Google’s Display Network announce new targeting technology at Internet World 2011

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  • May 12, 2011
Felicity Crouch

Felicity Crouch

Marketing Manager

The man responsible for sales across Google’s UK display business, Bruce Daisley, provided an insight into new targeted advertising methods yesterday, touching upon new technology that will accurately guess the age range, gender, and interests of your site’s visitors’.

Speaking to a packed seminar theatre at the annual Internet World Exhibition, Daisley revealed for the first time in public, Google’s Display Network (GDN) plans to introduce new demographic targeting technology and audience insight tools, which will boost the effectiveness of online display ads.

The success of online display ads has fallen dramatically in recent years, with the only technique showing a slight improvement being bigger ads. As such, the industry average click-through rate (CTR) is a mere 0.07%.

Despite being an industry worth millions, online display advertising just isn’t working. But Daisley believes Google have found the answer, and it’s all coming within the next quarter.

Talking to the hundreds of listeners at Earl’s Court yesterday, Daisley emphasised one focus; getting the right ads, in front of the right people.

So with GDN’s current method of keyword contextual targeting, Google can scan the page to check that the ads are in fact in context with the page’s content.

For example, it would be pointless placing a display ad for women’s shoes on a DIY website. Google’s theory connotes that an ad for paint, therefore, would be much more effective and have a considerably higher CTR.

Daisley reflected this with some figures from research, which showed that keyword contextual targeting actually had a 0.45% CTR, much more than the industry average.

But contextual targeting isn’t anything new; so Daisley went on to reveal some fresh techniques which they’re sure will prove effective.

Coming soon is demographic targeting, which will allow you to target a certain age range and gender, based on your site’s visitors’ browsing behaviour.

So Google can scour your users behaviour and traits, and make an accurate estimation of their gender and age range, so that you can then begin targeting more of this demographic.

Many companies focus on advertising to the wrong audience without realising why their CTR’s are so low, so this new technology will first off allow you to see who’s visiting your site, and secondly provide you with enough information to alter your advertising methods accordingly.

Also coming soon is Google’s audience insight technology, which will delve into your visitors’ past user behaviour over a period of time, looking at what sites they’ve previously visited, and gauging their interests from these habits. Recognising your users’ interests then means you can then target your ads to specific sites and pages.

So it all sounds good, but isn’t this just like Facebook’s method of advertising? Daisley doesn’t think so. He calls Google’s technique “inferred demographics”, which are based more on user behaviour and consumption than the data supplied by Facebook users’.

But with so much competition, including the likes of Facebook’s new ‘sponsored stories’ ads, are Google worried that their new technology won’t deliver? Daisley comments: “We don’t focus on the competition, but it’s only through new technology and results that we’ll stay above it.”

This technology is expected to be introduced within the next quarter in the UK, and only time will tell whether the future of online display advertising can be salvaged.

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