I’m sure we’re all more than familiar with this particular phrase popping up in a number of forms when it’s completely irrelevant to the thing you’re actually searching for. Obviously everyone on the Internet must be a single desperate male.
For this week’s post I’m talking about how web analytical tools can be very useful to the business marketer if it’s applied appropriately, however many businesses fail miserably at trying to catch our interests, and I’ll illustrate this point using some personal examples. The best personal example of these tools being used successfully by a business for me is with PC Case Gear
As the title above suggests, PC Case Gear is an Australian online retailer of all things gaming PCs, be it gaming systems, accessories, you get the picture. Now, they know based on my IP and consequently collected data that I have recently been regularly researching prices of their latest gaming PCs as my old 2011 machine is sort of on its last legs…
The PC I have The PC I want
Suffice to say my PC runs games rather poorly and the motherboard is most likely on its way out. PCCG (PC Case Gear) would gather simple information such as what I searched for, how long I spent on the website, which gaming systems specifically I clicked on, what price-range I’m looking for, and they would know I am looking at buying one rather soon.
eBay and FaceBook also know this, and so whenever I’m browsing these sites (and many of you would be able to relate based on your own personal examples) one of the banner ads is always one for PCCG’s latest deals, and more than just being a generic ad, it’s funnily the enough gaming PC deals that are within my price range. Obviously the team at PCCG has a system set up and has an automated system that communicates with FaceBook for example but this is a rather successful marketing ploy as it constantly reminds me to go back to their site and refresh their page for the latest prices. There would obviously be thresholds in place such as search time, whether the same IP constantly visits particular areas of the site (to prevent mistakenly advertising to robots) I am also suggested to “Like” particular gaming group pages and retailer pages such as videogamememe’s page as a result of my regular activities on the site.
That was an example of it being successful, FaceBook truly recognises that yes, I’m into computers but not only that, I’m really into gaming, and the only way you’re going to squeeze money out of me is to actually advertise to me about games. Why does this matter? I’m going to illustrate how this can totally flop. I’ve talked about FaceBook’s success but now it’s time to talk about eBay’s less successful method of trying to reach me as a consumer.
Because eBay only broadly classifies PCs as electronics, and also coupled with the fact that I buy a lot of video games via eBay (which I might ad, also falls under the loose category of electronics), eBay sends me regular emails about just that: electronics. As a recent example I bought a rather rare retro video game that was a couple hundred dollars, and as a result eBay now sends me these emails about other electronics items that are also hundreds of dollars. Whilst you would think that eBay should know to simply send me ads about similar items, I’m actually being emailed about vacuum cleaners, coffee blenders, washing machines, lawn mowers and solar panels?
I see what eBay is trying to do here, but the emails themselves have never felt like they are actually directed at me. I was looking for video games; I get emails about lawn mowers.
Clearly eBay’s system isn’t well thought out and categorises consumer purchases much too broadly. This limited understanding of consumers is one of the common misperceptions businesses have on consumer interests and so we end up with those annoying YouTube ads that pop up before videos, like a Hungry Jacks ad pops up even though I’m trying to watch funny comedy sketches or the car crashes of the month.
I’m sure we’ve all clicked on this button more than enough times to know the feeling…
I feel the advertising companies themselves need to take a different angle when using their gathered analytical data than to simply use the old “TV ad” approach. Perhaps they should contact the main web content providers themselves to put more thought into actually directing their ads properly towards their viewers. Contact YouTubers directly for example and ask them whether they feel their advertisements are relevant to their target audience, or perhaps to be sponsored within their videos and forget about the ads altogether. However as we know, consumers are very quick to spot sponsorship and this can easily lose followers. Perhaps businesses should wait for consumers to seek them out from an independent source, offering newsletter subscriptions on their own website only? But this may not work for spreading the word quickly about new offers and deals and may actually annoy users who simply clicked on one section of the site a few times out of curiosity and are now being “followed” and tracked all over the internet as if to say “WAIT, COME BACK TO OUR AMAZING SITE AND BUY OUR STUFF!” because you passed some invisible threshold on an automated system.
What do you guys think? Are these ‘forced ads’ more annoying than useful? What methods or tools would you recommend for reminding YouTube, eBay or other website users about sites they previously visited? Let me know what you think in the comments below!