Category Archives: advertising

Advice to web advertisers: Dial back the retargeting

A few months ago, I posted an explanation of what advertising retargeting is.

In it, I wrote:

Say, you have an interest in bicycling and you spend a few minutes on a Saturday morning visiting some online retailers to see what they have related to something you’re thinking about getting. Later, you notice that everywhere you go on the internet you see ads that look like the ad below.

what is retargeting?That’s advertising retargeting.

I believe good advertising is a good thing. Good advertising can help us discover things we might otherwise miss. And the revenue from advertising helps keep lots of content free to the user.

But I’m not sure advertising retargeting, as it is being practiced today, is good advertising.

Advertising retargeting (also called behavioral retargeting) must be effective, for it’s everywhere I go. For example, a month ago, I visited the website of a security camera that was mentioned in a post on SmallBusiness.com. Over the following weeks, ads for the camera appeared  on random websites I’d visit, dozens of times each day.

So, retargeting must work–at least in the way that 2 out of 100 click-throughs are twice as effective as 1 out of 1oo click-throughs. But what about the 98 people who don’t click at all? I believe that some of them are being inspired to learn how to opt-out of retargeting — and other forms of advertising, altogether.

Retargeting is especially offensive during any gift-giving season, I wonder how families who share a computer (who don’t know how to avoid retargeting) are responding to the way retargeted ads will be show up when the person you’re shopping for is using the same web browser.  (Tip to keep your gift shopping a secret: Shop from an “Incognito window” if using Chrome,  “Private Browsing” in Safari, or “Private Window” in Firefox. In those modes, tracking cookies can’t be downloaded to your browser.)

I believe the use of retargeting has reached the point at which it can be so intrusive and random it will encourage people to adapt their usage of browsers to avoid such ads, altogether. In doing so, they will lose some of the personalization and customization features of a browser that can be helpful.

Too often, marketers tend to forget to think like customers. Too often, they don’t realize when they’re killing geese who lay golden eggs.

Helpful links:

Google Ad Help (allows you to adjust the types of ads you see)
NAI (National Advertisers Initiative) – A self-regulatory approach major advertisers and ad-serving networks are providing that provides consumers a single dashboard to control the types of ads they see.

 

 

How Could One Not Buy a GoPro Camera After Watching This?

If the product you’re selling is a camera that adventurous people strap on to themselves to record what they see while doing adventurous adventures, don’t waste time talking about how great the camera is. Do what GoPro does in this four minute video.

While it’s no lie to call this a promotional video, I wouldn’t call it an advertisement or commercial as GoPro didn’t pay YouTube to show it to me and I wasn’t subjected to it in the middle of another video I may have been watching, say, a sporting event or episode of CSI. (Although, they may have paid something to have the clickable features embedded.)

No, I saw it because about once a quarter, I make it a point to visit the GoPro Channel on YouTube, hoping it will convince me that life won’t be complete until I have one of these cameras strapped to my bicycle helmet. I know I’ll never do anything these adventurous (and very crazed) people are doing. Then, again, I’ll never be Michael Jordan, either, but I’ve been buying Nikes for decades.

Enjoy!



After advertising, what? Levi’s bike commuter collection “Go to Work” media

Levi_s®_Commuter_-_levi.com
Levi’s commuter collection uses digital and video media to celebrate a niche passion, and to help grow its potential customer-base. (Note: Take up the “no-helmets” issue with them, not me.)

The 12 people who read this blog know that among my top three current obsessions is riding a bicycle to and from work. (I’ve just crossed 1,000 miles of in-town bicycling during the first eight months of 2013.) A small sub-set of people know that my in-city bicycling has caused me to wonder why I spent so many years believing riding a bike was dependent on my wearing Spandex and trying to ride as fast as I could.

Riding a bicycle for transportation and fun has nothing to do with Spandex, I’ve discovered. Nor speed. It’s about having such a wonderful means of commuting to work that even a woman driver* blowing her horn, screaming, “just get on the f*0#ing sidewalk” can’t pierce ones zone of bliss. (And yes, that happened to me yesterday.)

Recently, I touched on this topic and wondered out loud what the bicycle industrial complex was thinking when they spent decades using-up the majority of their marketing dollars reinforcing the idea that Spandex and bicycles are joined a the hip area. (Actually, that’s a rhetorical question as I know the answer: bicycles purchased by spandex-wearers are high-margin, expensive products.)

As I’ve noted, I believe the CitiBike program in New York could prove to be the breakthrough biking needs to help people understand that riding a bike is about transportation, as much as it is about recreation or fitness.

The reason I say CitiBike is the “disruptive” force is simple: A large chunk of the U.S. fashion industry exists within a fairly flat and densely populated few square miles of Manhattan. The world’s largest advertising and marketing firms occupy much of that same area, as do the nation’s major entertainment and media companies.

Quickly, these gate-keepers of pop-culture and fashion (especially the young fashion magazine associates commuting to work) will crush the notion that Spandex has anything to do with bicycling. Spin-classes, maybe, but the commuting kind, no.

Just look at this list of articles about “bicycles and fashion” that have appeared in the New York Times during the past year.

Spandex is bicycling’s Blackberry. Commuter fashion is its iPhone.

Before landing in New York, the urban bicycling fashion trend has been building over the past several years. For the past five years, San Francisco-based Levi’s has been nurturing a niche fashion collection for bike commuters. (And the coolest bike shoes in the U.S. are also from San Francisco.)

Today, bicycle fashion tends to slant towards hipster chic…or if older riders like me wear it, perhaps hipster-replacement chic. But check out these bicycle shoes from the UK if you want a sample of what you’ll see on Wall Street among bicycle commuters there.

As you’ve probably never seen its commuter fashion line advertised on TV or elsewhere, how does Levi’s market it? Customer media and content, of course.  (Thus, the subject line of this post.)

Here are three short videos in a Levi’s YouTube series that show hip, young bicycle commuters who happen to be wearing Levi’s Commuter “Go to Work” collection. Makes you want to commute, huh?

*This particular incident involved a woman, but being a redneck is gender neutral.

 

What is advertising retargeting?

Recently, two people who live rather geek-free lives asked me the same question:

What is advertising retargeting?

I wasn’t pleased with my answer either time. I think I used the word “stalking.”

Yesterday, I saw an ad that reminded me of the question and provided me with a great example to answer with a show-and-tell.

Here goes:

Say, you have an interest in bicycling and you spend a few minutes on a Saturday morning visiting some online retailers to see what they have related to something you’re thinking about getting. Later, you notice that everywhere you go on the internet you see ads that look like the ad below.

That’s advertising retargeting.

NeverWet – Best 2013 Example of Marketing that’s Invisible

(NOTE: This is not a post about viral or social marketing. Or, even content marketing. It’s a post about the messaging and focus of marketing. It’s about what marketing should be, but rarely is. The platform and channels are not what makes the following work. It’s the understanding of how customers make decisions that does.)

AdFreak calls this Rust-Oleum NeverWet product demo on YouTube, “the Most Bafflingly Awesome New-Product Demo of 2013 So Far.” I call it a great example of a principle discussed a few months ago in an issue of Hammock’s Idea Email, titled, “Marketing at it’s very best wants to be invisible.” (Sidenote: NeverWet is a separate company from Rust-Oleum, but the product is called, “Rust-Oleum NeverWet.” This particular demo seems to be from the NeverWet folks, as the Rust-Oleum marketing is the opposite of invisible, as I’ll mention in a minute.)

Marketing that’s invisible doesn’t mean marketing that is a product placement, an advertorial, or any kind of marketing that feels so self-conscious that it needs to use the adjective “native” to describe itself.

It means, as I mentioned recently in a post about Don Norman, that the marketing is not focused on the product itself, it’s focused on what the product will help the customer accomplish.

In the Idea Email, we used the early advertising of the iPad as an example of marketing that is invisible: the focus of iPad consumer marketing, until the introduction of the Retina screen, was always on what a person can do with an iPad, not on the specifications or even the aesthetics of the device.

NeverWet is proving that you can do the same thing as Apple did with the iPad on a budget less than what you spend shooting your child’s soccer game. (Compare it the Home Depot NeverWet demo that is better produced, but not as impactful. Or, even more instructive, compare it to the corporate Rust-Oleum YouTube video that has all the beauty shots of the product, but 1/10th of the views of the “invisible” marketing.)

Here, let me make this more clear: Ever time on the video, the NeverWet employees demo something cool you can do with NeverWet, it is like when iPad ads showed you what you could do with different apps on an iPad.

Or, as the subject of the current Idea Email, Peter Drucker, said, “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”

Marketing isn’t hard if you spend your time creating products that help customers do something they want to do. All you have to do then, is show them what they can accomplish if they use it.

On the other hand, marketing is a bear if you spend your time talking about how great you and your company are and how lucky customers are that you exist. (Like, for example, NeverWet does on its website when it says on its about page that, “NeverWet, LLC is a company dedicated to idenifying, inventing and commercializing nanotechologies in order to solve critical problems.” They should spray some NeverWet on that copy.)