The political blog
Washington seems to be at war with itself, so everyone's looking for the latest political news. But wait a second -- did that Big Girls Bras ad really follow me here? At this point, there's no logical reason for this placement. I know why it happened, and you probably do too. But consumers are at best confused and at worst down-right creeped out that this ad followed them around the web.
What went wrong: On a macro level, this placement sounds good. It's a premium newspaper site and a piece of content that is this particular paper's bread and butter. We've all heard the term "banner blindness," and one of the key causes is a lack of relevance, like we see here. Consumers aren't going to stop reading an article to engage with an ad if that ad doesn't appeal to their interests or state of mind at the time. That's the case here.
How to fix it: Relevance is everything. I was served this ad because a cookie in my browser told the ad server I visited the Big Girls Bras site. I've talked a lot so far about the problems with keywords and exploring your filter options, but this example shows something even more basic. It's not just about the site level or finding the appropriate consumer. Page context is the piece that makes ads truly effective.