One Step Closer to Achieving A More Relevant Advertising

Here comes the quality over quantity

The Evolution of Ads

Remember the days of television where you had to watch the commercial break no matter what. Also, I can bet if the whole family was sitting in front of the TV set, the advertisement could grab the attention of maybe one person, and that s a long shot too. One might argue that was the golden age of advertisements, simple yet mass audience reaches. Frankly, for that time it was the absolute peak of advertisement. The audience for the advertisement was based on the show that was placed for, if it's a football match put in Nike if it's a kids show, put a fancy cartoony cereal brand and etc. It was simple but more importantly, it worked for them for the time being and it was relevant.

Then came the glorious internet. I remember the earlier days of the internet when there were not that many ads, even Youtube was just clean, Facebook was full of emo styles. But more importantly, it was advertisement-free. But it did not take long for companies to take notice and take the opportunity of the glorious internet. Now you can not scroll more than 30 seconds anywhere before skipping an ad. But more importantly, do these ads resonate with the people that they are shown to?

The Fault in Our Ads

The ads I see online are barely interesting to me, spare a few of them. I am not here to point a finger at anyone, but you all need to rethink the way you are launching the marketing campaigns.

I particularly remember one ad on Instagram that did make me click and check out. It was an ad about a rock opera playlist from Spotify and the song played in a few seconds immediately got my attention. I ended up following the playlist and I actively listen to it, since I love rock opera. All the other ads are so irrelevant and out of context that I never even stay any longer than I can press the skip button.

According to this article by Smart Insights , the Click Through Rate of these Facebook ads is 1.1%, Instagram Ads are 0.22% and for Twitter ads, it's 0.86%. That's insanely low.

Online Ad Statistics

So What Went Wrong?

Oh, so many things went wrong along the way. This is prevalent in so many industries, not just advertising. We focus more on quantity over quality pair this with instant gratification and we will be where we are now today. A perfect recipe for stereotyping a method to the extent of making it annoying.

Just because I went to an online shop and clicked at a shoe product does not always mean I want to buy it. More importantly, it certainly does not mean if you repeatedly show me the ad for this product from every possible online platform on earth, I will magically buy this product. You are simply wasting your ad money on me based on simple interactions and not taking into other factors.

As an active data scientist and after all the interaction with the data from different sectors, I can see where this notion is coming from. It is based on a simple assumption aiming to reach as many people as possible, throwing the relevancy factor to the water.

A Step Towards Quality over Quantity

There are many factors when considering someone’s interest and intentions towards online behaviors. There is so much potential we fail to address from online behavior while chasing the faster route to results. There are ways to make the ads a win-win for both the viewer and ad producer. Just like the example that I mentioned earlier, I clicked and continued to listen to that playlist from Spotify, as a result, I benefited from some good music and the playlist creator benefited from a stream revenue. It worked for both of us only because the ad was very relevant to my taste and interest.

Why can we make more of it then? While the philosophical aspects are wide enough for a separate blog post, the practicality is much more explainable here.

If a person is looking at a product for a certain amount of time, there are many things to take away from here. How long was the user looking at the product page, what category was the product from, did the user visited other product pages from the product category, did the user interact with the ratings and comments on the product when was the last time this particular user visited this product page, what device the user is using, and so many more possibilities of information we are not accounting for. These all provide some weight towards considering if the user is actually interested or the user simply bumped into the product at random.

As a consequence and just like the reality, some users will be more likely to purchase that product than other users. Therefore, instead of blindly showing the ad to everyone, show this particular ad with some promotions like a discount or free shipping to this particular user from the online platforms. What this does is filters your audience and the ad is more relevant to the user and the product. Even after this, at the end of the day maybe not everyone will interact with the ad but I bet the ad Click Thorugh Rate will be much higher than 1.1%.

A Simple Verdict

This does not magically solve the online ad relevance issue nor this will cure the market. However, this is will start to make the ads more relevant to the person, to the interest of the person, to the taste of that person. It will be a win-win for both the company and the users viewing the ad.

So how do we achieve this level of personalized approach towards making the ads more relevant? Well, the answer is of course data science. I understand it might intimidate some, but it should not be. Data Science has come a long way and made things so simple that it not a matter of knowledge anymore rather it's a matter of execution-only. I will bring the methods for such an approach in the upcoming blogs. This is just the start of the blog-series aiming to make the advertisements we see every day more relevant and beneficial for both sides of the coin. You would be surprised to see what data science can do regarding this and you will be more surprised to see what you have been missing all along.

Author photo
Written By M. Ahmed Tayib