Feeling Targeted? Staying Out of Your Brain

To effectively sell your product or service, you might want to take a closer look at who you’re selling to. A salesman might have some top notch ice, but he would have a heck of a time selling it to a polar bear. Targeted advertising is the solution. By narrowing the audience of advertisements to those who are most likely to value your product or service, everyone wins. Consumers see advertisements for products they’re actually interested in; your advertisements become more effective (one study found click through rates to be improved by an average of 670%).

But how exactly do you target the right audience?

User data collection is today’s dominant method of targeted advertising. YouTube advertisements target users based on demographic information from their account, their viewing history, and even their google search history. But this can be perceived as invasive by the user.
According to a recent Pew survey, 68% of web users are uncomfortable with these targeted advertising strategies. It makes people uneasy to know that their browsing information and viewing habits are being viewed and analyzed by a third party. People don’t like having their personal data sifted through. But videos? Videos don’t mind.

Instead of mining the user, we ought to mine the video. When a user comes to a page to view a video, the most important thing on the page is the video itself. The users interests are specifically aligned with the content of that video since they have specifically sought that content and are spending long periods of time viewing it. Three things are achieved by doing this kind of content targeting. One, we actually capture the users more immediate interest (the content) as opposed to what they were searching for in their email yesterday. Two, the user feels less invaded and more at ease the advertising that results from this. Three, we are able to more widely target in places where user mining is not possible and not allowed.

And that’s a Yahtzee: win, win, win.