As more and more “free” online services become available, more and more users are willingly offering their personal information to get access to the latest and greatest. The End User License Agreement, also known as EULA has been changed many times with your popular free programs, such as Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, and Youtube. Gradually these companies have requested more access to your personal data so that they can offer more efficient promotional messaging solutions to their advertisers.
Although we should be concerned what these big companies know about us, it has made it easier for businesses to run more efficient marketing campaigns to their prospective buyers. The way we buy and consume products has definitely changed over the years. Where in the past when we decided to go buy a new car, we would visit a few car lots and then allow the sales person to educate us on the latest and greatest. Now with the internet we go online to read reviews and blog posts to educate ourselves and eliminate about 70%, so that we only have to talk to a select few that offer what we need.
So with the data that is collected by Google, Facebook, Twitter, and ad exchange companies can now target their advertising directly to the consumer when they are actively researching for their new purchase. Your online behavior is being monitored every day through social media, website that you visit, and locations you visit while carrying your phone.
Just like in direct mail, companies can now select a profile for their ideal client such as: Male, 25-36 years old, single, with two cats, and a wooden leg… The data that is collected from all the website traffic then creates a profile that fits the advertisers ideal target market. This is not just based on websites you visit, but also the content you read, the videos you watch, and the online conversations you have.
Certain ad exchanges have an advanced mobile tracking solution where they use the GPS of your phone and cellphone tower locations to determine where the buyers are located and they can actually GEO-fence their own location and their competitors. Car lots love this new technology, because now they can send their message to anyone who visits a car lot in town and serve their message.
Once they identify the online consumer to be an ideal client by online behavior or if they visited the company website the advertiser can then also retarget advertising to these consumers for a certain time or certain impressions. You probably have noticed this whenever you place anything in Amazons cart and then leave the site. All of a sudden you see ads on your Facebook and any news website, trying you to complete your purchase.
All of this is kinda creepy, but for advertisers this can be very valuable. Every business tries to limit its advertising spend and wants to get their message in front of their customers when they are ready to buy.