Digital Advertising Takes a Hit

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Big-name advertisers have begun to question whether they’ve placed too much faith—and money—in targeted advertising.

“When a beer brand wanted to hit a thin slice of the male audience, calorie-conscious men aged 21 to 27, Adobe tested the tactic and showed the client that perhaps it was looking through the wrong goggles to gauge success. By making its ad campaign less targeted, the brand lowered the cost of each ad impression and in the end sold more beer. Opening the target audience to a wider 21-to-34-year-old range led new households to purchase the product, Riordan says.”

“Advertisers are certainly not abandoning the practice of targeting ads, but they are realizing that sometimes their original targets are wrong. When aiming ads for its fitness apparel at the 18-to-24-year-old men who wore it, one advertiser realized it was “mothers and wives buying for their sons and husbands” who were really driving the sales, says Ric Elert, president of Conversant Media, a digital ad firm whose roots are in direct or personalized digital marketing.”

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