The many flavors of advertising

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So there I was. Minding my own business, when I was asked by a friend, what contextual advertising was. I politely explained the concept and this of course lead to a much larger discussion. So I decided to write up this little advertising map. (This is of course advertising according to me and is therefore subject to scrutiny.) Hope this helps. You know who you are . . .

Contextual – This type of advertising presents the user with an ad based on the current web site they are. (Forgot to mention that for the purposes of this post, I will be focusing on online advertising.) An example of this would be ads for motorcycle tours on a niche social network focused on motorcycle fans. The thought being that if you’re interested in motorcycles, you’re surely interested in motorcycle tours.

Behavioral – This type of advertising would present you with ads based on the places you have been on the Internet recently. So you may have visited Travelocity yesterday and are now on CNN, but you would receive an ad for a travel package based on yesterdays searches.

Situational – This is a term I coined in for the types of ads that Brightkite hopes to serve one day. This type of ad also takes into account, physical location, time of day and paste behaviors. (Think location based services.) I am close to a coffee place and from past experience a marketer knows that I like coffee. They also take into consideration that it is in the AM and that I’m more likely to want caffeine now then at 9pm; depending of course on my plans for the evening.

Destination – This is a term my father uses for well done advertising. Examples of this are the BMW film series, Super Bowl commercials and just about anything that Crispin Porter + Bogusky does. They are ads that people seek out. Viral ads are an example of this.

Intent based – Think Twitter. The idea is that people are talking about what they’re going to do. Most things on line, no matter how timely are in the past. Lifestreaming is considered one of the biggest area of opportunities because the needs come directly from the user. They tell you what they need and you provide them with ads that help them get what they need.

Search based – We are very familiar with the success of Google and text based ads. The not-so-secret to the success of these ad is that they’re relevant to the subject that you searched on. This is a form of intent based advertising and is more direct than the Twittercentric model described above. (The intent based model may feel a little like magic.) Search based advertising is big in the mobile and expected to make up 73% of all advertising by 2013.

Ad database – I proposed creating a database of mobile ads that people could search through. Not sure if it would work but the power would be completely in the customer’s/potential customer’s hands.

Social – This is something I posted about back in May. Essentially this having a person respond to a product, potentially through a questionnaire. Once that person’s opinion was recorded the advertiser ask for the user’s permission to share their feedback with those they are connected to. The thought is that you will trust this ad since it was created by a peer.

Freemium – With this type of advertising, you have the option of viewing the ads they feature on their site in exchange for the content that they have OR you pay a subscription fee so you won’t have to view ads. This is essentially opting out of advertising on a specific site. Chris Anderson had some good things to say about this model recently.

Mobile – This type of advertising features (you guessed it) ads on mobile sites and is not effective; .30% when not search based. It’s an ad on a mobile site.

Standard Internet advertising – When the Internet first happened, the click-through rates for ad were ~50%. They are currently at 1%. People have developed “ad-eye” online the same way they don’t watch commercials on TV (assuming they don’t have TiVo and don’t see them at all). Good luck with this type.

In-app – This is not a form of online advertising and yet the lines are blurred. The click-through rates on ads within iPhone apps is high. And I don’t see that lasting. Just like the click-through rates have fallen online, so to will these. Sorry AdMob.

Influencer – We all have a friend who constantly sends us links to the latest concert, movie etc. Lotame is a company who targets those people for businesses. Based on their contract, Lotame tracks people on social networks that have a related interest to their clients business and provide them with a “first look” at the new product/service. That person then spreads the word utilizing a video or something similar. The success of the ad is not just how many people saw it, it is also time-based. I’ve posted about this in the past, saying that businesses need to utilize fans to help spread the word. We just need to get the fans the right set of tools.

Let me know if I missed any. You know who you are . . .

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I'm an Associate Teaching Professor of Digital Marketing at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver. I also consult with startups and established brands. I'm currently focused on artificial intelligence, cognitive neuroscience and culture. I am married to an amazing woman and have two incredible children. I was raised in Colorado and spend my free time with family, biking, snowboarding and going to the Pacific Ocean to SCUBA dive and/or surf. I'm passionate about architecture, design, street art, photography and the art that tattooing has evolved into.

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