Why Online Ad Targeting Can Work, But Don’t Be Creepy

Author

Kevin Urrutia

Category

Marketing

Posted

January 27, 2023

Do you ever feel that you’re being stalked by online advertising? Well, chances are you probably are.

Targeted advertising has seen a sharp increase in popularity over the last few years, and more and more companies are seeing the benefits of creating personal ads over and above a generic adverting campaign.

Yet, the intended viewer’s knowledge that they have been specifically targeted can feel a little…creepy. Here’s how to run your targeted campaign without making anyone feel uncomfortable.

Don’t Stalk Your Target

Research shows that people who believe they have been targeted deliberately by advertisers, who have followed them around the internet, are far less likely to respond to that company’s advertising.

The creep factor begins to set in when we feel our privacy has been intruded upon. There is undoubtedly a difference between targeted advertising and personal intrusion.

Avoid Making Assumptions

While researching your customer is the bread and butter of the advertising world, there are times when advertisers get it wrong, which can go incredibly severely in the world of targeted online adverts.

Suppose you believe your customer is hoping to buy one product and bombard them with adverts for a rival, a brand they have a troubled history with. In that case, your customer will quickly become irritated with the brand, and your actions will have cemented their dislike rather than turn it around.

Real Life Rules Apply

Like talking behind someone’s back, sneakily acquiring and using information about someone is unacceptable. In the same way, this is true in real life, so it is true in our virtual lives. It’s perfectly acceptable to tell a friend that you’re trying to lose your baby weight; it’s not OK for them to say you need to lose a few pounds. Again, applying these rules to online advertising will shield you from a lot of anger and hostile recipients of weight control emails.

Be Transparent

Studies show that adverts that reveal a product is being recommended based on similar purchases or searches often yield better results. This move towards transparency makes the viewer feel their privacy is respected and that while they have had their search history noted, at least the advert admits this upfront.

A transparent and honest approach removes the creepiness factor and opens up the possibility of a two-way trusted relationship, a far more desirable outcome for most advertisers.

Establishing yourself as a trusted brand name is not just about your product’s quality and customer care. If your advertising falls short of transparency and insists on using tactics that customers feel are an intrusion of their privacy, your credibility will take a hit.

Instead, strive to use creative, overly personal methods. Adverts that appeal to a customer’s habits, rather than take advantage of their personal information, have been shown to annoy people less and significantly impact product sales. Take the creep factor out of advertising and stand head and shoulders above your peers.

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