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Advertising has come of age and now offers sophisticated ways to target consumers. In the past internet ads, like other mass media, were wasted on non-prospects. Today, we can actually target certain prospects online with the same precision as direct mail.

We’ll discuss the ad basics and then highlight different targeting methods you can use, like re-targeting and SmartAds. We'll even help you nail down your Cost Per Lead. That way, you’ll have a better understanding of how things work and what’s possible in online advertising. Let’s get started...


Every time a person visits a website, uses a search engine, or starts a shopping cart online, that visit is noted and saved in a “cookie” in the visitor’s web browser. The cookie is an anonymous code that uniquely identifies the web browser (not the person).

The cookie does not include the visitor’s name or other Personally Identifiable Information (PII), it is merely a unique code that indicates when a particular browser previously visited a certain website.

Ad Networks (like Google, Microsoft) sell online ad space to companies. To do that, they use cookies to track behavior across the web and create “profiles” of these online presences. Based upon that cookie history and profile, Ad Networks serve up content that seems most likely to get clicks and sales from the web surfer.

It’s all about improving the relevance of ads seen by folks surfing the web.

KEEP IN MIND: The problem with online advertising is that even with online profiles and all that data, it’s STILL a guessing game. The goal in internet marketing is to ONLY show advertising to your ideal customer.


It’s time to talk about online targeting and what it can and can’t do. You have probably seen this little triangular logo that appears in some internet ads. It’s called the “Advertising Options Icon” and it’s a clear sign that companies are trying to make the web ads you see better reflect your online interests.

It appears in the upper right of advertisements that have been selected for you based on your recent online activity. It’s there to keep you informed about how and why ads are being made more relevant for you. (For more info on Advertising Options Icons and consumer choices, see:

Options icon



When a person visits a website, companies also include his browser cookie in an "audience segment" based on those inferred interests. For example, a person visiting the website for the Eiffel Tower may be considered a traveler, Francophile, or wine enthusiast.

The websites will then make those segments available to advertisers who show the person an ad that might be interesting to them. In this case, they may see ads from a Parisian hotelier.

KEEP IN MIND: This type of targeting uses general interests and is how most current targeting works. It narrows the online field, but this advertising is still based upon major assumptions and therefore has a lower conversion rate.


Once someone has visited a site, they can be targeted again (re-targeting) for advertisements by that company. Re-targeting, like segmentation above, is based on browser cookies. It allows the advertiser to precisely control the ads that appear. For example, a consumer may see ads for a specific product or service they showed interest in while on the site.

In simplest terms, it’s a way to remind qualified customers about your site or product and bring them back when they’re ready to buy. You can even specify how often and for how long they are shown an ad.

Whether you use our Re-Targeting service or not, we strongly recommend all our clients integrate Re-Targeting into their ad campaigns.

KEEP IN MIND: Re-Targeting is an extremely effective way to “stay in front of” a consumer who was not quite ready to buy when they originally visited your site. This type of targeting is more specific and has a higher level of conversions.


In addition to cookie-based targeting, browsers can be targeted by the geographic location of their Internet IP address. For example, browsers located in the Denver, Colorado area can be targeted by a Denver based roofing company.

In simplest terms, it’s a way to remind qualified customers about your site or product and bring them back when they’re ready to buy. You can even specify how often and for how long they are shown an ad.

KEEP IN MIND: This works for some types of campaigns but not for others and it is very general in its nature. For a more focused hunt, geographic targeting can be combined with cookie targeting for a more refined campaign.


Today we have an even better way to specifically target homeowners on the move. Instead of relying on cookies and Ad Network profiles, SmartAds matches the physical addresses of qualified leads with cookies or IP web addresses.

In simplest terms, it’s a way to remind qualified customers about your site or product and bring them back when they’re ready to buy. You can even specify how often and for how long they are shown an ad.

KEEP IN MIND: With SmartAds, clients only show their online ads on the devices of homeowners who are ready-to-move. It eliminates the guesswork and gets ads in front of the people you want to reach the most.


A million people clicking your add won’t do you any good if you’re not converting enough of them into leads. Good advertising includes tracking cost and conversion rates. Do this and you’ll know whether a campaign is paying off or not.


To know the value of your campaigns, you need to know the real world cost versus rewards. That means you need to know your Conversion Rate and Cost Per Lead. SmartAds reports will always show you both of these, but here’s how you can do it yourself.


Identify your lead conversion rate (how many people are becoming leads from the total impressions).


Take the cost of your campaign and divide it by the number of leads that were generated.


The result is your Cost Per Lead. Now you know how much your spending on each lead.

Here’s an example of SmartAds Campaign Cost Per Lead:

Assume that you have 100,000 targets and show them 20 ad impressions each. That is 2,000,000 impressions. Users might click your ads 0.3% of the time for 6,000 visits to your website. Then 5% of those people might convert to a lead. You now have 300 leads in your pipeline.

If the total cost for your campaign was $10,650. Simply divide $10,650 by your 300 leads and you’ll see a Cost Per Lead of $35.50.

Want to learn more about SmartAds and how highly targeted ads can boost your business?

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