I remember watching Nickelodeon as a ten-year-old when I saw a commercial for an easy bake oven and I immediately asked my parents to take me to the toy store. Fast forward nine years. I’m a college student. I see a group of Brand Ambassadors on campus handing out samples of Red Bull; I then buy a twelve pack to drink while studying for final exams. It worked again. Recently I was contemplating ordering a dress online from a department store. I added it to my cart but then got distracted by another website. On the right side of my screen was an ad for the same dress AND matching shoes. I thought to myself, “They’ve found me. “ I completed my purchase.
Advertisers and brand marketers spend significant time and money trying to better-understand consumer behavior and what factors influence purchase decisions. Knowing exactly who is interested in your product or service and who will make the purchase. With behavioral targeting and retargeting and advancements in technology from traditional television ads to online media, tactics have evolved over time. Today, marketers can effectively tailor ads with the help of technology and analytics that track a consumer’s online behavior- such as websites viewed, products researched, and how close they come to actually making a purchase.
While many web users believe that targeted ads improve their online experience, it can also be considered controversial as others, in addition to advocacy groups have expressed privacy and security concerns over advertisers tracking their every move. In 2011 a number of bills were introduced into Congress to regulate this type of marketing.
More recently, brands have been taking the hint by asking users to opt-in to collection techniques and explaining up front what their data will be used for, while also offering the ability to opt-out.
So what does the future hold for behavioral targeting and retargeting? According to Online Media Daily, behavioral targeting will surpass search advertising by 2020. As marketers, if we have no knowledge of the types of consumers purchasing our Clients’ products or viewing our Clients’ websites (or those of our competitors) we will be unsuccessful in increasing engagement, sales, and ROI. After all, in this industry, data is money.