Right message, right customer, right time – when to say what

Deciding what to say, when to say it, and whom to say it to has always been—to a large extent—a guessing game. But relying on good old-fashioned marketing intuition to target the right audience is hardly an effective online display campaign strategy. With literally billions of targeting possibilities, identifying the ones that will drive the highest quality leads and the greatest ROI is beyond the capabilities of even the most brilliant digital marketer. When it comes to display advertising, there are three main systems for serving ads to consumers. But only one can deliver the right message to the right customer at the right time.

Contextual ads: Right message, but not always the right customer or the right time.
Contextual ads were the first kind of display ad, but today they’re almost archaic. With contextual advertising, you can make sure that your dealership ad shows up on sites that skew to specific topics and categories, but it may not show up at the right time—or for the right audience. The biggest shortcoming with contextual advertising is that while ads may be relevant based on website content—in other words, contextually—the ads are less likely to be relevant to users’ needs. Contextual advertising is the digital equivalent of placing an ad in a newspaper. A large number of people will see it, but they’re not necessarily in market for a new car—and not necessarily at that moment.

Retargeting: Right customer, but not always the right time or the right message.
Retargeting is cookie-based technology that follows your customers around on the web to help keep your dealership in front of them after they leave your site. If someone visits your site to look at the new Ford Escape and then jumps onto Facebook, they can be served an ad for your dealership about the new Ford Escape when they login—and when they visit virtually any other site. Retargeting is more effective than contextual advertising because your ads are served to people who are already familiar with your brand. They’ve been to your site and have shown an interest in what you have to offer. For that reason, it’s a heavy hitter in the conversion game. But retargeting does not drive new traffic to your site, and it can’t root out those previous visitors who are actually ready to buy a new car.

Behavioral targeting: The right message, the right customer, the right time.
Online shoppers give off a series of signs to the search universe that says they’re in the market for a new car: they’re looking at lease deals, car insurance rates, comparing models and options.
With behavioral targeting, the data collected allows advertisers to create customer profiles and defined audience segments. Ads can be targeted to those users whose behaviors indicate higher levels of interest and intent in your site and your inventory. More important, the ads served contain data-driven, relevant content and offers that evolve as users move between channels. Behavioral targeting delivers the biggest payoff for online advertisers—by delivering personalized online experiences to more customers at the right time.

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