Everyone’s talking about programmatic and real time bidding (RTB) advertising. In case you don’t know these terms, programmatic and RTB is a robotic way to control and optimize ad spend that is highly targeted. When you start to load a web page, your browser details and your cookie details are sent to a marketplace and ad impressions are purchased on a visitor by visitor basis. This is all done in 100 milliseconds.
Here’s an example: Bob likes sports. He visits ESPN frequently and his last Amazon purchase was a football. This information is stored in Bob’s cookies. Bob uses Safari as his browser. Safari users tend to be more techy and have more disposable income. A sports retailer has noticed that their mobile app has the most downloads between 6pm and 10pm on Tuesdays. The retailer would like to optimize their ad spend to generate the most mobile app downloads. So, Tuesday nights a programmatic campaign targets sports loving, Safari browser-using people who made a sports purchase in the last 30 days.
Sounds spooky? Welcome to the modern world of digital marketing.
But a recent study showed that content marketing drives three times more leads than buying an SEM campaign. Why is this? Probably due to advertising overload. On the web we have become inured to ads. I have been on Facebook for 8 years. They know a lot about me. And yet I think I’ve clicked a Facebook ad once, maybe twice. And since it’s estimated that 35% of all adds are now served by programmatic systems it’s guaranteed that I have been exposed to the most targeted of ads thousands of times. But I don’t click. I’m sure graphic designers and marketers spent untold hours trying to make the most compelling display and text ads, but the pure fact that they are ads makes them entirely forgettable. Ironic, no?
But if a product or service had a compelling video or a blog post I would read, watch and maybe even click. If the content showed some creativity and thought I might click. If this content went out of it’s way to NOT sound like marketing or just a page to boost SEO results I might click. Even in this age of big data and software eating our jobs and driverless cars we crave humanity in marketing.