Content & Advertising Sending Mixed Signals

I love that the Internet gets me. Privacy issues aside, I like knowing that when I’m on a favorite website the banner ads are directed at me and my interests.

It used to be that advertisers went where the content was but now with the help of technology, no matter where I am, the advertising content can be relevant. But if it is relevant to me, should it also still be relevant to the page content? Take for instance this article on being happy with living with less from NewYorkTimes.com today.

As I scrolled down however, I was struck by a real estate ad, not for a broker or agent, but for the New York Times Real Estate section. It was showcasing none other than a vacation estate in Paris.  While this did catch my attention, I wondered, was this poor placement on New York Times’ part, or was my online search behavior causing this ad to appear?  (Perhaps this placement says more about how my own interests can be at odds with one another – “How to live with less in a mansion in Europe”.)

As technology gets more sophisticated and websites continue to jockey for ad dollars, it is important to find a good balance between personalized advertising and ads that are also relevant to the content. Otherwise, one could ask, “are you really talking to me?”

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