5bptYou may know that targeting refers to a whole bunch of methods that place advertising in a target group oriented manner to avoid wastage and to make efficient use of the marketing budget. Search advertising is such a form of targeting - with keywords as a selection criterion. Users are searching for content by using keywords and in that way trigger attributed ads. The region, surfing behavior and individual profile data are criteria as well which help to segment audiences and activate advertising.

Retargeting is an attractive technical solution to increase the accuracy of campaigns. Here, visitors of a website, who indicated their interest in specific content or offers, are marked with a cookie. In that way they can also be seen beyond the page itself and be addressed promotionally later on. Retargeting solutions can of course be booked by performance-orientation, for instance, directly via Google or special performance networking, as well. But the use of such sophisticated solutions is only worthwhile after a critical mass of audience and often requires the traditional virtues of the media planner. It is essential to qualify suitable environments and to integrate advertising formats creatively and intelligently. What today is called contextual targeting is based essentially on the wise insights of media planning: The smaller the target group, the more important the advertising environment.

Contextual targeting is as simple as effective. For example, if a visitor accesses a financial website to check on the share price of a car manufacturer, it makes sense for the automotive company to display ads for investment products exactly there. The inclination of the user to deal at this place and at this time with investment products will never be better for their business. Catching exactly the same user via retargeting on a website with the football league results, can certainly lead to success, too. Henceforth, there will be increasingly campaigns that combine different targeting methods with each other and thus provide huge efficiency gains.

Nonetheless, the approach to rely solely on sales-oriented performance marketing tools and to renounce the varied possibilities of brand management, usually does not work out well. Only when the brand has shown some presence, performance instruments achieve a significant amount of reactions. If a bank, for example, is setting up appropriate search engine campaigns to promote the online sale of some financial products, it has been invariably proven that cross media campaigns are invariably trump, since parallel performed display campaigns have had a significant positive impact on the number of search queries. Smart connections of Google ads with collaborations, online PR, print advertising or other placements lead to synergy effects and, thus, increased sales success.

In light of the struggle for the rare full attention of the potential customer in the midst of digital information overload the explanation is quite obvious. Although hard facts, such as price and performance are important, it is difficult to find emotional access to the relevant set from which the potential customer chooses, without using a creative approach. Therefore, aspects such as clarity, credibility and trust should always get attention since they play an important role, too.

It becomes obvious how time flies, when realizing that there are already dynamic search ads since late 2009, when Google AdWords started to allow parameters (or placeholders) for numerical information in ads that automatically connect to certain keywords.

Whoever is looking for a last minute flight to Bali, for instance, since then can receive not only a link to the flight, but also the current price via “Live Ad”. Here, the ad is linked to a database that makes sure that whenever the price changes in the database the display ad gets automatically updated, too. So, no new write-up or set-up of the ad is needed and even the gotten quality score is maintained. And if everything is fully booked, the display ad even automatically disappears. The design of such “Live Ads” accounts for the creation and maintenance of databases and the linking of them to the Google Ads.

Still, many advertisers are shy of embracing the complexity of this challenge, but the expected ROI through better conversion rates will definitely lead to more live ad campaigns in the near future. My advice is to just jump on the bandwagon!

By Daniela La Marca