 36% allow customers to identify their unique preferences. This minimizes the risk of alienating customers with misaligned targeting and opens access to more meaningful interactions.
Onsite Targeting Means Showing Dynamic, Relevant Content
Most companies don’t realize how easy it is to target their website to individual visitors. It’s called onsite targeting. Onsite targeting changes your website’s content based on two kinds of visitor data: in-session and historical.
Two Types of Onsite Targeting: In-session and Historical
In-session data includes information from a visitors current visit, like referral (where they navigated from—perhaps the online ad), browser type, search keyword, GeoLocation IP address (where they are physically located) and query.
Historical data comes from individual records that may be in a database or customer relationship management system, like frequency of visits, transaction history, pages viewed in the past, and user state (whether logged in or not).
Onsite targeting means more than, say, a retail site like Amazon offering “recommendations” based on previous purchases. It can mean offering links to different white paper content based on what a visitor searched for. It can mean offering travel deals based on where a visitor is currently located. The potential for onsite targeting is huge. You could potentially offer each unique visitor a unique website — it’s the holy grail of 1:1 marketing.
Henry Ford famously said about his Model T, “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants. So long as it is black.” Can you imagine a car manufacturer saying that today?
An untargeted website says the same thing. In five years or so, when ad spending tops $100 billion dollars a year, telling visitors that your site only comes in black will seem wasteful, one-sided and just as out-dated.