Never Shopped for a Watch but Have a Watch Ad in the Corner?


Never Shopped for a Watch but Have a Watch Ad in the Corner?
There’s a Reason It’s There.
By Anupam Singh


Link to HBR Article:  Targeted Ads Don’t Just Make You More Likely to Buy — They Can Change How You Think About Yourself

It is well known that in this age of technology we, the consumers, are inundated with ads, offers and solicitations. Our inboxes are full. How often have you gone on vacation for a few days only to come back to an inbox full of hundreds of emails? And none of them seem relevant.

“5-day All-Inclusive Resort in Cancun – ONLY $599” I just got back from Cancun.
“10X Bonus Points for signing up today!” How did you get my email?
“Chocolate of the Month CLUB SPECIAL” That was a one-time purchase for my wife…

Please, let me just get to that email from my customer.

No wonder there is a whole genre of “smart” email inbox products (like Gmail’s Inbox) that are trying to learn how to rank and categorize based on what is important to you.

Then there are the ads on my apps or websites I visit. Yes, I bought a Fitbit; but:

1) It was a gift for my wife,
2) She hasn’t used it after the first week and…
3) I have no interest in buying another one.
(I am in huge trouble if she reads this note 😞)

These ads and emails were clearly targeted based on my general demographics and websites I had purchased from. Therefore, it was interesting to read this HBR article on the latest research on targeted ads; the article talks about how there is a strategy to targeting…one that goes past what a consumer buys online and, rather, looks at what a consumer does and then targets accordingly.

Targeted Ads Don’t Just Make You More Likely to Buy — They Can Change How You Think About Yourself

According to HBR, if consumers are looking at travel sites or high-end deals, an ad that features a sophisticated restaurant in their city garners more clicks and conversions. Sure, the consumer was actually looking for a weekend getaway, but by focusing on their behavior and what that means about the consumer, companies were able to find the niche that is interested in spending money on wining and dining rather than the person who was just looking for some takeout that night.

This evolution of bringing behavioral deductions into targeted ads is a very strong step forward for online engagement in a space. At 113, we use a similar tactic of behavioral research to understand consumers on new levels to help our clients launch new products, marketing or branding strategies. Why are they buying bags and bags of a product? How are they consuming these products? What are their demand moments? What is it that they like about the product? How does this product fit into their lifestyle?

And on and on…

We believe this is the future of consumer engagement.

Another key insight from this research is that “…changes in self-perceptions from behaviorally targeted ads can impact behaviors extending beyond purchase intentions.” Consumers viewed themselves as more sophisticated after seeing an ad for a high-end watch that they understand being targeted for them, based on their behavior. We have not only seen this phenomenon, but many other implications ranging from brand affinity and brand loyalty to actual purchases and perceived value of the product or service and their continued engagement. While this type of understanding is in it’s very early stages for effective marketing, we firmly believe that in today’s world of digital engagement, it will be a key success factor in evolving as consumers’ and their shopping, engagement and preference behaviors evolve too.