July 5, 2010 – 7:42 pm
This is the 1st post in our 3-part series on How to Make Ad Targeting Work, in which we'll discuss various ways in which you can make your advertisers happy by helping them get the right ad in front of the right person at the right time – the Holy Grail of Advertising.
We'll start off with social and demographic targeting, which is all rage at the moment .
Next week, we'll discuss ways to make best use of geographic and language based targeting.
Finally, we'll round off with an in depth look at how to improve contextual and interest based targeting on your site.
Okay, let's get started.
So what exactly is demographic targeting?
Simply put, it is a technique that allows you to direct ads to the people who might be most receptive to it based on their profile or social information such as their age range, gender, income range, relationship status, religion, academic qualifications etc. The list is virtually endless.
The main advantage is that it helps advertisers create ads that don't suck.
For example, you don't want to show a hot dating ad to a couple who are happily married, nor does it make sense to show an Extreme Sports ad with Brody Wilson doing a motorcycle somersault 100ft in the air to my grandma.
Well, I take that back. My grandma might actually like that sort of thing.
Anyway, you get the point. So the next question is how do you get it to work?
Getting started – the advertiser's perspective
For advertisers, applying demographic targeting is a fairly simple process. If they've ever used Facebook Ads then they've probably familiar with it already.
The screenshot below shows what it looks like on Facebook.
Now here's a screenshot of what it looks like in the Trafficspaces Ad Manager.
Very similar indeed. Both systems let advertisers customize their ad targeting on a per-ad basis which is really cool because it allows them to do multivariate testing.
Multivariate testing is simply a way to test many ad targeting assumptions at the same time with a view to determine what works best.
Once the advertiser determines which combination of demographic targeting preferences works best with your users, they can really optimize their ad spend and get the best ROI (Return on Investment).
It's a win for you, a win for your advertiser, and most importantly, a win for your users.
Sounds fantastic. So, how do you set it up in Trafficspaces?
Getting started – the publisher's perspective
First of all, you have to switch on ad targeting in your system setup.
- Go to the Setup->System->Preferences section
- Switch on the ad targeting options that you wish to offer. Don't be tempted to switch on all the options because doing so may overwhelm your advertisers.
- Click on Save Changes and you are good to go.
The second step is to integrate it with your site.
At the beginning of this article, you may have been thinking "How in the world is Trafficspaces going to know if the user is male or female?". Simple, with a bit of Houdini-esque magic. Just kidding. The answer is "through integration".
When a user visits your site, their browser makes a call to fetch ads from the ad servers. This call contains information about the user, and the interesting thing is that you can customize the information on a per-user basis.
Like most sites on the web, your site is probably driven by a dynamic server-side programs written in PHP, ASP, Java etc. What this means is that if the user has signed in, then your server-side program will normally have access to extra information about the user that it will typically use in creating a customized page. That's pretty much how most social networks, dating or community sites work. If you also have snippets of profile info about your users, then you are in good shape to make use of demographic targeting.
The third and final step may be slightly technical so feel free to send it to your techies.
You'll need to install the advanced ad tag on your site. To grab it, go to the Setup->Ad Zones->Ad Tag->Advanced page. You should see something like the screenshot below.
As you can see, there is an attribute called
TS_AdService.flags which contains arrays for each type of ad tageting you've switched on. To pass information about a female user, you can just set
TS_AdService.flags.genders = ["F"]; It's pretty much that simple.
To download the full list of codes, go to the Setup->System->Preferences->Advanced section. You can also customize it with your own codes.
That's it. You don't have to spend a million dollars to provide demographic targeting that works beautifully. Create your own ad store and it comes out of the box.
It is the simple things that make the most difference. Allowing advertisers to improve their Return of Investment makes them happy and that's a good thing.