Forget Off-Target Ads


offtarget_smallADOTAS – Behavioral, geographic and demographic targeting have been taboo for too long. You’ve most likely heard that the IAB has created the “Privacy Matters” campaign to educate consumers on targeted ads and quell the fears of privacy groups that have misunderstood the methods behind ad targeting.

The banners proclaim “Advertising is Creepy.” Then you scroll over the banner and read the message that advertisers don’t use “personally identifiable information” in deciding where to serve their ads.

Clicking on the banners drives viewers to IAB’s “Privacy Matters” site with FAQs about Internet privacy. With this educational campaign, I hope that behavioral targeting will receive the support it needs to end off-target ads.

In the world of online advertising and ad networks in particular, practices such as retargeting or remarketing are immensely popular for their strong ROI. Remarketing is the process of tagging site visitors with a cookie to later follow-up with an advertising message to remind those consumers who didn’t convert the first time about the original offers as well as new opportunities and bring them back for conversion.

Most remarketing models are based on identifying consumers who expressed initial interest in a product or service on a Web site or landing page but didn’t convert. With remarketing, advertisers can reach out to these past visitors with ads relevant to their interests before they left the website.

One common area of remarketing is reconnecting with online shoppers who have abandoned shopping carts to remind them of the benefits and to perhaps sweeten the deal to increase conversion rates. Traditional online advertisements convert at an industry average of just 4%.

Remarketing has evolved from a into a very effective advertising tool that works with all channels of traffic — search, display, SEO, CPA, email, natural — to reach the 96% of users who slip away after their initial site visit.

In fact, in a survey which recently sponsored jointly with the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO), nearly half of the participants (46.3%), said remarketing was the number one underutilized online marketing technology.

When survey participants were questioned as to whether they have used display remarketing in their online advertising either now or in the past, 69.5% said no; and 30.5%, yes. Fifty-one percent of those answering “yes” also said display remarketing made their advertising more impactful.

This year could be the year that off-target advertising ends while remarketing and other forms of ad targeting get their well-deserved attention.


  1. Excellent article and certainly it’s very much of the now. I’ve been fortunate enough to be running these types of email campaigns for a number of years at RedEye and can vouch that they are both simple to maintain and very successful


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