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March 4, 2015

Do Personalized Banner Ads Have More Impact?

Image courtesy of ( David Castillo Dominici) / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

These days as we browse the Internet, the websites that we are visiting are gathering an increasing amount of personal data from us. This has led to an increase of more personalized and targeted banner ads appearing on websites. However, does this approach have a bigger impact on consumers? Let’s take a closer look and find out.

What Are Targeted Banner Ads?

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Think about the last time that you spent a couple of minutes browsing on your favourite online store and maybe even adding some items to your basket and then never actually checking them out. Now think about what happened after that when you moved on to another site, or maybe logged on to Facebook. The chances are fair that you will have noticed that there are suddenly banner ads for that online store you just left, or at least ones from a similar store. The banners may even be advertising the very product you were looking at. This is targeted banner advertising. Advertisers use our browsing history to determine what kind of ads we will be most interested in or most receptive to and then show us these personalized choices.

Do These Targeted Ads Work Better Than Static Ones?

If you think carefully about the concept, then you can probably already have a guess at the answer to this question. Standard banner advertising relies on choosing the most appropriate websites where you assume that your target audience is going to visit. However, with targeted adverts, it doesn’t matter so much where you are placing the ads, because they will be shown to those Web users who have already expressed an interest in your product. Of course it can’t hurt to place the banners on sites your audience is likely to frequent anyway for a double whammy effect.

Of course, this is a very generalized way of looking at things and in reality nothing is as simple as that. However, to think about this in a little more depth, we need to look at how targeted banners can be used to engage consumers on a more personal level. There are three main ways that targeted banner advertising can achieve this :

  1. Behavioural Targeting – This particular method uses information about a user’s browsing habits over an extended length of time. This information is used to make informed predictions about that person’s preferences. The most common method is to look at Internet browsing habits and see what sort of things the person looks at often. One of the biggest tools out there to help target your banner ads is probably the Custom Audience feature on Facebook.
  2. Contextual Targeting – Behavioural targeting is a method that looks at longer-term patterns but, with contextual targeting, the information used is the keywords that the user is searching for right at that moment. Banner ads are then delivered based on those keywords. This is the type of situation that I described above where after shopping for an item you will see more adverts for it.
  3. Semantics – This approach is fairly similar to contextual targeting, but the main difference is that instead of using the keywords as they are, it translates this into what the user probably meant. For example, the actual keyword searched might have been ‘how to block our sunlight,’ but the actual product they are looking for is ‘blackout blinds.’

In conclusion, targeted banner advertising is a way for companies to make use of the wealth of information that can be collected from Internet users on a daily basis. When combining behavioural, contextual and semantics advertising techniques, it is possible to target the people who are most likely to be interested in your product. This means that targeted ads can be much more effective, but it is important to realize that they may not always be the most appropriate option.


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Tuan Nguyen is an expert in the field of advertising and banner design which led him to found 20dollarBanners.com. He is also the founder of Aplusmedia a Web development and marketing agency. Over the years Tuan has helped thousands of people to grow their businesses with the help of banner advertising.

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