Biz Idea #22 – Tie Customer Databases into Contextual Advertising

by Byron on February 1, 2012

The Problem:

I continually see online advertisements for products I have already purchased.  I would rather see, “since you needed this, now you need this” type ads.  I understand it is much cheaper to retain a customer than it is to find a new one.  Brand awareness does not stop at the sale.  However, that is not what’s going on here.  I know this because there is constant bombardment.

The Business

Managing customer databases for use in contextual advertising networks.  Establish relationships with the advertiser or advertising network.  Have a copy of the advertiser’s customer database in near real-time.  Make sure IP addresses are part of the database.  Have the ad network ping the database and adjust it’s algorithm to determine if the IP address is a customer.

You could probably even go a step further to determine what kind of relationship the customer has with the advertiser.  Are they a top-level customer deserving of the VIP phone number?  Are they on the free side of freemium and, therefore, need encouragement to upgrade?  Is there a related product the customer should know about?

Doableness

I’m not sure that what I’m talking about doesn’t already exist or is in development.  In many ways, it’s just a feature that advertising networks should have.  I’m also not sure that it is as doable as I believe it is.

My Thoughts

A few years ago, I did an affiliate marketing project related to certain women’s clothing.  I feel like Lane Bryant followed me around for months.  Recently, I purchased a logo from 99designs.  Why am I seeing a general 99designs ad?  Why aren’t they trying to sell me on landing page design?  Why don’t they know that’s what I need?  They should know.

Similarly, I was on Zappos not long ago looking for some obscure Uggs.  The zappos ads were very well targeted and interactive.  I literally continued my shopping in the ad the next day.  I haven’t bought yet.  But I will, and I will buy from Zappos.  In part because of that ad.

It seems to me that incredible strides are being made in contextual advertising.  But it all seems to be part of that cookie.  The cookie is good.  But it is incomplete.

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