The secret to great online marketing is relevancy. The reason so many advertisers get this wrong is because they try to apply traditional offline strategies to online campaigns. Traditional marketing is based on reach and frequency. The more eyeballs you can aggregate the better because only a small portion of the market is ready to buy at any given point in time. You cannot buy TV commercials that are only shown to people that need to buy a vacuum cleaner within the next 48 hours. This theory is completely reversed online. You can very easily, with a search campaign for example, buy ads that are only shown to people actively shopping for nickel-plated sprinkler heads or authentic decorative tumbleweeds. But with all the powerful targeting that online advertising offers, there is plenty of room for abuse.

When online advertisers start sacrificing relevancy for reach, they often end up with deception. If I know that there are millions of online searches occurring right now for “Halloween Costumes,” why not pay to run my ad for sprinkler heads every time someone searches for Halloween costumes? The reason of course is because no one wants to look at sprinkler heads when they are looking for Halloween costumes. That’s an extreme example but there are plenty of instances where the deception is subtle. Doc Searls has an interesting post about online advertising that demonstrates why deceptive advertising gimmicks not only do not work, but could very well “pop” the online advertising “bubble.”

The message for advertisers that want to get it right is simple – be relevant. The brilliance of online marketing lies in the ability to establish a true dialogue with people that are already interested in your business. It’s a quality, not quantity, based system.


~ by stevetriplett on October 23, 2008.

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