Ever notice how online ads occasionally follow you as you move across the internet? That technique (“retargeting” in web terms) is a classic example of real-time marketing — using continuous feedback and data to tailor content and messages.
This isn’t necessarily new. Facebook, Twitter, and the like already use social network behavior to customize ads and offers. (And with good reason: Facebook generated $2.9 billion in ad revenues during the second quarter of 2014 alone.) But it is getting more sophisticated. Case in point: Mobile ad networks such as New York City–based xAd. That company, which recently landed $50 million in venture funding, is one of many new operations that lets advertisers customize messages based on physical location. Stare at a department store’s window or linger over a new espresso maker, and a coupon could well pop up on your smartphone.
In short, it appears target marketing is starting to live up to its name — and its full potential.