My boss’s favorite example of how marketing has changed dramatically with the influx of data is that he looked at a tie on the Neiman Marcus website months ago and still gets ads for it on every website he visits. I think he half loves/half hates this idea that someone can follow him around the internet trying to remind him that he really wants this tie. First, I think this a sign he just needs to buy the tie. Secondly, he’s about to see a very different experience when he browses the web on his iPhone. This behavioral marketing is called retargeting and it is used heavily when trying to promote something that marketers know you’ve already shown some interest in.
However, iOS 9 was recently released and along with it comes the ability to block these persistent tie ads. Yippee, right? Well, not if you’re in marketing. Marketers are about to see a huge hit to some of our behavioral marketing efforts as well as analytics.
Behavioral advertising sounds like a big scary brother tracking your every move on the web. And, well, it sort of is. With scripts on each page to track our interests and habits we’re telling marketers what we’re looking to purchase. Not only can these scripts increase the page load time, but it’s also just something that many don’t want following them around the web. There are tools to block these scripts out there already, but this is the first time it is easily available to iOS. In the Apple app store you’ll notice that apps built to utilize this blocking have risen to the top of the download charts. And, with 20% of millenials accessing the Internet exclusively through their phones, the marketing landscape is changing with these new blocks.
It is a double-edged sword. As marketers we’re trying to target our messaging to the people who actually want our products or services. As customers, especially millennials, we want targeted messaging and sometimes like to be reminded that we really wanted that tie, but also don’t want the invasion of trackers.
So, will the trend towards ad blockers really continue to grow? Will millennials (prospective students) use ad blockers even though their desire for convenience and targeted content is strong? What will win in the personalized vs. security wars? How will the advertising world react to these changes and what new opportunities will come available to micro-target our audiences? Ties aren’t just going to sell themselves!