The Internet is not Magic

Regular readers may remember my post a few months back commenting on an interesting DataXu article about high price volatility in the RTB-driven spot market for online advertising.  They put up another really interesting article Monday.

It seems their research has shown that (what I will call) “overtargeting” is bad for performance.

Regular readers will certainly remember my frequent commentary on this issue in the context of driving offline sales.  Many targeting techniques sound hyper-precise (great!), but don’t deliver the goods when impact on key attitudinal indicators like purchase intent, or more importantly impact on offline sales, is measured.  Better sales tools than success tools indeed.

Imagine my interest as I read this new research showing excessive targeting doesn’t even work for the DR metrics they studied.  If this stuff doesn’t work for branding or DR, what does it work for?  Does it serve any other purpose than as the shiny object that helps burgeoning hordes of venture-funded media sales people to convince increasingly overwhelmed media buyers to further fragment their media budgets?

Clients: Don’t take privacy risks or pay premiums for targeting that doesn’t deliver results.  Listen with a skeptical ear.  If a targeting tactic sounds too good to be true it almost certainly is.  The internet is a fantastic marketing channel, but it’s not magic.  Anyone that suggests otherwise is either a fool or takes you for one.

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