The average American sees about 5,000 ads every day.
While some of these ads may be relevant to us, many of them aren’t. We’ve all seen ads for products we can’t afford, or that we have no interest in. Over time, we’ve become accustomed to this.
But imagine, for a moment, a different world. What if ads you saw were designed to appeal directly to you?
A few decades ago, such a concept would have only been possible in science fiction. We’re still not quite there yet. But with Google’s recent advances in target marketing strategies, we’re definitely getting closer.
Let’s take a look at how Google’s innovative technology is changing the way that marketing works.
What Are Target Marketing Strategies?
Before we look at Google’s specific developments, let’s briefly review what target marketing is.
The key to a successful marketing campaign is maximizing your return on investment. Every marketer’s goal is to spend the lowest amount of money needed to generate the most revenue possible.
This is why target marketing is so important.
No matter how great your product is, it’s never going to appeal to everyone. For this reason, there’s no reason to waste marketing dollars on consumers who are unlikely to buy your product.
Instead, you should narrow in on a small segment of the population that will be most interested in your product. This segment is called your target market.
With recent advances in technology and data collection, it has become easier than ever before to identify a narrow target market. This allows marketers to optimize their campaigns for specific consumer populations. They can then use target marketing strategies to reach these customers.
Google’s Ad Services
Google’s most well-known product is its search engine. One of the top ways that Google generates revenue, however, is by selling ad space.
When a company buys an ad with Google, it’s a little different than buying a traditional ad. Rather than simply placing the ad in one space, Google decides what users to show the ad to based on their online activity.
Google uses data from apps like Google Maps, Youtube, Gmail, and Google Play to create a profile of each user. Based on this profile, they determine which ads will be most effective. In other words, Google uses target marketing strategies to decide which customers see which ads.
Tracking Online Ads Offline
To demonstrate the value of these ads, Google must show that the customers who see them purchase the products advertised. It’s fairly simple to track this data for online purchases. Recently, however, Google has expanded its technology to track purchases at brick and mortar stores.
Google has been using its maps app to track consumer location for years. Now, they are taking that data to the next level by accessing credit card data. This allows Google to track purchases.
Google hasn’t offered a lot of information about how these target marketing strategies work. That said, the general concept is pretty straight-forward.
Google can track a particular consumer’s behavior on their search engine and can track their location. They can use this information to determine how many customers visit a brick and mortar store after seeing a particular ad.
Then, by accessing credit card data from certain vendors, Google can track what purchases consumers made. This gives them detailed information about their effectiveness of their advertisements.
Transforming Online Advertising
The ability to track purchases at brick and mortar stores is a game changer for online advertising. It could also change the way brick and mortar stores operate.
In the past, Google was only able to track a consumer’s online purchases. So let’s say a particular consumer clicked on an ad but didn’t make any purchases online. The company might conclude that they had wasted ad money on that customer.
Now, however, they will be able to see whether that customer traveled to a physical store location. This information can help advertisers to further optimize their ad campaigns.
This also might be good news for brick and mortar stores in general. Companies can now track what advertisements lead customers to physical store locations. This could help them encourage more customers to visit their stores.
Of course, this is also a great strategy for Google. If Google can demonstrate that their online ads are leading to physical purchases, they can encourage companies to purchase more ads. This will certainly help expand Google’s ad revenue.
While Google’s new offline target marketing strategies are ground-breaking and innovative. But they are by no means comprehensive.
For instance, Google’s data-sharing agreements give them access to data from approximately 70% of credit card purchases. While this is a significant amount of information, it leaves 30% untapped. Also, Google still has no way of tracking purchases made in cash.
Additionally, Google has assured customers that they are not tracking all of their information. For instance, Google does not collect the names or credit card numbers of customers.
Google also doesn’t collect data about the exact products purchased, or the amount of money spent. So, for now, at least, the only thing Google tracks is whether a customer made a purchase.
Concerns for the Future
Despite these limitations, some consumers are concerned about the steps Google has taken. While Google does not currently track what is purchased or how much is spent, it would be fairly easy to start collecting that data.
Some consumers worry about this level of data being shared with advertisers. There is also concern about whether advertising can become too targeted, to the point of manipulation.
That said, consumers still have the option to opt out of these tracking features. They can also choose settings that limit the ads that they see.
If you’d like to learn more about how to incorporate target marketing strategies into your marketing campaign, contact us. Our experts will work with you to create the right campaign for your needs.