Consumer Know How Blog
22 October 2009
Alex Marks, Head of International Business Marketing, eBay Advertising
Next year we'll be millionaires. So I said to my mate on MyTubeFace the other day. And lo, I was approached by all manner of luxury brands intent on gleaning my forthcoming spending power. Alas, I am a big fat liar and the chances of me being a millionaire this time next year are highly slim. Those advertisers wasted their money yet again.
So the idea of serving adverts according to sentiments expressed on social networking sites (New ad tool can read your mind AND predict the future, Revolution Magazine 12.08.09) is an interesting one, but I would advise advertisers to approach such technologies with caution.
While technology is likely to be able to pick out positive or negative keywords, it is unlikely that it would be able to accurately understand the context of a comment – such as the motivation or mindset of the consumer throughout different stages of the purchase journey.
As we all know. people are not always truthful on social networking sites, where anonymity and a lack of eye contact can be more intoxicating than several pints in the pub. This surely imposes limitations on the success rate of the technology in identifying the right potential customers.
Speaking from experience, I've been at the sharp end of this nascent technology. I have a Gmail account that insists on highlighting recipes for spam based meals on account of my lack of spam filter.
The other factor is scalability. The success of any targeting technology requires huge scale to deliver meaningful impact and ROI. However smart or intuitive, there's little value in a targeting tool without significant volume of consumers to target, and I suspect this will be the biggest challenge to overcome. While I admire the thought process from which the development of this technology has come, will it provide benefits to advertisers? Probably, but not on any significant scale to be effective.