Case Study Questions

1. Pay a visit to your favorite portal and count the total ads on the opening page. Count how many of these ads are (a) immediately of interest and relevant to you, (b) sort of interesting or relevant but not now, and (c) not interesting or relevant. Do this 10 times and calculate the percentage of the three kinds of situations. Describe what you find and explain the results using this case.


After undertaking this project, if have found that less than 10% of the ads were immediately of interest and relevant to me. About 20% were of some sort of interest or relevant but not now. This left over 70% of the ads being not of interest or relevant at this time. These results present me with a situation of the computer I completed this project on is not one I generally surf the web on. Additionally, most of the time there was three of the same ad in different forms on display at the same time. Over 90% of the ads were related to the same thing, automobiles or auto insurance. This left only about 10% that were something other than automobile related adds. For me, this was not a very good indication of what I am into or what I would be in the market for. I would not click on any of these ads anytime now or in the near future. It is a failure for the marketers this time.


2. Advertisers use different kinds of “profiles” in the decision to display ads to customers. Identify the different kinds of profiles described in this case, and explain why they are relevant to online display advertising.


Some of the different “profiles” used in the decision to display ads to a customer come by way of tracking that person’s interested, recent search history, purchase history, groups affiliations, and other personally identifiable information from online sources. These profiles are relevant to online display advertising for a few reasons. To begin with, by utilizing personal interests, an online ad can match its products or services with customers that have shown an interest or may have an interest in what they offer. The search history helps marketers detect a potential customer’s future demand for their products. A view into their purchase history may help advertisers identify compatible or support equipment for a recent purchase. These are all valuable methods to help narrow down the online display advertising targets to the highest probable customers. By targeting the high potential customers, costs are reduced and thereby create a more successful display ad campaign.


3. How can display ads achieve search-engine–like results?

Display ads achieve search-engine-like results by using cookies to store personal data from online activities that can be matched up with offline information to build more detailed profile of a customer. The data collected from the cookies files are used to cross reference with other databases. As more information is collected on an individual, a better inference can be made as to the variety of products and services they may be interested in. Therefore, the more data collected and correlated with other databases, the more accurate and effective display ads can become.

4. Do you think instant display ads based on your immediately prior clickstream will be as effective as search engine marketing techniques? Why or why not?

I think that display ads based on your immediately prior clickstream are more effective than search engine marketing techniques are for a couple reasons. First, your immediate click stream is an indicator of your particular interests in products or services. These are the types of things you are currently interested in or have caught your immediate attention. The search engine by comparison may result in some erroneous ads. Many people will search off-the-wall type things for fun or for education, but not necessarily because they are in the market for that particular item. Secondly, the immediate click stream is something that the individual is already interacting with, so by utilizing that information in selecting targets, the ads should generate better results.



5. Do a search for a product of your choice on two search engines. Examine the results page carefully. Can you discern which results, if any, are a result of a paid placement? If so, how did you determine this? What other marketing communications related to your search appear on the page?

I searched for a Lego Technic Crane. The results from both search engines came back similar. I would have to say the majority of the results were paid. I feel this way because most of the results on both search engines were from store that sell Lego products. The top results for both engines were,,, and It took a bit of scrolling to get to some YouTube videos on the builds and reviews before I think I go into unpaid ads.

7. Visit Facebook and examine the ads shown in the right margin and in your News Feed. What is being adver-tised and how do you believe it is relevant to your interests or online behavior? You could also search on a retail product on Google several times, and related products, then visit Yahoo or another popular site to see if your past behavior is helping advertisers track you.

Ironically, after completing the previous Project question, I ended up with Lego Technic Cranes being advertised in various parts of my Facebook page. It was surprising because I used a work computer to do the previous question and my cell phone to complete this question. I am not able to use my work computer for Facebook and yet my search results were linked from my work computer to my Facebook account on my phone. Clearly this is fairly accurate to my online behavior as it shows a direct relationship across devices despite one being on a personal account and the other being on a work account.