As we have posted before, behavioural advertising is a hot topic. And showing advertising on websites to many _is_ acceptable as long as it is there to a) bring interesting products/info/brands to your attention and b) if it helps keep much of what makes the Internet the exciting phenemenon that it is, free.

However, with all this “personalisation” news, and watching how FB have added adverts over time, and then dealt with customising them, has made me think.

Is this how we are going to see others deal with the situation? Are we going to see ads served through behavioural processes that are actually as relevant as search engines assuming that I want search results from a foreign country just because I am accessing my Google account whilst I am on holiday? (This is an increasing bugbear for many – search customisation based on mistaken assumptions).

What effect does it have on your customers when you fail to deliver what you have promised, or worse, what they want? Equally, what effect does it have on your paying advertisers if the adverts they pay you to serve do not reach the intended audience?

It seems that: FB can’t do FB.

In non-acronyms, Facebook can’t do feedback. Others may well be in non-listening mode too.

FB has attempted to ensure that the relevant ads are served to site visitors by adding thumbs up, thumbs down, asking opinions, getting reasons why an individual feels that ads are not interesting/relevant/appropriate etc but…..and this is the big BUT…..

Dear Facebook: You must LISTEN. And then act on the information that is being provided to you.

Or there is no point paying developers to come up with processes and applications which gather this feedback. And there is no point attempting to offer targeted advertising to your advertisers if the PVs that you serve up are to a non-interested audience. After all, if the CPA from the CPM is too high, the advertisers will go elsewhere. And meanwhile, your ‘loyal’ site visitors are likely to slowly but surely get fed up with non-personalised ads cluttering up their screen.

This doesn’t just apply to Facebook nor to ads – behavioural or contextual. It also applies to email marketing, to content, to PPC, to surveys, to polls, to any interaction YOU attempt to have with YOUR target audience.

If you are serving ads through your site and the clickthroughs are limited, they must be the wrong ads. You don’t need to run a poll to discover this. You don’t need feedback in a survey or on your forums or blog.

If your content isn’t leading your site visitors to act on calls to action, or to explore further areas of your site, something must be wrong. You don’t need to ask directly what it is to know there is something amiss.

And quite often, the information you require to make that realisation and then act upon it it right in front of you. Increasingly frequently, companies and websites ask for information through surveys, polls, interactive applications etc, and then seem to ignore this precious data given to them by those who ‘pay the piper’.

Is that you? Are you ignoring what your customers or website visitors telling you, directly or indirectly?

If I came into your bricks and mortar shop or restaurant and complained that the food was awful or the stock badly laid out or the signs about the sale misleading, you would react, wouldn’t you? You would apologise, you would deal with the problem, you would make sure I left a happy customer, wouldn’t you?

So, what is different in the 1s and 0s world of websites?

NOTHING!! The fact a visitor has left without exploring the site, making a sale, signing up to the newsletter etc is a clear indication that there is a problem. Or the fact that feedback has been left should give you a very definite steer as to WHAT I WANT, the potential customer, the user, the site visitor. And if you ignore it and keep serving up the same old, same old, irrelevant rubbish to me or any other visitor, then don’t be surprised when I write blog posts moaning about your website, or posting to forums about the failure for xyz company (yours) to treat me as I would expect to be treated in the real world.

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ClickThrough is a digital marketing agency, providing search engine optimisation, pay per click management, conversion optimisation, web development and content marketing services.