Advertising is at the core of the web experience.
It doesn’t matter which site or service you visit, you will be shown ads.
However, how do platforms or services determine which ads to show?
This is where advertising personalization comes in.
As a marketer, advertiser, or entrepreneur, you need to understand personalized advertising completely. You can manage your marketing campaigns better and improve return on investments(ROI) by learning about them.
In this guide, we will explore advertising personalization in detail. We will learn what it means and the content policy principles related to it. Let’s get started.
There are many ways an advertiser can target its audience.
One of those ways is personalized advertising.
In this approach, the advertiser tries to improve the relevance of the ads and improve the ROI of the campaign.
In most cases, it works because it uses the online available user data to create a more relevant advertising experience.
By using the personalizing advertising approach, both the experience of the advertiser and the user is improved and refined to meet modern standards.
Even though advertising personalization seems an easy approach, in reality, it takes a good understanding of what’s allowed and what’s not. Advertisers need to be extra careful on how to use the available information. For example, you surely do not want to use sensitive information and show ads based on them. That would be inappropriate and would directly impact how the user perceives the ads.
Advertising personalization is not new. It has been one of the oldest ways to target an audience. However, its emergence can be linked to the modern era as now information is available more easily to advertisers. With electronic devices capturing valuable user information with the user’s permission, organizations are now capturing tons of data every day.
According to Tyson Quick, Instapage CEO, advertising personalization is an ever-evolving concept. The methods of advertising personalization have changes and how advertisers carry out the process.
We got in the 1900s, however, its adoption increased in the late 1930s when almost every second household has a radio for entertainment. The key reason radio spread so fast and so early is the fact that it can also be equipped in cars. But, we are interested more in how people interacted with radio when ads were played. If you are from the old era, would you remember how you changed the channels when an ad played? — even when the ads are playful and entertaining. At that time, the concept of personalized advertising was not so prevalent, but it did play a crucial role in making ads a common thing in people’s lives.
For example, children’s shows tend to showcase ads targeted at children.
However, the next phase of personalized advertising started with TV. After all, it provides two ways to interact with the audience: sound and image. TVs were extremely addictive and people tend to spend hours watching their favorite shows. It did achieve a better way to do personalized advertising but did lack a more targeted approach done by newspapers.
With the internet arriving in the 1990s, the world changed on how they connect. However, at that time also, it took some time for personalized advertising to become a hit.
Everything changed with Google.
Google’s ability to segment data based on different criteria and even single users made it the innovation required for advertising personalization.
So when a user enters the query, Google notes it down and associates it with that person’s intent.
And, that’s how Google Adwords came into existence.
With Adwords, businesses can target specific users on their intent — serving ads that have more chances to be seen and clicked. Moreover, businesses can also set budgets for their ad campaigns, giving them complete control over the reach of their ads and their visibility.
So, if you sell gaming monitors, you can select the relevant product keywords and then start your Adwords campaign. This way, advertisers can save money and get better conversions as they target the audience that is interested in it.
For over three decades, we have evolved with the internet. Earlier, it was easy for advertisers to put ads on the webpage. They can put it anywhere on the webpage, and we as users would notice it anyway. However, internet users have gained a new ability to “ignore” things that they do not need to see with time. We can term it as noise.
According to Adobe, 33% of the users find the display ads annoying. This makes them try to focus on what they need and train their brains to ignore the noise, including ads. This lays the premise for the need for advertising personalization as you do not want to showcase users’ ads that are relevant to them. By doing so, you are ensuring that their brain doesn’t ignore ads when they use the internet.
Landing pages are specialized single pages used to sell a product or service. It is not a website, making it even more challenging to optimize it for ads while also being informational to the user.
From the user’s perspective, it solves the problem of noise.
You, as a user, would want to give the ads a try if they are relevant for you.
For example, if you are looking for a PC monitor to buy, any ads would interest you. But, you will not be interested if you are served with a mobile phone ad.
By now, you should have an idea of the benefits of advertising personalization. To summarize, the benefits include:
- Improve how your target audience interacts. With personalized advertising, they will be more receptive to the ads and will not ignore them.
- Businesses can manage their budgets better and save money with personalized advertising.
- Users get value from the ads as they know about the services, goods, and products aimed at them.
- Personalized advertising also brings in a better customer journey as it removes friction from the overall buying process.
- You create a trusted environment where you know that users will trust when using their information as a company.
Vendors that provide data to personalized advertising also have proper principles. Google, for example, has strict policies in place to ensure that advertisers do not cross the line. To ensure that the end-user does not feel threatened or feel that the ads invade their privacy.
To make sure that the personalized advertising does not cross the line, you need to more or less ensure that the following policy principles are followed irrespective of the vendor platform you are using to target your audience.
- Ensure your ads meet the legal restrictions set by the platform/vendor. For instance, you cannot use personalized advertising for children that are under 13 or the minimum age requirement set by a particular region or country.
- The ads should not target the identity and belief of your target audience in any way that leads to systemic discrimination.
- The ads should not try to exploit individuals’ struggles and difficulties.
- The ad should also not try to target the individual’s sexual experiences or interests.
- The ads should also not limited the individual’s opportunities to excel or access services or products.
Many vendors also impose restrictions on the targeting feature used in personalized advertising. These restrictions are imposed to ensure proper targeting without the ability to exploit or influence a particular group. Basically, you cannot target groups with sensitive interest categories. This is applicable for both personalized ads and advertise-curated audiences.
In the end, you need to stay within the vendor’s guidelines so that your ads can reach the right audience without affecting the users’ mental health.
Advertising personalization undoubtedly opens a new path to advertising that does not require to be attention-hedging and intrusive. It simplifies the approach as it tends to solve the user’s problems rather than to push the agenda of only improving sales by brute force approach.
The web is full of click baits. These click baits are designed to grab the attention of the user emotionally. It is all about seeking attention. The click baits are designed to be not helpful but attention-seeking.
That means they take advantage of our emotional or physical pain.
However, not all ads are like that. Most ads also try to elevate your pain and gain your attention. In both the approach, the main aim is to get user’s attention. However, with time, the techniques become more clickbait than helpful.
For example, you can easily find articles on the internet on how you can become rich by following a few steps.
That’s simply not possible.
The approach has also led to making it a place where everywhere you will find click baits.
To resolve the issue, Tyson Quick, the CEO of Instapage, has developed the advertising personalization classification system. The system was initially designed to work with its own tool, Instapage. You can read more about Instapage advertising personalization categorization here.
The classification system provides a way to improve the ad’s relevancy for the customer. The system relies on insights that can range from simple human needs to buying intent, niche interest, and so on.
In simple words, advertising personalization can be categorized to improve its relevancy. It also improves the messaging and ensures that individuals’ needs are addressed. If you are a brand or a business looking to improve your ad targeting, you can take advantage of the categorization — improving your sales and audience engagement in return. The classification is also beneficial to the customers as they get customized messages which solve their problems. The messages are worth their time, and hence they are not frustrated when meaningful ads are served.
Let’s discuss the categorization below.
It is vital to advertise based on the wants or needs of the customer. Even though every individual has their own needs, but they have specific preferences that attach to those needs. For example, customers can have a need for clothes. To get new cloth, they can go to their local market and get them there. However, it is not that simple. The same customer can have their own specific preferences when it comes to choosing clothes. They may want a specific color or a fabric of their choice. And, that’s where the clothing businesses need to focus and advertise according to those specific needs so that customers feel that their needs are addressed in a specific manner.
The next category is regional personalization. Brands can use it to improve their message further. For example, if a brand creates clothing for cold areas, they may want to create ads for warm clothes such as coats, hats, gloves, and so on. Also, they need to address the way in which they want to reach the audience — the delivery medium.
They can create ads for online platforms or use other offline mediums such as billboards. Next, you may want to further refine the messaging based on your target audience. Warm clothes are required by everyone living in a cold place. However, the need for an adventurer is different compared to that of someone looking for office clothing.
Demographic personalization lets you easily segment the population. It makes it easy for you to do audience identity and then create messaging for them. In demographic personalization, you need first to categorize based on the audience’s sexes. You can also use other parameters, including age, season, and so on.
Brands can use direct mails to send personalized messages.
Next, we have intent personalization. The user’s intention is crucial when it comes to revealing their desires.
Our human nature is to share our desires or intentions, directly or indirectly. And these desires lead to actions.
The best way to deliver internet personalization is with search engines.
When a user starts a search, they give vital information on what they need. With other key information such as demographics, businesses can know what to offer you.
They also have the information on “how” to approach you, giving personalized ads a whole new level.
Hyper-intent personalization takes intent personalization to the whole level. In the current era, most marketers mostly use hyper-intent personalization. This is possible because of the available target data.
To make hyper-intent personalization work, the marketer needs a lot of data, including:
- Purchase history
- Expressed want or need
- Specific niche interest
- Buying intent
- Geographical location
- Search history
- Purchase history
- Behavioral patterns
Big giant companies utilize Hyper-intent personalization as they know a lot about their customers. These giant companies(Amazon or Google) know what you need, what’s your intent, and your purchase history.
The last level of the advertising personalization classification is biogenetic personalization.
It is the closest a company can go when messaging their customer. The same is true for customers who want to have the luxury to tell the company what they want.
On the other hand, the company should be ready to communicate with the customer in the time of need. However, this level of communication and trust is not something we have right now.
Obviously, biogenetic personalization has its own issues where both customers and companies need to create a respectable boundary.
Biogenetic personalization will bring customers close to their needs.
For example, they will be monitored for illness, and companies can automatically send medications or on request when they see a need for it.
As we said, reaching that level of personalization is not something we have achieved yet, and only time can tell how we approach truly connecting with customer’s needs.
Advertising personalization is undoubtedly evolving.
Brands and marketers need to understand customers’ needs and find the best possible way to connect with them while ensuring that they do not cross boundaries.
So, what do you think about advertising personalization, and how will you implement it to market your business?
Comment below and let us know.