Online advertising: Tracking and Targeting

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By Richard Meddaugh

If you’ve been reading the news lately, you’ve seen the recent brouhaha between competing supermarket chains Price Chopper and ShopRite. While that story is more copyright infringement than PR, it brings to mind online advertising and it’s rise as a viable, cost-effective and specifically engineered marketing and communications tool that can help you understand behavioral habits and reach your targeted audiences.

If you’re from the agency side you’re probably very interested in the cost aspect and the ROI opportunities this provides you. For those on the corporate side, online advertising can perk the ears of those in the boardroom and can provide quality data for your outreach efforts. Win-win for everyone.

Running a political campaign in a hotbed known for political awareness and reform? Online is the way to go. It is cheaper, more effective and gets the messaging out there without having to rely on an individual reading a billboard, opening a mailer or arbitrarily stumbling upon your site.

Who wouldn’t want to allocate a budget that can deliver your news to multiple platforms? Or be combined with your social media channels to target audiences specifically searching for information related to your company? With the addition of unique and valuable content tailored to your specific niches and you’re on your way to success in the online marketing world.

Local online ad provider recently introduced a unique ad platform that allows any business to advertise online like the big guys without the big budget. Adneedle President Ryan Hickman explains: “We’ve seen explosive growth locally. Our clients are seeing huge sales increases and reaching 1000x more people with less ad dollars. For as little as $500 they can deliver 500,000 ads across Facebook, search mobile and major and local web sites. They are thrilled with the results.”

According to Forrester Research, 67 percent of advertisers surveyed have moved more of their marketing budgets to search and online advertising. Of the remaining business, 84 percent said they would make the switch if the process were easier. Online advertising is expected to double to $50 billion by 2015. The primary reason? More targeted delivery and better results than traditional media.

How do we incorporate online advertising into a PR campaign, product rollout or nonprofit awareness? Easy, or at least the concept goes. Create engaging content and look to the demographics you’re going to target. Is it medical suppliers, political activists, general business community or another demo you’re trying to reach? Do your research and pick the platforms you feel will that best fit your brand’s personality and overarching strategy. Work with an online platform to create a budget, define your mission and then integrate that content into a well-oiled machine waiting to be let out onto the online community.

Remember, you still have to be careful of your messaging and to avoid merely adding white noise. Balancing the two can be tricky, but in time being able to deliver great stories, initiatives and positive brand awareness creates more pros than cons for this outreach model. Take a step into online advertising and realize the potential of your skill set and create a new identity for your brand and profession. In the words of the former owner of the Oakland Raiders of the National Football League, Al Davis, “Just win, baby.”

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