Have you ever logged onto your favorite social media website to find an ad in the sidebar that seemed eerily similar to your ‘About Me’ section? Did you ever find an ad that piqued your interest because it was based off your interests? That phenomenon is actually a marketing tactic known as HyperTargeting. Coined by MySpace in 2007, HyperTargeting is a new, more specific way of advertisement that goes beyond simply stating the latest ad, utilizing the plethora of information given freely by the targeted demographic – you.
What is HyperTargeting?
The MySpace definition is as follows: “HyperTargeting by MySpace is a new advertising solution that enables online marketers to tap into self-expressed user information to target campaigns like never before.” But what does that mean? It means that marketers have a new marketing tactic: they can advertise only to those individuals who show an interest in their product or service.
How Hypertargeting Ads Work
As MySpace puts it, “HyperTargeting leverages the self-expressed interests and passions of millions and millions of MySpace members – allowing you to reach the consumers most likely to be receptive to your brand.” In lesser jargon, this means that social networking sites, dating sites, and any other sites that utilize interests in their registration are open to marketers for their advertisements. The users of the said websites register for the website, and marketers use their interests as a door to individual advertisemenet.
By breaking down HyperTargeting step by step, it is easy to see the pattern it follows.
- Registration. John Smith just created his profile on Facebook, posting biographical information such as regional information, age, gender, and the like.
- Customer inputs data. The first thing John does on Facebook is update his “About Me” section. His blurb states that he likes to fish. Upon exploring Facebook some more, John finds a page called “Fishing” and likes it with the famous thumbs up button.
- HyperTargeting does its job. Facebook’s privacy statement states that marketers can only use hypertargeting information through geography, age, and interests, so John has no need to worry, as his private information is safe.
- The magic of the sidebar. John is browsing through his friends’ updates when he notices an ad in the sidebar for fishing poles. The ad grabs his attention and he decides to check it out.
- Through the symbiotic relationship between Facebook and the advertisements, marketers get more business and John gets his new fishing pole.
What the Critics Say
This type of advertising may not appeal to those who prefer offline advertisement, such as catalogues and billboards. The reality is that the internet is an advertising force that is a little under two decades young. The internet is still a baby, and discovering new and innovative ways to use it will help it grow into something bigger all the time.
Other critics of HyperTargeting feel that sometimes just because something can be done, doesn’t mean it should be done. From this perspective, it can be seen as too narrow: the specific advertisement can reach the high school sophomore in Vermont who likes the underground rock scene, but the financial campaign takes a large chance in being narrow.
Through social media, HyperTargeting is an outlet to the marketing tactics of the advertising world. When used correctly, it can become an innovative tool of touching the individuality of humankind and reaching out to a multitude of various people.
The key phrase in that is “when used correctly.” If Company A is advertising bread and using HyperTargeting, their target audience won’t become narrowed; rather, it will stay more or less the same amount due to the fact that everyone loves bread in some shape or form. A specific interest, like John’s fishing, is specific enough to gain an audience, and yet the audience is large enough to keep business up and running.
If you are looking at utilizing HyperTargeting for your company, understand that, like everything, there are pros and cons. Consider the product or service you are advertising and examine your demographic. If the choice of HyperTargeting makes economic and financial sense for your company, then HyperTargeting is definitely an option as a marketing tactic.