Hyper-targeting isn’t the solution. The holy grail is placing ads at the point of intent.
The success of Google in the search advertising realm is of course facilitated by their contextual engine; however, the reason why their pay per click model works is that they control the moment of intent. When people are searching they are actively seeking out information. In the same vein Amazon recommends books that are similar to the one I chose right before checkout. They get me every time, I never leave the Amazon site without purchasing 2 or 3 more books than I originally intended.
Targeted ads are a step forward, but over hyped.
Facebook just announced its new advertising platform that can target anyone on the network by political affiliation, gender, location, or anyone of the keywords on one’s profile. Your experience might be different, but I’ve never paid attention to a single ad on the network EVER. Not because it wasn’t relevant, but because I wasn’t in a receptive state. I am on Facebook to communicate with friends or catch up on the new feed. I simply disregard all the ads displayed on the site. For me this is consistent with most display ads online. The fact that I’m reading an article on trucks doesn’t mean I’m looking to buy a Dodge. Granted it increases the likely-hood of clicking on the ad, but the key to place display ads in places where the customer already has intent. For example place the Dodge ads on a car review site.
Feel free to disagree with me, but I’m not one to preach a 100% transition away from mass media. I still believe that for increasing overall awareness of a brand or product, mass blasts can be effective. I also absolutely believe that marketers need to reach out to influencers and communities; however, general awareness helps grease the wheels. For example when an influencer recommends a brand and their audience has already heard of the brand it just makes the sell that much easier. An added benefit of a national spot is a level of security it provides customers. Launching a product by spamming banners across the range of sites might be be cheaper for the same amount of eyeballs, but is drastically less effective.