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Importance of Targeted Ads For Small Businesses

Small businesses using targeted ads

When the Facebook privacy storm blew up it sparked lots of conversations about privacy, unsettling everyone into Big Brother-style advertising and throwing in a whole bunch of paranoia to suit.

But what about the less suspicious? The people who tried damping down the flames by expressing the idea that targeted ads could be a good thing, giving you a more relevant user experience?

Simply put, targeted ads are a form of advertising based on:

  1. demographics
  2. consumers previous buying history
  3. consumer behaviour.

They've been standard practice for years, providing the user with a personalised experience to keep them online. 

Not everyone knows when they're clicking on an ad, or can tell the difference between an organic search result and an ad. Google for example have tried to make this more obvious over time by adding 'AD' next to paid search results, and Facebook lets you know what content in your feed is sponsored. What about those who do know it's an advert, what makes them click?

In a survey of 506 by agency research firm Clutch, of all the people who said they have clicked on a paid search ad in the past month, 75% said the ads make it easier to find the information they’re looking for. That’s a good indication they think the ads are relevant to their searches.

The top reason people said they click on search ads?

That the ads answered their queries, saving time and effort.

Which makes perfect sense, plus it works both ways. For businesses, by not properly identifying your audience and drilling it down to the details which make a customer persona, you provide ads that fit their online experience. The flip side of this, by blanketing ads to the general public, may lead to bigger reaches resulting in a higher cost-per-click and a lower click-through rate. Social media platforms, like Facebook, have made it easy to fine tune their ads for small businesses with limited budgets who are running their own marketing.  

There is still quite a lot of research to be explored into how people respond to online data collection and ad targeting. Especially as the younger generation of digital users become consumers. Yet this should not deter businesses from making sure all ads are customer centred, creating value for the consumer. 

Posted on January 9th 2019

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