Anyone who does internet advertising knows that if you have the budget and know how you can make a lot of money for your business do Google Adwords. The last 6 months or so I have noticed a change in the way Google serves ads both on my sites where I have adsense and other sites I visit online.
It used to be that most google ads were content targeted. So if I was on a page reading about apple I would see ads for companies that were related to apples. This was great in two ways it offered companies a way to get in front of their target audience and offered site owners a way to bring in more targeted content.
This type of targeting also created some really funny results. One day I was reading an email from the Girl Scouts of America in regards to doing my background check to be an adult volunteer. Across the top of my gmail was an ad to “Expunge your Florida Criminal Record for $450.” I had to giggle.
Lately however all the ads seem to be more cookie based or based on sites I have visited. For example, I have a neighbor who doesn’t have the internet. She will come over from time to time to do a few things she needs to online. One day while she was here using my computer she went on overstock.com to purchase some things.
One of the items she did not purchase but looked at was a cupcake decorating set. For a week no matter what site I went to on the internet there was overstock.com offering me a sale price to go ahead and pick up that cupcake decorating set.
I think seeing ads targeted just at me are less effective than targeting the content. There is no chance I am clicking on a completely unrelated ad that follows me everywhere I go. However if the ad is related to the content I am interested in at that moment it might grab my eye.
So ultimately, I think all this data they gather on us hoping to completely understand everything about our lives to serve ads is counter productive to getting clicks. To be honest I like cupcakes and like decorating them but when I am on a website reading about the budget crisis or social media marketing my mind is really not on cupcakes.