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What If Consumers Could Generate Ads They Want To See?

Last week I sent myself an email to generate a Google text ad.  As any Gmail user knows, Google serves ads based on the text content of your email.  So corresponding back and forth with a good friend of mine whose wedding I will be attending in Peru next month results in several offers for Peru travel advisors.  Those ads are relevant, so I am likely to click on them.  Of course, the saavier among you is probably reading this thinking it’s not so different from text ads on any search engine.  After all, if I typed in "lima, peru" into any search engine, I would get lots of ads.  The problem is intent.  When I am just learning about Lima, all I want is background information.  At the point when I am ready to purchase, I want to see offers.  Keyword advertisers are getting smarter about targeting intent, but it sometimes seems like banner ads are getting left behind. 

Often they are still purchased based on the demographics of a site overall and simply served in random order.  Most would agree this doesn’t work.  But think about how a printed copy of the yellow pages works.  These are essentially filled with banner ads and organized by category.  What if there was a site where banner ads were organized the same way?  As a consumer I could enter by region, category or even individual product.  Going to the site would give me a list of banners with the current promotional offer that the vendor has on right now for whatever I am seeking.  The ads, in effect, could be generated by page based on a user’s search terms.  This is consumer generated advertising – but where they are calling up the ads that they want to see rather than creating ads themselves.  Thinking even more broadly – what if you could also call up television ads from an archive to watch based on what you were interested in buying?  Would someone in the market for laundry detergent watch three ads back to back from three different companies before making a decision?  Maybe not.  But if I’m looking for a hotel in Lima, or a new car, or a digital camera, or a new kitchen appliance … you bet I would.

7 thoughts on “What If Consumers Could Generate Ads They Want To See?”

  1. Pingback: CCUCEO
  2. From the behavioral point of view, they do create the collection of ads they want to see in search, they (search users) will continue to modify the search string until they see the right collection of ads, including search engine generated “ads” for the webpages it thinks most relevant.

    The trouble with hierarchical categories is the inneficiency of drilling down to the level you want and dynamically assigning ads to additional approproate categories. I like the idea in pricipal but the various schemes I imagine for displaying results are all flawed in one obvious way or another.

  3. In the beginning you might need to given an incentive for consumers to put in their current demo/need state, but once they got the hang of it…might just work.

    Or, and I wonder if this has been tried, get your iTunes Lost episode at half the cost if you fill out this questionnaire road block…or something like that.

  4. It’s an exciting and interesting time right now in advertising. Clearly contextual and search based Internet advertising has changed the landscape forever. But with Google (and others) looking to apply their scientific tools to other mediums like radio, print and TV, what will advertising look like in 2015?

    At the end of the day, the old advertising model was to interrupt you, get your attention and perhaps get you to buy some things you didn’t know you wanted until you were interrupted. Companies have interrupted us using humor, color, noise and shock value to name just a few. Some of these we enjoy so rather than an interruption, we see it as entertainment. Is that the point of advertising? Probably not, but hey, it makes life interesting. Text links certainly do not, but there is a much higher chance that the link you are looking at is actually relevant to you.

    I wonder out loud how things will look. You have the scientific, pay per lead based technology crowd screaming in a bus towards the old school creative crowd in a similar vehicle. One thing is for sure, there will be nowhere for the old schoolers to hide if their advertising campaigns are not producing.

    Ultimately for business owners, these highly qualified prospects should be better for their bottom line and theoretically cost them less to attract. I just hope we don’t “throw out the baby with the bathwater” to use the old cliche as the world would be a pretty bland place if algorithms decide what we should and should not see.

  5. I’m not sure it is all “interruption marketing” – part of the old model includes classified ads – you have to want to look at them, magazines that are almost primarily ad focused (think thick fashion mags, auto mags) bought almost as much for the ads as for the content, even the superbowl – how many people watch the super bowl for the ads?


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Rohit is the author of 10 books on trends, the future of business, building a more human brand with storytelling and how to create a more diverse and inclusive world.


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