Thursday, August 03, 2006

Maybe ultra-targeted ads are not the Holy Grail

Dave Winer writes:

"When they finish the process of better and better targeted advertising, that's when the whole idea of advertising will go poof, will disappear. If it's perfectly targeted, it isn't advertising, it's information. Information is welcome, advertising is offensive."

Is perfectly targeted product information really always welcome? On whose terms? The key thing is that part of being perfectly targeted to me is only showing up in my face when I need it, or perhaps even more restrictively, when I want it. That's a tough one isn't it? But that is the holy grail of advertising in my books.

I must be one of the few people in the world who *doesn't* always want to buy something. The key is somehow finding out when I'm interested in buying something and then, what I'm interested in buying.

At the risk of sounding like a luddite, I think focusing web technology efforts on providing a better 'Yellow Pages' model might be a path missed by many. I would give my left nut for a killer ad-site targeted to me. But one that I can go to, not one shoved in my face.

Google already does this to a large degree with their Google Local service, but it could be much much better.

I still visit when I'm trying to find a local service. It's an ugly, awkward site. It could be made a whole lot better and a whole lot more useful. That, my friends is the nut that nobody is even trying to crack. Instead, everyone wants to shove unwanted (and at the same time targeted) ads at me in a way that they hope doesn't piss me off. Is this model really working? If so, for how long?


Earl said...

I agree with you about targeted advertising...who, what, when, and where are key ingredients. You can't ignore any of those and think you've reached the pinnacle.

I’m more of the type that would prefer to go to the ads when I want something instead of having them come to me, much like you I believe. Oh, and while I would enjoy a killer ad site targeted to me, I draw the line at trading body parts for one! :-)