INFOCUS

5 horrible ad placements that could have been avoided

  • 5 of 6
  • View as single page

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.

 

Comments

Ross Bradley
Ross Bradley August 31, 2011 at 9:06 AM

Just popped back looking for a reply? In regards to BIG Brands and "re-targeting" (and in a 'no holds barred' fashion), across the entire web.- In my own linked post I point out, that in targeting people not pages, brand safety shouldn't be any concern whatsoever. As it always becomes a situation of (only), being between the "user" who is being re-targeted and the Brand's Ad, that is used to re-target with.

Aaron Richman
Aaron Richman August 22, 2011 at 8:51 PM

Great article Andy. This is a recurring question from many of our advertisers and an issue that prevents many brands from testing retargeting in the first place. As a marketer, it's imperative you know where your ads are running, both from a brand safety and ROI standpoint.

With platforms like AdRoll (disclosure: I work there), advertisers can see the websites their ads are running on along with the costs associated with advertising on those sites. This is important for a couple reasons.

1. At AdRoll, we work very closely with our partners (Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, AOL + 30 other networks) to ensure our inventory is brand-safe. However, as a marketer, you still want to make sure your ads are appearing on sites that showcase your brand.

2. This list can help you determine where your best prospects are going after they leave your website. For instance, you might see that a high percentage of your audience is visiting TechCrunch.com, and therefore this could be a good channel for lead generation.

3. If you're serving high impressions on a site and it's not bringing you clicks and conversions (e.g. you sell baby products and you see a high volume of ads being served on Wired.com), you can easily remove this site from your campaign.

4. ROI: We show our advertisers what it cost them (CPC & CPM) to run on each website. If our advertisers feel the price is too high, they can exclude the site from their retargeting network.

Hope this helps!

Aaron R.
AdRoll [dot] com

Ross Bradley
Ross Bradley August 18, 2011 at 11:09 AM

Interesting, but? ........."a few others visited this site to see what the brand was all about. Lots of team members had a chuckle, but the site dropped a cookie on our browsers and the ad followed us all around the web."

Did you expect anything other than this possibility? I have only just posted on this very subject and would welcome you to correct me as to where I have gone wrong with my own impression - in regards to BIG Brands and "re-targeting" (and in a 'no holds barred' fashion), across the entire web. I look forward to your reply here. Thanks.

http://tinyurl.com/3fdhmad

Spencer Broome
Spencer Broome August 18, 2011 at 10:14 AM

Good points and entertaining. It's hard not to find humor in some of these placements. But it's much more humbling when it is your own ad.

Ben Plomion
Ben Plomion August 18, 2011 at 9:31 AM

Great (and also very entertaining) article Andy. Brands need to have the confidence that their ads will only appear on brand-safe sites. There are multiple companies out there like Peer39 that helps rank publishers. Chango has partnered with adSafe and DoubleVerify to ensure that we only buy ads across sites that are brand-safe. Frequency cap should also be used to avoid the big brother effect.