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Posted by Craig on December 19, 2018

Do consumers love it when advertisers already know what they’re looking for and serve up a related ad or does it creep them out? When do advertisers cross the line of becoming too familiar with someone’s personal life?

Google already knows almost everything about a customer based on what they’ve searched for. They just choose not to disclose all of it. Their guidelines prohibit personally targeted advertising the following categories:

  • Alcohol
  • Gambling
  • Restricted Drugs
  • Personal Struggles or Hardships
  • Health Issues
  • Negative Financial Status
  • Criminal Record
  • Identity
  • Belief System
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Political Affiliation
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Religion

But that still leaves a lot of categories for advertisers. With data being at the centre of the new digital revolution, brands want to be able to target the right person at the right time. This ensures that their marketing dollars are maximized.

Consumers are also looking for the best information, when they need it. If they’re hungry for a pizza at 5:30, they want to see all of best available deals from their favorite chain. The competition however isn’t willing to sit back and let that customer order a Pizza Pizza pizza again without putting up a fight.

So how does Domino’s know you like to order an XL with double cheese at 5:30 on Fridays from Pizza Pizza? They buy the information from your credit card company. Or Google. Or even Pizza Pizza themselves. Transactional data is what companies pay big money for and what some app valuations are based on.

The latest data collection devices for advertisers are the ones consumers are paying for themselves. Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home are one of this year’s hot holiday presents. And it’s a gift for brands as well because every voice command is stored and helps Amazon and Google build out detailed consumer buying profiles.

Not to be outdone, Facebook is implementing new dynamic ads to follow your digital footprints. Holiday Inn Express for example tracked people who searched for hotels on its website but hadn't yet booked. Videos appeared in users Facebook feeds personalized to the dates and places they searched for. The result: the hotel chain got three times the return on what it spent on these ads than on their previous ad campaigns. (Source

But it’s a fine line with consumers. If they feel they’re being watched, they have tools to increase their privacy. Use of ad blocking technology is currently estimated at over 30%, a figure that continues to rise.

So, for advertisers, the way to win the targeting war is to always come across to the shopper as being helpful and relevant, not intrusive. Otherwise they might find themselves blocked out of the next wave of consumer advertising.

To learn more about responsible digital marketing, contact the connectors at BTI Brand Innovations for a one on one consultation for your business.