Jeremy Liew writes a post about techniques for targeting that Google does not offer and how effective they are for performance advertisers in other situations.
Like any pathetic blogger, I must comment. My reaction to this was not that these targeting mechanisms have demonstrated effectiveness at all. Rather, we have discovered a key modality that has unique value to direct response advertisers: People who aren’t doing anything at the moment.
IQ Quiz is a great example of a hard core DR advertiser. Generally, they need conversions that fit one of two profiles: Expensive clicks that convert fantastically or really, really cheap clicks that convert okay. Search clicks typically perform poorly for these direct response advertisers because the expensive clicks don’t convert well enough. Clicks on social networks are very, very inexpensive (Google typically turns off my bids when they get this low) and the conversion rates are relatively high due to a unique user modality: People on social networks aren’t typically doing anything important.
People on Facebook are just hanging out, far more so than people Googling things. These people are uniquely susceptible to a “have fun, play casual games message, meet people, look attractive, check your credit score” that is used by so many direct response advertisers. Does behavioral targeting or more accurate demographic targeting deliver great value for a DR marketer? Certainly, but typically any sort of premium involved crushes the CPA objective of the DR advertiser.
Effective reporting by social networks could improve the targeting purchases by direct response marketers. For example, here at Platform-A, we offer end of campaign reports to certain advertisers showing the kinds of behaviors that worked most effectively during their campaign. This evidence-based post campaign diagnosis can drive more effective purchasing in the future.
Absent this detail, typically these kinds of advertisers are simply on the hunt for cheap clicks. It will take more than just targeting, but great reporting and analytics to push advertisers in this direction.