If you’ve ever read my stuff you know that I normally write about SEO, link building, pay per click and social media. I’m a huge fan of blogging and infographics too. Honestly, I thought I was pretty well rounded when it came to the world of “internet marketing.” Boy have I ever had a wake up call over the past few months. That’s because I’ve entered the world of Display Advertising.

“What? Display you say?!” Yep. Display. But if you’re thinking of those annoying “Click here to win an iPod” or “Tips for burning fat” display ads, you’re way off. No, I’m talking about Retargeted Display Advertising. These are ads that are specifically targeted to people who have shown some kind of online activity through search or online browsing that indicates that they are a good lead for a particular company making it so that advertisers can actually get their message in front of an authentic audience that is more likely to buy.

Consider this scenario. You need some hiking boots for camp. You do some searching and you look around at some sites that sell hiking boots. You even find yourself reading online reviews and blogs about hiking and the best boots for that activity. A few minutes later, you’re off to read something else. You’re interested in the latest summer blockbuster movies or you’re comparing the iPhone with the Samsung Galaxy. But there on those pages, you start to see ads for hiking boots. This is called Search Retargeting. Cool, right? Display ads that you’ve habitually ignored are now speaking directly to you, and you don’t mind because you still need hiking boots.

Or maybe you need new luggage because you’re traveling more than before and yours is falling apart. You do some searching and find yourself on a site that sells what you’re looking for. But you’re just not sure. Maybe you don’t need one that bad. Maybe your old one is just fine and you don’t need to spend the money. Later, as you’re browsing the web, you start seeing display ads from the site(s) you visited, reminding you that you really do WANT that new luggage. This is called Site Retargeting.

These are great ads. These ads are relevant and not just “online noise.” These ads have about a billion times* better chance at getting me to make a purchase than the ad I just saw for Geico while I was reading a forum about Jeeps. I don’t need Geico! Not that there’s anything wrong with Geico’s ad. We all know their “fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent” tagline right? That’s because of a great advertising campaign. I’m just saying that ad wasn’t relevant to me. I don’t care about insurance ’cause I’ve already got insurance that I’m happy with.

Advertisers have been faced with this problem for years and years. John Wanamaker is famous for saying, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” This isn’t a new problem. But Retargeting is a new solution. (It has been around for a few years but is now really gaining momentum – especially in Local.) No, not every impression will be served to exactly the right person at exactly the right time. But it’s a whole lot better than sending a direct mail piece to 5000 residents, hoping a handful of them need your product. Retargeting only gets in front of people who have indicated in some way (through their search history and online actions) that they have an interest in your products and services.

Anyway, I just wanted to share this with my readers who maybe haven’t discovered this concept yet. You may not be ready to do retargeting, but it’s growing in the local space really fast. Experts are suggesting that this form of online advertising may actually exceed SEARCH budgets in the next few years.

And in case you want to learn more about this, here’s an article that looks at why the brain pays attention to relevant ads. I’ll be posting industry news on this topic on my professional facebook page too.

Thanks for reading.


* “a billion times better” is not an actual statistic.