Online advertising–Facebook rules, but a warning for others | TravelResearchOnline


Online advertising–Facebook rules, but a warning for others

As I have said, I am a huge fan of technology and embrace each new evolution as much as I can. Facebook—check. Podcasting—check. Blogging—check. Twitter—check. Snapchat—un-checked…sorry, just can’t wrap my head around it. And since the local newspaper is all but dead as far as advertising goes, I look online.

Facebook, for me, is the absolute best bang for your buck. Because their billions of users have been so generous in telling Facebook about every nuance of their lives, there is no better targeting tool out there. If you have a trip to Mongolia to experience Italian wines and Big Macs in a rainstorm—Facebook can find the people to fill it. It may be a boost of a post from your page; or it may be a new ad created by your. No matter which way you go—Facebook is a bargain. And if you are not familiar with targeting in Facebook—look into it. Otherwise you are wasting your money. If you are not segmenting your clients TO target—shame on you. Get on the stick. How can you expect to sell and consult when you have no idea what style of travel your client prefers. We all need to start somewhere—start now if you are not!

But if you advertise on some more traditional websites as I do, beware. I recently discovered a significant roadblock to my ads. OK first we need to admit that none of us (as consumers) like ads. They are intrusive. They may not be appropriate. They are interruptive. They open up sneaky pop up windows that lurk on our screen un-noticed until you go to shut down your browser. They stink.

And we are not alone. Developers have (and continue) to make ad blockers. You can download an extension for nearly every browser and poof, the ads go away. Decent websites will have a way around that though. But technology is similar to a criminal. Once you install a burglar alarm, there is some crook that has figured out how to thwart it.

Last week, I was checking my ads on a local news site. I do use an ad blocker (mainly for the pop ups) and noticed that they weren’t there. A call to my sales rep ended in a he-said she-said argument. She saw the ads and was looking at them. I didn’t see them and wasn’t looking at them.

I called my own IT guy t see if he had an idea. He sniffed around and made a discovery about the evolution of ad-blockers. They are not only looking for specific code, but now they are scanning image names and source code in the websites.

So, if your ad shows up under a column that might be titles “sponsored” it could be blocked. If your image contains the word “Advertisement” (and derivatives) in the file name, title, or meta-data, it could be blocked. But wait, it get’s worse. Ad-Blockers are now making assumptions that many images with specific dimensions (go check out AdSense for the sizes) are suspect and can be blocked. Also, if there is a tracking code in the URL, it could be blocked. Talk about making it tough for you.

My typical ad will have a name (using TRO as an example) ArubaAdForTRO300X300.jpg . And now I learn that will not fly…to Aruba or anywhere else.

Granted, some larger websites (read—more expensive) likely have the technology to thwart the thwarters; but many smaller, regional ones do not. Take a look and see how your ads are displaying (if they are) and make the correction and see for yourself.

I have played with it on a test site I have and it is mostly hit and a little miss. It is not universal for ad blockers but becoming more prevalent.

And finally, one last tip. Are you sure your ads are displaying correctly? In fact, are you sure that your own website is displaying correctly? Take a look at your Google Analytics and see the browsers AND VERSIONS your prospects are using. And then look to a browser compatibility tool to make sure it is rendering correctly. One year, I put a pink breast cancer awareness background on my site for October only to discover that on one version of Internet Explorer it obfuscated everything else!

It’s a never-ending battle! Have there been any surprises you have discovered? Leave a comment!

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