William Joseph Communications

Understanding Online Targeted Advertising

Imagine for a moment you are looking for some new shoes. After visiting a few online stores, you find the perfect pair. You decide to sleep on it and jump over to an unrelated site to check the hockey scores from last night. To your surprise, you notice a banner ad for the very pair of shoes you were looking at. “That’s odd,” you say, “I was just looking at those.” You shrug it off and decide to watch a video about cats being cute. “What’s this?” Nestled in with the other ads, it’s the ad for your shoes again! This is not your very own version of “The Truman Show,” this is online targeted advertising. It is also known as interest-based advertising.

While people think this is a new phenomenon, targeted advertising has been with us since the late 90s. Advertisers worked very much like they had with TV. If you wanted to reach women between the ages of 20 – 30 years old, you would place your ad on a website that catered to their interests. It has only been recently that advertising has got a lot more intelligent. By using browsing habits mined from users anonymously to make advertising more personalized, targeted ads began following people across the Web.


Today, this type of marketing is everywhere and people aren’t exactly sure what to think about it. When surveyed, a majority of people didn’t really like the idea that their browsing data can be tracked. In some circles, people believe it is akin to an invasion of privacy. But how do advertisers collect this information and more importantly, what do they actually do with it?

Despite what some movies depict, there is no smoke filled room with people watching you surf. It’s all done with algorithms and you have the option to block if you want to.

How Online Targeted Advertising is Done

The two main ways advertisers track, is by cookies or your IP address. Cookies are small text files that are downloaded by your browser when you visit some websites. Cookies generally collect and store information that is associated with your web browser, including information such as website preferences, login information, or a user ID. They are there for your convenience, by loading your previously entered information. Advertisers also use this feature to track what page you visit on their site as well as how long you spend on it etc. The other way, is using the IP address used by your internet connection. Essentially, it’s like a building address but for your computer. For example, you may find that targeted ads seem to be much different while using the Wi-Fi at work then when you are on Wi-Fi at home. Advertisers using this technique can see where you go but if the connection is shared with people of varying demographics, you might find the ads don’t always line up with your interests.


Consumer Benefits:  This makes the ads you see online actually interesting to you instead of just noise getting in the way of content you are trying to consume.

Advertiser Benefits:  It allows them the opportunity to advertise to a captive audience. This helps “cut the fat” and spend their media purchasing budget more wisely. By only advertising to those who have a leaning to the product or service they are offering, they can be more effective and more profitable.


The Network Advertising Initiative conducted a study in 2009 measuring the pricing and effectiveness of targeted advertising. Here are their findings:

As the advertiser, you get the opportunity to speak to a greater number of people interested in your message. As the consumer, you get the opportunity to see ads you actually want to know more about. All in all, targeted marketing can be a huge benefit to both the advertiser and the consumer when it’s done the right way.

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Friday, February 15th, 2019 at 11:05am
The latest edition to the WJ art collection is very special! Did you know Freddie had a diploma in graphic design and created multiple album covers and the now famous Queen crest? As an agency with a strong design foundation, we're honoured to be in such company. #FreddieMercury https://t.co/tU6sG0Jgrv wj_agency photo
Wednesday, February 13th, 2019 at 9:01am
#GrandePrairie - we have a Valentine's Day surprise for you! Our CEO Ryan is hosting a Ryan's Roundup in your city tonight! Come meet pros from all industries for a night of networking fun! Sign up! https://t.co/OlzaLDQ9TW
Thursday, February 7th, 2019 at 11:16am
Team lunch for our Client Services and Operations teams yesterday was long overdue! #wjculture https://t.co/tWBjaN3ZzT wj_agency photo
Wednesday, February 6th, 2019 at 2:57pm
Who watched the big game on Sunday?! One thing that got us thinking - is the $5 mill price tag for a 30-second ad spot worth it? Check out our blog to find out: https://t.co/pBp4skLPKn #SuperBowl2019
Tuesday, February 5th, 2019 at 2:51pm
It's the first Thursday of the month, you know what time it is: Join us for a night of fun and meet some of #YYC's biggest movers and shakers at Ryan's Roundup! 4:30-7PM at #Ranchmans, sign up! https://t.co/oWXmD1nxsN https://t.co/ohxRKdj2Fn wj_agency photo


William Joseph Communications

We are the difference between momentary achievement and enduring success.Your success requires an agency that offers a fully integrated solution. One that has the vision to see beyond your current borders and the troops to guide you there. With us as your allies, be confident that you can achieve your boldest ambitions. At William Joseph we offer complete marketing solutions composed of strategies, tactics, and designs that effectively tell your story and address your unique marketing goals. Everything from advertising campaigns to experiential design, our team takes your corporate identity and translates it through a wide array of mediums to successfully champion your company.
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William Joseph CommunicationsFriday, February 15th, 2019 at 4:23pm
We love TWT Group Inc. and wanted to show them just how much on Valentine's Day yesterday! These will come in handy for the long weekend!
William Joseph Communications
William Joseph CommunicationsFriday, February 15th, 2019 at 1:46pm
The latest edition to the William Joseph art collection is a special one!

A talented showman (to say the least), Freddie Mercury had a keen sense for both theatrics and design. The Queen front man had a diploma in graphic design from Ealing College of Art and applied his visual talents to various Queen projects, including multiple album covers and the now famous Queen crest. Did you know that the creatures included in the logo (two lions, two fairies and a crab) represent the zodiac signs of each band member?

Coincidentally, many pop culture legends have or had a background in graphic design, including Pete Townshend, David Bowie and Alan Rickman.

As an agency rooted in creativity and built up of many talented artists ourselves, it's safe to say we're pretty fortunate to be in such company.
William Joseph Communications
William Joseph Communications added 3 new photos.Thursday, February 14th, 2019 at 10:25am
Happy Valentine's Day from ours to yours - we love you SEO much!
William Joseph Communications
William Joseph CommunicationsWednesday, February 13th, 2019 at 4:57pm
The website for our client Hillcrest Financial is live! We've had a blast working with their team on this project and are proud to share it with you all.

Take a look at our work and the amazing services Hillcrest offers!
William Joseph Communications
William Joseph CommunicationsMonday, February 11th, 2019 at 11:52pm
Grande Prairie - A Valentine’s Day surprise. A Ryan’s Roundup in Feb 13 at the Skylark Lounge at the Pomeroy Hotel after work. Who’s in?



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