The Rise of Targeted Advertising

hulu adsLet’s say you’re shopping on Amazon for a new pair of shoes. You save a few in your wish list, and then move on to Facebook. While scrolling through your Newsfeed, you see an ad for one of those pairs of shoes. “How did Facebook know I was looking at those?” you may wonder.

The answer is targeted advertising, which has been increasing in various formats across the web in recent years. On Hulu, targeted advertising takes a slightly different turn by allowing the user to have a say in what ads he or she sees. Targeted advertising is widely viewed as the next frontier of online marketing, and various social media and video-viewing websites are discovering innovative ways of reaching their customers with targeted ads.

Facebook & Targeted Ads

Earlier this year, Facebook announced a partnership with four companies that collect lucrative behavioral data, which means they track everything from loyalty card transactions to web browsing records. One of their partners is BlueKai, a company that creates tracking cookies that allow brands to monitor the customers who visit their website. This partnership provides Facebook with that data and enables them to target users with ads that are relevant to their browsing and purchase history. These new partnerships reflect a continued targeted advertising strategy put in place by Facebook to increase profits.

Hulu Ad Tailor

In 2010, popular video-on-demand website Hulu introduced Ad Tailor, a revolutionary change to TV advertising. Ad Tailor allows users to mark if an advertisement is relevant to them, in turn enabling Hulu to choose better ads for the user. In 2011, Hulu introduced additions to Ad Tailor: Ad Selector and Ad Swap. Ad Selector prompts the user to choose 1 of 3 ads, while Ad Swap allows users to choose a different ad if the current one is not relevant to them.

The Ad Tailor system is beneficial to both Hulu and their advertisers for a few major reasons. For advertisers, it provides real-time data to see which ads perform better and which ads convert into sales or potential sales. For Hulu, this system assists them in getting users to watch more TV, and enables them to charge advertisers more for providing them with data.

Twitter Joins the Game

While Facebook has been using targeted ads for some time now, Twitter just announced that they too will begin utilizing targeted advertising. Not only will they use the system of tracking user data with cookies and other information, but Twitter also plans to use geolocated promoted tweets, which allows retailers to target consumers who live near them. Facebook began using zip codes for targeted ads a few years ago.

Ads Are Following You

No really, targeted advertising is literally beginning to follow you. A company called Drawbridge has developed methods to allow advertisers to track consumers across their devices, from PCs to tablets to smartphones. Another recent innovation, this technology brings targeted advertising to a new level.

Has your business used targeted advertising to reach more customers?

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Elizabeth K

Elizabeth Kent is a recent graduate with an M.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies from Brandeis University. She earned her B.A. from Smith College with a major in the Study of Women and Gender and a minor in Jewish Studies. Elizabeth recently relocated from the Boston area back to Western Massachusetts, where she spends her free time volunteering with a local non-profit organization. Elizabeth has worked as a writing tutor, archival intern, research assistant, and retail associate. Her interests include studying pop culture, kittens, and making meals with as little cooking as possible.

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