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Old 03-02-2004, 11:23 AM   #1
ZRide
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Default Targeting (or lack thereof) in CPC/CPM Advertising

Has anyone else noticed what a poor job of targetting ads many of the nets are doing? A lot of them have catergories for publishers to channel themselves in, but it seems like the ads have little or no bearing on these categories.

Up until this point I've used only AdSense on my new site. Now I know AdSense is probably the best targetted program going and it isn't fair to compare non-contextual ads with Google, but...

My site is on distance education. The audience is a very targetted group of professional adults, generally with families and busy lives, who want to better themselves through flexible college degree programs. I categorize my site as Education with one of the ad nets (no names here) and start showing ads for Yahoo personals What's with that?!! I highly doubt my audience is looking for a fling with someone on the Internet.

I know this problem isn't unique to the net I signed up with either. I've seen many a site advertising personals, smilies, and casinos when their topic is nothing related to that.

One area that seems to not feel this lack of targetting is technical web sites. Maybe this is because whole nets exist just to service tech/webmaster sites. Anything other than that, though, seems like a "luck of the draw" as far as targetting goes.

I can't wait until I get enough traffic to apply to Tribal Fusion. They may be my only hope (other than Google) for ads my visitors will care about.

Please tell me I'm not alone in feeling this way about the nets. Targetting is important not just to advertisers, but publishers too. If we were actually served ads better targetted to our visitors then our revenue would improve, the revenue of the net would improve, and the revenue of the advertiser would improve.

So what's the problem? Where has targetting gone awry?

Z
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Old 03-02-2004, 07:44 PM   #2
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My personal feeling is, give it a year when the internet ad market is well into recovery.

I think most ad networks are struggling just to keep ad rates at a decent level these days, more less finding enough advertisers to divide them up into "channels."
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Old 03-02-2004, 07:55 PM   #3
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Maybe that (the Internet ad slump) is the reason why ads are so untargetted. It just gets a little boring seeing the same ads on every site you go to. It's frustrating too, but I suppose everyone's frustrated, publishers, advertisers, and nets. <sigh>

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Old 03-02-2004, 11:41 PM   #4
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You seem to be making a basic assumption that's false. Namely that ads need to be about the same topic as your site to be targetted ads. That's simply not true. Ads need to be targetted to the interests of your particular users to be targetted. An example:

Let's say your site is about differential equations.
You're audience is 90% college students and 10% educators.
An add for "Spring Break Travel" is targetted to your site's visitors even though it's not related to the topic of your site.

Now it's likely that even if you do have a site about differential equations with that type of traffic you're not seeing spring break ads but rather personals, gambling, etc that are not really of interest to your visitors. There are two reasons for that:

1) there are not enough advertisers who want to target your audience to buy all your available inventory
2) there are advertisers who are looking for a "general" audience who are willing to buy the space on your site

Watch TV and you'll see much the same effect. During a football game the advertisers largely have a young male audience and so they advertise beer and cars. Once those "targetted" ads run you get "general" interest things - laundry detergent and clothing - things that everyone needs to buy.

With that in mind you might want to try doing some targetting of your own. Think about your audience - age, income, gender - and what they might be interested in and see if you can find ads to meet those interests - either CPA ads with a network like CJ or approach the advertisers directly.
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Old 03-03-2004, 08:21 AM   #5
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I'm not saying that ads need to be 100% targetted to my visitors. I'm well aware that there is a wide array of ads shown on television and with a range of appeal.

What I was commenting on was more about the fact that all sites seem to be running (in large part) the same "spread" of ads that every other site runs. All sites don't have the same demographics and the ads should be somewhat different between say my site and Geek Village and the IMDb.

Perhaps certain ads would overlap, but certainly not all of them.

No, I didn't mean I was expecting just a small narrow little segment of education ads (that would be stupid of me to limit myself to that extreme ) I was just using that as a jumping board to what I see as a far more reaching topic.

I think that the ads, at least some of the mix, should be different on different kinds of sites.

While Coke can pretty much run an ad on any tv show and reach a potential audience, you typically will not see ads for diapers during sporting events or see ads for the swimsuit edition of sports illustrated during a soap opera.

I would expect the same targetting to take place in the web market.

That was my only point

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Old 03-03-2004, 09:59 AM   #6
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Uh guys.... there is no net advertising slump. It's been like this for going on 3 years now. I don't think there will be a recovery in the works. This is now the norm. This IS the recovery!

Rates were way high before because of inflated dot com stock prices, and businessmen shelling out more cash than they were taking in.
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Old 03-03-2004, 10:27 AM   #7
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Slump or not, I'm not really even talking about CPM/CPA/CPC rates. I'm talking about a general lack of targetting. I'm also thinking CPA may be the way to go, at least for now, and at least for my site. Then there WILL be targetting at some level because I will be the one doing the targetting.

Does anyone else agree with me that CPA may be the only way to target anymore, or am I just insane like everyone says



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Old 03-03-2004, 02:30 PM   #8
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I am hoping that the new 728's ad format change things for the better. I heard that the results were 4 times greater with that. But it all comes down to what works and right now this is what is working.
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Old 03-03-2004, 03:00 PM   #9
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Z said: "Does anyone else agree with me that CPA may be the only way to target anymore, or am I just insane like everyone says"

You are far from insane. Matter of fact, you are quite bright

The short answer is NO

The long answer: Each site is different. Even within a given site focus, site A may do it differently than site B. Both achieve similar results. Think "trial and error" for a given period of time untill you find the best solution.

In your case and your site only at:

http://www.distancelearninginfo.com/


Geek jnestor had some great thoughts. Head on over to cj and or shareasale and find some CPA campaigns to experiment with along side your AdSense stuff. They may also have some reliable sign up for this or that bonus programs which may work. Perhaps auto insurance may be worth exploring as college kids may not need a new BMW but they do need auto insurance.

Have you considered selling your very own CPM Campaigns? Have you examined in detail what your competition is doing? I spend at least one hour per month inside my competitiors, closely looking at what they are doing, how they are doing it, and it sometimes inspires me to try new things. Sometimes I dream the stuff up all by myself and it fails but failing while experimenting has never been a concern. Sometimes my competition clones what I do. Thats also fine.

HTH

Last edited by Steve_S; 03-03-2004 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 03-03-2004, 03:09 PM   #10
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I can actually see those interested in online degrees to also be interested in single sites. No time to go to school = probably no time to date. These people are probably looking for an education online to boost their income, meaning they might not earn a large salary.... meaning freebies and sweeps campaigns would do OK too.

You'll probably always earn more with your target group. Don't let your advertising lose too much focus from your target group, but you can always earn more by using extra ads.
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Old 03-03-2004, 03:18 PM   #11
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I'd like to thank everyone who's responded to this thread for their advice. I think that I was just in for a shock coming off of a high traffic / low value entertainment site that I used to run and finding the nets wanting to place the same ads on my new site. It seemed a little odd and made me think quite a bit more about what path I'd like to take for this new venture.

I am far from familiar with the online advertising world, at least looking at it from my current vantage point. My former entertainment site just sort of "fell" into advertising. My new site is one that I'm actually putting ad planning time into. As such I'm not nearly as schooled in this medium as several fellow geeks are, so you'll have to bear with me here

I am actually taking the advice of some members in that I've signed up with some Linkshare/CJ affiliate programs that I think are good matches for my site (test preparation courses/books, textbook stores, and what not). I'll pepper these campaigns with a new of the more generic ones the nets are showing.

Auto insurance may be another good advertising choice, you are correct. It is also not one I would have thought of on my own, so I thank you for the suggestion

Running my own ad campaigns is actually what I'm hoping for in the future, but I guess probably most sites aspire to that. I'm still working on tweaking the site for the search engines, so it may be awhile before I can actually get an "in-house" campaign program going.

More than anything I just want to do "ad planning" at this point so that I do not have to try and "fit it into" the site at a later date. Doing so is quite difficult as I learned with my last site.

I have actually looked around some at my competitors. Interestingly enough I've found both good ideas and ideas I can say I want to be sure to steer away from. Both points were helpful however.

Once again, thanks to everyone who's offered advice. Webmastering constantly shows me I have more than I ever thought possible to learn, but the challenge is fun

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Old 03-03-2004, 03:34 PM   #12
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How about all those smiley face banners. Pure saturation across several top networks.
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Old 03-04-2004, 04:39 AM   #13
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I gave up on CPA a long time ago. Fact of the matter is, right now, my highest traffic site is a VERY Democratic site, basically bad mouthing Bush at every chance we get. but at the same time, our highest revenue ads are for the Rupbilican National Commitee. A few years ago if my CTR was under 1% I' be outraged. now if it's over 0.25 I'm happy. Most of the ads, are things my users would never click on, But these are the ads the networks put on my site. Personally, when I'm getting paid by CPM, I'd rather have a campaing paying $0.45 that no one ever clicks on, then one that pays $0.10 with a 4% CTR. I'm here to make money. not make people happy. and if the ad companies want to put what ever on what ever, then honestly I couldn't care less, as long as I make what I want to make each month.
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Old 03-04-2004, 08:56 AM   #14
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In a way all of those republican ads are [cough]targetted[/cough] though.

Your site is a politcal site. The people who run the ad probably asked that it be placed on political sites (as well as several other channels probably). I can even see that a democratic site would be something the republicans would want to target.

Guess it's a good thing you're getting a CPM with them though, huh

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