displayA couple of years ago, my mother opened her Facebook Page saw an ad for Birding event in the right sidebar.  She had listed birding as a hobby on her FB profile.

Last Christmas, I wrote a blog for a client and used a “blow up” Santa image as an illustration.  The next time I opened my browser, there was an ad from Menard’s offering me a discount on a blow up Santa.

Yesterday I published an article in which I mentioned that I had been a Human Resources Manager.  This morning, I opened my Internet browser and noticed a banner ad for SHRM.  SHRM is the Society for Human Resource Management.  Since I haven’t been in Human Resources for years, I wonder:  Has display ad targeting evolved to the point that my mention of my past career in an article could trigger this ad?

Big Data/Big Results

Google, Facebook, Amazon and other companies are collecting massive amounts of data. They are not only collecting data their customers add to their profiles, but looking at their social media posts, comments, product reviews, and any other clues they can find.  They are then sifting through the data and using it on their own properties and purchasing ad space on others, assuring that their target customers get to see their products and services.

Google Now and Facebook’s new Local Awareness ads are both targeting mobile users. Google Now will display a pop-up message to people that an item they have searched for on any of their devices is available nearby.  Facebook’s Local Awareness ads will display ads (based on Big Data) to people who may be interested in specific products and are in the vicinity of the participating businesses.

TV ads that offer a “shotgun” approach are becoming less and less effective. When I’m not skipping through them on my DVR, I notice that most of them are of no interest to me.  I don’t need a new car, and am not in the market for a new suit or an engagement ring!

Do Display Ads Work?

After seeing the FB ad, my mother attended the birding event.  (There seem to be a lot of people who like bird watching, because it was a really big event!)

I wasn’t in the market for a blow up Santa or joining SHRM. However, I have searched for information on refrigerators, and have been paying attention to the ads that keep showing up in various places on the Pages I view. I am considering one of them – looks good and the price is right!

Amazon is experimenting with the idea of shipping items to people BEFORE they order them!  They believe that they can gather enough information about their customers to predict what they will order.  I am an Amazon customer, but don’t consider myself a particularly predictable person, so I am curious to see if I get any unsolicited items from Amazon – and if I will want to keep them.