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Content targeting, Behavioral targeting, why I prefer the first

March 18, 2009


I don’t know whether you’re like me but I hate behavioral targeting.

On one end, it’s entirely built on making use of data I consider private but most important, I find it so basic that it makes me angry.  Should I say that it’s lacking “finesse”.  I have ended up using Ad blocker on all the sites that do that.

To make a long story short,  it works  as follows:   you disclose that you’re pregnant or just had a baby and you’re  bombarded with ads for baby products until  you’ll be fed up with it and change your profile – pretend you’re a man- or they figure out your child has just turned 12 ;-).

From an external view, it doesn’t sound much different from “search advertising” which made Google so successful:  you type  “baby food” as a query and you’re offered advertising for cribs.

But it IS  different . In behavioral targeting, the brand is making the first move so they have to earn the right for your attention which means they have to be clever. Expectations are not the same.

Behavioral targeting misses the suggestion power that marketing and advertising is all about. It’s too mechanical and not clever enough for humans. First time it’s funny. 10 000’s time, you fell you’re interacting with monkeys – not that I have anything against monkeys -.

Have you ever be surprised by an ad on Facebook ?

The art of influence and suggestion  is more or less a dating game and  content targeting offers a much better play for brand to express their creativity without the risk of being perceived as “engines”.

Language is such a wonderful thing.

Much more complex, much more human.

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 18, 2009 5:44 pm

    I agree, and want to point out that it is seeming to be less effective because of the brainless ads that are presented.

    Going along with your idea of ‘surprise’ or ‘cleverness’ of advertising, if a company were to use behavioral targeting in such a way that I did not realize I was being marketed to because I’m engaged, then I may pay attention.

    Rather than sorting through tux/photographers/wedding ring ad’s, if I were to receive a great ad for a great deal on airfare (that did not mention the word honeymoon), I may be interested.

    Consumers aren’t as dumb as behavioral marketing wants them to be. They can put 2 and 2 together.

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