I love history and was scanning a website about Medieval Europe when I noticed this ad for Bob Evans family restaurants … embedded in the middle of an article about the Black Plague, the most devastating disease in history. I wondered … was this to introduce their new farm-fresh “plague on a plate” value meal? Hey, can I have some ketchup with that?
Obviously this is a disastrous placement for the restaurant and it made me wonder … how did it get there in the first place? And if I were the marketing manager for Bob Evans, what could have been done to prevent it? I sought the opinions of some trusted professionals:
Ludmila Zadayannaya is a marketing manager for Russia’s Ekodar and had this to say: “The advertisment was placed through some service, such as Google AdWords. The advertisers chose an option of CONTENT TARGETING in the advertising network without specifying places.
“In this case they could not control the location of their ad at the page … somehow the key words for the ad agreed with the key words of this website, or before visiting this website, you had searched for something connected with restaurants/ food/ Bob Evans, etc. … as a result, the advertising system ‘decided’ that the ad about Bob Evans restaurant would be relevant to the content of the page or to your previous search request, and it showed the ad to you. The fact that the ad is shown in the middle of the text about the Black Plague is entirely the fault of the site owner.”
Stephen Rowe of Dirextion adds this comment: “It really depends on what type of a campaign Bob Evans was running. By that I mean, was it run of site, run of network, behavioral targeting, etc. The reality is that no matter what type of campaign that they ran, if the campaign was not managed correctly, this type of thing will happen. That is why the agency needs to speak with their service providers to determine the potential pitfalls of any particular buy.
“Further, it is one of the pitfalls of relying entirely on the optimization programs without human interaction. Advertising is a business of nuance, and to date I have never seen the level of nuance in a computer program that a human being has. It all goes back to Advertising 101, The right message in the right place at the right time. When someone develops the program to do that, then we can plug into the program and not worry about monitoring it.”
Thanks to Stephen and Ludmilla for these insights! With the inherent danger of having your ads run in the wrong places, how would you ever know unless it shows up in a blog like this? You probably wouldn’t. One way I try to prevent this happening for my clients is that I rarely choose the “content” option. This way I have much more control over the keywords associated with the advertisement.
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