Marketing From the Grocery Aisle: I’m Being Followed!

Do Tracking Ads Work?

Lately, I’ve been traipsing around the Internet, researching companies, reading the latest scoop on digital marketing, and looking for my next big opportunity. My travels have taken me to plethora of unrelated sites. Normally, I wouldn’t give a second thought to my random surfing, except I’m being followed.

Not in the literal sense. There’s no website in a trench coat and fedora discretely peeking out from the corner of my monitor, watching where I go. Instead, when I visit various sites, I notice advertisements for products and services I recently researched.

No doubt, tracking ads have been following me for years, but the recent ads which appear during my Web travels are disparate. A recently visit to the Amazon home page generated content for Parallels software, Precor exercise equipment, Samsung mobile phones, disk drives, wood working tools, and walkie-talkies. The first three were based on my search history, and the latter most likely, my husband’s rummaging through Amazon.

Consumers’ opinion on tracking ads, based on their browsing and search history, varies. Some probably welcome seeing special offers – or at least intriguing ads – that reinforce their interest in a product or service. From a business point-of-view, there’s the possibility consumers will not only click on their ads, but turn their interests into purchases. Macaroni and cheese

According to a study done by the Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB), 42% of men and 36% of women are likely to make a purchase at a grocery store after seeing an ad.1 Unfortunately, shoppers are more than twice as likely to make a purchase after seeing an ad for a grocery store than for product categories like quick-service and casual restaurants, department, discount, hardware/home improvement stores, home, auto or life insurance, banking services, auto dealerships, furniture/bedding, and travel services.2

If you were to take step back, you can conjecture consumers are highly motivated by food!

Show Your Story with Video

Looking at another aspect of the Television Bureau of Advertising study shows that ads placed in traditional media – newspaper, radio, magazine, and outdoor – produce greater recall than ads using new media – email, online display, online search, blogs/consumer review sites, and cell/smart phone/mobile devices.

This is true for all age groups. For consumers between 18-34 years old, the highest ad recall is via newspaper (14%), radio (14%), and outdoor (12%). Advertising surfaced via online display (10%) is behind those placed in magazines (11%), but ahead of email (8%), and online search (8%). For this age group, the “most important” media platform is television (51%).3

If you’re hoping to catch attention of consumers, and television and magazine advertising isn’t an option, consider video. An engaging viral video can generating hundreds of thousands of visits per week from consumers who choose to watch your video. Between October 24th and 30th, a video for Dermablend Professional Leg and Body Cover had over 1.5 million visits. More startling, it’s not targeted to consumers!

Around the corner, might be another option for reaching consumers. Google is announcing plans to build a fiber-optic high-speed Internet solution as a way to expand into pay video and telephone services.4 This move would make it possible for them to not only sell subscriptions to pay TV channels, but sell ads on those channels.

If television advertising is too expensive, and video doesn’t fit with what you’re offer, consider adding a bowl of cherries or plate of macaroni ‘n cheese to your promotion. After all, food, like puppies and kittens, does wonders for arousing customers’ interest.

1 Media Influences Grocery Shopper Actions,” Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB), Supermarket News, January 31, 2011.
2 Ibid.
Google Could be Planning to Completely Disrupt the TV Business,”, Charlie White, November 4, 2011


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